Book Review: Wherever I Wind Up
- Updated: April 13, 2012
R.A. Dickey is not a name that shoots to the front of most baseball fans minds when they think of players whose story they may want to hear. While he may not be the most well-known of players, Dickey, a starting pitcher for the New York Mets, has put together a very interesting story of his life in a new book written with Wayne Coffey titled Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.
Just simply by reading the title of the book, fans can see that he isn’t your normal starting pitcher. Anyone knows that there has to be something different in the mind of a pitcher to get them to even try throwing a knuckleball. Perhaps that’s what makes Dickey special. Throughout the book, one of the main themes is that he always does what he thinks is right, regardless of what others may say about him.
Dickey is far from someone who could be considered a dumb jock. In fact, he may just be the most cultured Major Leaguer. From trips to Mount Kilimanjaro in the off season to raise awareness about human trafficking in Mumbai, to the fact that he names his bats after literary characters, Dickey certainly does it his way.
Life wasn’t always easy for this hurler, although a bird’s eye view of his early life might suggest otherwise. When Dickey was in high school, he was immediately seen as someone who was going to be great and make it to the Big Leagues one day. Scouts watched him very closely during high school and he had offers from many colleges and the possibility existed of going pro right out of high school. Dickey decided to take a full scholarship from the University of Tennessee, where he excelled on the field. He also was a starting pitcher for team USA during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA.
He won various awards during college and was drafted in the first round by the Texas Rangers. Everything was going smoothly and according to plan, until Dickey’s mind took over and started making decisions that may not have been the best for his career. Dickey goes into depth on the decisions that he made during his early career in professional baseball that almost led to not only the end of his playing days, but the end of his life all together.
Just one unusual incident that Dickey chronicles is his attempt to swim across the Missouri River wearing flip-flops. Without giving too much away, let’s just say this isn’t the best decision Dickey or anyone else could ever make.
Dickey also shares his incredibly honest thoughts on a number of things including performance enhancing drugs, and their effect on the game. While Dickey’s story is certainly his own, in many ways his thoughts and feelings are probably not much different than many other players, the difference is that he is willing to share them.
While there are certainly some off of the field topics discussed in the book, there are many on field experiences that Dickey lets the reader in on as well. A few of the highlights related to baseball that Dickey touches on are how he overcame one of the worst performances of any starting pitcher in the last 100 years when he gave up six home runs to the Detroit Tigers in just 3 1/3 innings, and his description of a meeting with Orel Hershiser and Buck Showalter that changed his life forever.
Dickey’s work is not unlike memoirs that other players have published in the past to illustrate their life story. However, it is clearly unique to his own life and journey and, while his story of becoming an athlete isn’t a rare one on bookshelves these days, the specifics of his journey and the story of how he became the player he is today certainly is.
The 328 page work was published on March 29, 2012 in hardback from Blue Rider Press and retails for $26.95.
Overall Rating: 3.25/5