R.A. Dickey became the first knuckleball pitcher to win the NL Cy Young award, beating out standouts Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals.
The 38-year-old New York Mets starter won the praise of other famous knuckleballers, including Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, The Associated Press reported.
“I am not a self-made man by any stretch of the imagination,” R.A. Dickey said on MLB Network. “This is a victory for all of us.”
R.A. Dickey won they Cy Young by taking 27 of 32 first-place votes, far outpacing Kershaw, the 2011 winner. He is now the third member of the Mets to win the award, following Dwight Gooden and three-time winner Tom Seaver. Dickey also became the first met since Frank Viola in 1990 to win 20 games, doing it in a season in which the team finished 74-88.
“It just feels good all over,” he said.
R.A. Dickey was actually the bright point on an otherwise forgettable season for the Mets. Fellow starter Johan Santana pitched a no-hitter in June, but in doing so far exceeded the pitch count he was kept on and struggled the rest of the season before finally being put on IR.
Through the first half of the season, R.A. Dickey had the Mets in the thick of the NL East race with his nearly untouchable knuckleball. He threw with a velocity and control rare among knuckleballers. As the New York Times notes, Dickey was able to top out at 77 mph on his knuckleball, about 10 mph faster than the league’s last knuckleball pitcher, Time Wakefield. Dickey racked up strikeouts and innings pitched, finishing first in both categories. At one point he had consecutive one-hitters.