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R.A. Dickey was a victim of sexual abuse, contemplated suicide

Mar 27, 2012, 9:24 AM EDT

R.A. Dickey AP

R.A. Dickey has a memoir coming out. Given his depths, it’s not surprising that it’s not your typical jock-talk. But as revealed in Andy Martino’s story about it in the Daily News, it’s a lot heavier than that:

In a raw new memoir, Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey reveals that he was sexually abused as an eight-year-old, and later lived with so much anger and shame that he contemplated suicide just a few years before signing with the Mets … Dickey writes about closing down Nashville barrooms with his mother at age five, sleeping in abandoned houses as a teenager, swimming with alligators and turning to sports in an effort to mitigate the pain brought on by the sexual abuse.

There are excerpts of it available over at Sports Illustrated.

The book talks about the abuse and messed up childhood leading to fears of intimacy, and that in turn leading him to have an affair after he was married, which in turn made him contemplate suicide.  He bounced back via therapy, extreme remorse, the support of his wife and the strength of his religious beliefs Which … whoa to all of it.

Knuckleballers, man. There’s a hell of a lot more going on with them than there is with most folks.

  1. lostsok - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    I understand Will Farrell’s movie adaption will be much lighter in tone.

    • dirtyalaskan - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      Hooray for stupid comments!

      • vivabear - Mar 27, 2012 at 4:09 PM

        Also talks about his distaste for PED users. He saw a syringe on Texas’ clubhouse floor in 2001. He has no way to know if it was used to inject a PED, or who would have used the syringe though.

  2. El Bravo - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    This guy has had some rough times. I’m glad things are seemingly working out pretty nicely for him in the last two seasons. Athletes don’t have to be role models, but there’s a lot of admirable qualites in this man. It is not often that an athlete’s personality gains as much or more fans than their actual play on the field, but he’s one of them. I am indifferent about the Mets, but I love me some Dickey.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Mar 27, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      THis guy is the realest guy in MLB; he could be a Hockey player he’s so down to earth. Gotta love him.

  3. drunkenhooliganism - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Today I’m not gonna envy the money and lifestyle of professional athletes.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      I’ll envy the money, but we’re all human. The living in the fishbowl lifestyle they have to endure, no thanks!

      • cur68 - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:54 AM

        Yeah, you said it, church. I value my privacy and living like these guys do would drive me nuts in no time. More to the point about sexual abuse, RA’s story goes to show that you don’t have to end up a destroyed person, as so many do, after stuff like that happens. I really liked the guy before this: he always struck me as someone who had real depth to him. Finding out this stuff, while horrifying, actually makes me admire him more. I don’t know as I’d have the fortitude to have come out of it as well as he has. As ever, a Tip O’ The Blue Jay’s Cap to Mr. Dickey.

  4. steveonsportsok - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    From suicidal to 22 Quality Starts last year… Glad he’s still around.

  5. illegalblues - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    glad to see R.A. get through all of this horribleness. i’m sure there are plenty of people out there that can find inspiration in his story.

  6. paperlions - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    To me, it is a particularly courageous thing to announce to the world. Re-living such episodes must be painful. Given his apparent desire to help others (climbing Mt. K. to raise money/awareness about human trafficking), I would guess his reason for making this public is to serve as an example for those that have lived through similar experiences and that are considering suicide.

  7. cup0pizza - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    cur68 & old gator may have words of advice for R.A. on this.

    • drunkenhooliganism - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      Something was certainly fucked up in your upbringing. Douche like this doesn’t just occur naturally.

      • cup0pizza - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        For noting that the two gentlemen I named are obviously the smartest & most worldly ones here that comment non-stop? Their opinions are the most supreme-you haven’t noticed? They beat their chests proclaiming their superiority constantly. It was a complement, if anything. You must think I was intimating that they were touched by their dirty uncle or something based in your profanity-driven outburst?

      • drunkenhooliganism - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        That’s exactly what you were intimating. And your use of that as an insult is why there’s a stigma attached to helpless children being abused.

      • cup0pizza - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        The only thing that concerns me is R.A. Dickey has a memoir. That seems from out of left field. As for you, I can tell by the language that you post here that you’re incredibly compassionate.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      What sucks is that Cup0Pizza is such a great moniker.

      Bro, the Jerk wasn’t an asshole. Big difference.

      • pinkslime - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        Cool we can swear here??!? I do’nt use really bad words like those too much but thats nice to remember if I do that its OK

    • cur68 - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      Well dude, you continue to suck like few have sucked before. That’s as worldly as I care to get about you. How you can take this story and drag that kind of low rent thing into it is beyond me. Everyone who reads this blog regularly knows I have my faults (and if wouldn’t take all day, I’d list them) but being a well rounded jackass isn’t one of them.

    • winstonnilesrumfoord - Mar 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Cur68 and Old Gator are two highly respected posters on this site who offer insight, wit and wisdom on most any topic, baseball related and otherwise, and are part of the reason I visit here daily. You, on the other hand, are a witless wastoid fuck, who seeks only to demean and debase others in what I can only assume is some misguided social experiment gone awry. Are you this awful in your life away from Hardball talk?

      • cup0pizza - Mar 27, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        ha you should see what you just posted, if your heart doesn’t explode first, dude. Hypocrite much?

      • cur68 - Mar 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Well, ‘0pizza, having had the misfortune of seeing your never ending river of crap and, since nothing seems to happen to you, I fail to see what’ll happen to my friend Winston there. On the douche0meter, you’re an extinction level event, whereas Winston doesn’t even register.

