R.A. Dickey: The Pitcher Without an Arm

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IFebruary 27, 2008

At 33 years old, R.A Dickey has had a mediocre career in Major League Baseball at best. With a career ERA of 5.72, many baseball fans would have little reason to know or care about him.

At least until now.

Dickey has not had an easy path to the majors. Born without major ligaments in his pitching elbow, doctors told him he would never be able to open a doorknob without feeling pain, let alone become a Major League Baseball pitcher...

But he has managed to do just that.

With a lackluster velocity, due in large part to his missing elbow ligaments, it appeared Dickey’s career might be over. It was the dawning of this very conception that led Dickey to reinvent his career as a knuckle-baller. Going down the path that few have taken, Dickey will attempt to continue his career with the knuckler, an experiment that has proven to be a success thus far in minor league trials.

After being selected as a rule five pick by the Seattle Mariners, the team believes that Dickey will contribute in ways that few others can. This is because, due to the lack of the very ligaments in his elbow that lead most pitchers to injury, Dickey can essentially never be injured—at least in his elbow. In addition, due to the lack of “wear and tear” that the knuckleball places on the arm, Dickey will be essentially invincible.

It’s almost ironic: A tragic birth defect may turn Dickey into one of the most original baseball players in the league’s history.