Showalter on Dickey: “It doesn’t surprise me at all.”
In his autobiography “Wherever I Wind Up,” R.A. Dickey credits then-Rangers manager Buck Showalter with persuading him to convert to a full-time knuckleball pitcher in 2005. When the Rangers sent Dickey back down to the Minors for the umpteenth time that year, Showalter and pitching coach Orel Hershiser sat Dickey down and told him the knuckleball might be his only chance to make it back to the big leagues.
On the heels of arguably the best game of Dickey’s life, Showalter — now the Orioles manager — revisited that conversation with Baltimore reporters Thursday:
“That’s kind,” Showalter said of Dickey crediting him. “If R.A. [actually] said that, I wouldn’t doubt it. But he’s special people. You don’t even deny those guys accomplishing the kinds of things he does. There’s not better heart and makeup then him. You are just trying to figure out a way for what approach for him would allow that to play. You are always watching guys mess around with pitches and stuff. R.A. was going to figure it out.
“Ninety-nine percent of it had to do with R.A. Dickey. I can envision [this kind of success]. It doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s a guy who you like looking at every day. It’s real. It’s quality stuff. He’s not your prototypical knuckleballer, it’s not fun to catch. The biggest challenge we had with him is making sure you could catch it, throwing two knuckleballs.
“R.A. has that hard [knuckleball] you don’t want to get to. We are going to look at some tape and stuff when we get there — I haven’t really beared down with that. I know he’s having a real good year. Athletic. Tough. Good father, good husband, good man. I’d love to see good things happen to him. I was hoping he wouldn’t face us, but they’ve got a lot of good pitchers there.”
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