      • Old Gator - Mar 27, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        Cup0feces is having lots of fun today playing thumbs down with his multiple accounts, isn’t he? But you know what? Though I admit that being able to point out the incipient idiocies in his comments – stuff he’s to void-pated to notice himself most of the time (his witless confusion of Chinese and Japanese names to construct a gutter-level cliche on the Ichiro-at-bat thread being a case in point) – he really has gotten b-o-r-r-r-i-n-g. I mean, there’s no frisson in shooting a sitting duck – especially if you know it’s going to be full of worms.

      • vivabear - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM


        Gator – please refrain. This is no where close to being clever.

      • vivabear - Mar 27, 2012 at 6:26 PM

        ‘Old Gator are two highly respected posters on this site who offer insight, wit and wisdom’

        Winston – I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here. But I think if you look up the definitions of the words respected, wit and wisdom, you would have definitely not used them in this sentence.

      • Old Gator - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:09 PM

        Cup0feces light!

      • Old Gator - Mar 27, 2012 at 7:16 PM

        Actually, “cup0feces” wasn’t meant to be clever, just accurate.

      • vivabear - Mar 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        I guess that’s good…at least you know, like the rest of us, you are not clever. I was mistaken on that assumption.

    • El Bravo - Mar 27, 2012 at 1:34 PM

      Mr. Pizza, you are not eligible for the douchenozzle list so stop trying to nominate yourself.

  8. rooney24 - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Nice to see Dickey get a chance and pitch well. I liked him with the Twins, but he was never given a true chance, as Mauer didn’t want to have to try to catch a knuckleball. There was at least one game where they sent him in to pitch out of the bullpen and told him he could not throw the knuckleball. Dude doesn’t have good enough stuff without the knuckleball to be on a major league mound. But, glad some team was willing to let him pitch to his strengths.

  9. shawnuel - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Couldn’t agree more El Bravo. It seems that the more Dickey reveals of himself in public, the greater my admiration for him becomes.

    • El Bravo - Mar 27, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      Watch yourself. So far seven folks have disagreed with you for agreeing with me…I’m incendiary.

  10. andyreidisfat - Mar 27, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Oh here we go, another guy who was “saved” by the “lord”, seriously can you folks just keep that crap inside your church…

    I am sooooooooooooo sick of filthy rich guys talking about how pious they are. Your nothing more than a hypocrite if you are rich and telling everyone about your Jesus. Damn, I know those books better than 95% of Christians.

    • cur68 - Mar 27, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      On the whole, I tend to agree: religion isn’t really for me, and I wish the religious would keep it to themselves. However, given the circumstances of R.A. Dickey’s life, where he is now, and the fact that he’s trying to help others in the same predicament, I’m cutting him some slack on that angle and I’d think, on reflection, you might do the same, but that is, of course, up to you. I stopped getting all bent about the religious and their faith a while back, when I had to participate in the therapy for the differently sane. Often faith in a better life after this one is all that keeps some people going. Its probably a mark of how awful it was for him, given his obvious intelligence & determination, that he does have some sort of religious leanings. So, yeah, whatever get ya through the night, bro.

    • ltzep75 - Mar 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      I have to agree with the sentiments of cur. Whatever it is that you need to do (within the limits of the law) to get over just sexual abuse alone (and I’d argue the other aspects of his childhood are merely a different form of extreme abuse), then so be it.

      Fact is, when you make comments like you did above, it renders you a sanctimonious asshole. I don’t wish to be rude, but dude, really, the guy was baptised in a river of shit. Give him a break. Who knows, maybe his religious beliefs include those picked up by a chance enounder with a masai tribesman (wanderobo? wanderobo-masai? whatever) upon climbing Kilimanjaro last offseason.

    • Old Gator - Mar 27, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      I don’t take a backseat to anyone here in my contempt for down-your-throat evangelicals, but I don’t begrudge Dickey one iota for using whatever spiritual resources were available to him to hoist himself back to the land of the living. Nor do I begrudge any religious person who conducts their spiritual life according to Isaiah 30:15 – “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” – with respect for the intimacy their spiritualism entails instead of displaying it in everyone’s view like a wagging weenie. Dickey has always been pretty vocal and demonstrative but I can’t recall, prior to this memoir – which sounds like something much more in the way of a disclosure than a broadcast – that he’s ever made an issue of his faith as something anyone else ought to emulate. Tim Tebow he definitely is not. Most of the sanctimonious people I’ve ever met were petty, hollow, spiritually puckered types using their so-called religiosity to inflate those empty spaces like a leaky beachball. Clearly, that’s not Dickey – he’s a man of substantial intelligence, literacy, culture, wit and conscience – becoming all of which must have entailed some hard, hard work on his part – antecedent to whatever religious system he has adopted to flesh out and bind his disparate intellectual and spiritual assets. I’ll be looking forward to buying and reading his book.

      • zachcomtois - Mar 27, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        If I had millions of dollars for playing a game, I’d believe in god too.

  11. drewsylvania - Mar 27, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Thanks for derailing the thread with a flamewar.

  12. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Mar 27, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Contemplating suicide as an adult, with full mental faculties and reason, is an experience that is difficult to put into words and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. R.A. Dickey is one of my favorite pitchers, and Mets, of all time and I’m happy he was able to make the difficult choice to choose to live and fight when it can be so easy to kick the stool and end the pain.

    • drewsylvania - Mar 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      What I find interesting is that we are so convinced that pain (physical and spiritual) ends after death.

      • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Mar 27, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        I see your point, but I doubt he thought of it as an endgame situation. It has less to do with the certainty that pain is over than the need to eject oneself from the cycle of chronic depression. The worst thing about severe depression is not the trigger events or the symptoms, it’s the feeling that you’re trapped in a pattern that will never change. It cheapens success and makes failure seem like an inevitability.

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