Before he found his place on the New York Mets roster, pitcher R.A. Dickey had a tumultuous childhood, which ignited his adventurous and unyielding spirit to achieve his goals. From the physical and mental abuse he suffered as a child to his eventual climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Dickey found the courage not only to realize his dreams but to become a better person.
It would appear Dickey was destined to become an MLB pitcher despite complex hardships, including missing his ulnar collateral ligament—the one responsible for holding his pitching elbow together. Without this ligament, Dickey is lucky he can turn a door handle without pain, let alone pitch in the majors!
After a brief collegiate hiatus, Dickey journeyed from Triple A to the Show, where he spent two seasons with the Minnesota Twins and the Seattle Mariners. In 2012, he received a call from the Mets. Dickey and his knuckleball were ready. His 2.84 ERA was seventh among National League pitchers.
A tough decision followed Dickey to the Mets. He was forced to choose between his career as a major league pitcher and his desire to support the Bombay Teen Challenge charity, whose mission is to liberate women in Mumbai from a life of prostitution, through a highly publicized summit of Mountain Kilimanjaro. With Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello and former teammate Kevin Slowey, Dickey risked his baseball contract and headed to Africa to summit the peak.
Plagued by the fear of falling short of the summit, Dickey traveled upward, step-by-step, until he eventually stood on Africa’s tallest point. His primary goal was to help the charity; however, his journey to greatness was also self-serving, as he reveled in the opportunity to take serious risks in pursuit of lofty goals.
Having experienced such intense highs and lows, Dickey can finally say his life is good, with a successful baseball career and happy family life in front of him.