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Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball

Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball

4.4 47
by R. A. Dickey

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The Glass Castle meets Ball Four as Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey weaves searing honesty and baseball insight in this memoir about his unlikely journey to the big leagues.

An English Lit major at the University of Tennessee, Dickey is as articulate and thoughtful as any professional athlete in any sport-and proves it page after page, as he provides fresh and


The Glass Castle meets Ball Four as Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey weaves searing honesty and baseball insight in this memoir about his unlikely journey to the big leagues.

An English Lit major at the University of Tennessee, Dickey is as articulate and thoughtful as any professional athlete in any sport-and proves it page after page, as he provides fresh and honest insight into baseball and a career unlike any other. Fourteen years ago, Dickey was a heralded No. 1 draft choice of the Texas Rangers, only to have an $810,000 signing bonus, and his lifelong dream, ripped away by an X- ray-and the discovery that he did not have an ulna collateral ligament in his right elbow. Five years ago, he gave up a record six home runs in three innings to the Detroit Tigers-and was effectively consigned to the baseball scrap heap.

Sustained by his profound Christian faith, the love of his wife and children, and a relentless quest for self-awareness and authenticity, the immensely likable Dickey details his transformation from a reckless, risk-taking loner to a grounded, life-affirming big leaguer. He emerged as one of the premier pitchers in the National League in 2010-and the knuckleballing embodiment of the wonders that perseverance and human wisdom can produce. Dickey views his story as one of redemption. Readers will come to see it as something more-a uniquely American story of beating back demons, listening to your heart, and overcoming extraordinary odds.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
Major League All-Star and New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey has led a remarkable life—and he’s only 38. While that’s considered elderly for a professional athlete, Dickey remains one of the top pitchers in baseball and indeed the only active pitcher capable of throwing the perfect knuckleball. Narrator Ben Hunter delivers a subdued but pitch-perfect (excuse the pun) performance in the audio edition of this memoir in which Dickey charts the course of his life, covering everything from the ups and downs of his career to the importance of his faith. Throughout, Hunter’s tone is sincere and engaging, his delivery exquisitely paced, and his timing spot-on. Listeners will be transfixed by this compelling and earnest audiobook. A Penguin/Blue Rider hardcover. (Aug.)
Library Journal - Audio
Former New York Mets star Dickey's heartfelt, moving memoir capably chronicles his journey as a pro-baseball pitcher. After years of bouncing between the minor and major leagues—with lousy results—Dickey switched to the knuckleball with gradual improvement. At the same time, he sought help for the abuse he experienced as a child. His faith (Christian) and Zen-like concentration on the pitch helped him fight his way back to psychological health and the majors. "I am focusing not on the next month, or year, or uniform, but on the next pitch," he writes. There are glimpses of pro-life views and some name-dropping, but the emphasis rests squarely on the titular quest. Ben Hunter's crisp, sympathetic reading highlights the thoughtful text. VERDICT This title will find a welcome audience in larger public libraries, and sports and Christian collections. In 2012, Dickey became the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young Award, which will spike demand.—Douglas C. Lord, Connecticut State Lib., Middletown
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Most professional baseball players pen a memoir after they retire. But pitcher R.A. Dickey-who spent four seasons with four different Major League Baseball teams and is MLB's only active knuckleballer-boasts a story compelling enough to be told forthwith. A heralded 1996 first-round draft choice, Dickey's $810,000 signing bonus with the Texas Rangers was yanked after doctors discovered the right-handed pitcher was missing an ligament in his right elbow. Thus began a dramatic up-and-down journey through the professional ranks, sustained by Dickey's determination, as evidenced by the book's proverbial Latin epigraph, "Dum spiro, spero"-"While I breath, I hope." He and co-author Coffey (The Boys of Winter) write with startling candor not only about the game-Dickey's fellow players, steroids in baseball, his disdain for rookie hazing-, but also about his tumultuous upbringing-being a victim of sexual abuse as an 8-year-old at the hands of his babysitter, growing up in Nashville with an alcoholic mother, sleeping in vacant houses as a teenager, and becoming a Christian. Dickey credits his faith with overcoming myriad trials both personal and professional, but it never feels as if he's preaching. Once an English-lit major and now a starting pitcher for the New York Mets, the author emerges as one of baseball's good guys, and someone who can write as well as he pitches. Dickey has set a new standard for athlete autobiographies. Color photos.
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Product Details

Mission Audio
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"R.A. Dickey's book is unlike any other professional athlete's autobiography you have ever read. And that is a very good thing."
- Mike Bauman, MLB.com

Meet the Author

R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets is one of the premier pitchers in baseball.  In 2012 he became the first knuckleballer to win the National League Cy Young Award, major league baseball’s highest honor for a pitcher.  Immensely popular with fans and deeply respected by his teammates, Dickey lives in Tennessee with his wife and four children.

Wayne Coffey is an award-winning journalist for the New York Daily News and the author of more than thirty books, including The Boys of Winter, a New York Times bestselling chronicle of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. A three-time Pulitzer nominee, he has long been regarded as one of best sports feature writers in the nation. 

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Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
sweaverWV More than 1 year ago
Today's entry is a review of the new book by Mets pitcher R.A Dickey, titled "Wherever I Wind Up." It is Dickey's autobiography, written with Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News. I was sent a copy of this book for review, and so I shall. This is one of the best baseball books I have read, and I've read a lot. It has a lot to do with Dickey's honesty, and his background as an English lit major at the University of Tennessee. As he says himself, he has a feel for a story, though not so much for grammar: fortunately here he has a co-writer and an editor. The honesty and storytelling make for a compelling read. The most compelling part is the contrast. If I told you Dickey was a successful pitcher on a multi-year contract, you might not realize how long he has pitched in the minors and what it has taken to finally become a success at age 37. If I told you he was a knuckleball pitcher, you might not realize he was a hard thrower in college and early in his pro career, and a member of the 1996 Olympic team. If I told you he was a graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy, a prestigious private school in Nashville, you might not realize he was a scholarship student from the wrong side of the tracks, who overcame poverty and abuse in his childhood. If I told you he was a committed Christian, you might expect a book full of platitudes instead of a story of a man with faults and failings who had to be honest with himself after an affair nearly ended his marriage. Dickey is honest here, often brutally so, and it becomes clear that he is not some mild-mannered guy, but a risk-taker, with something of a disregard for his own safety: like the time in Council Bluffs, Iowa, when he decides to swim the Missouri River. He doesn't make it across, and might not have made it out of the river if not for teammate and Australian Grant Balfour. Or when, as a teenager, he took to sleeping in empty houses at night. Or a story not fully told in this book, a trip taken while it was going to press: the climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. He's a married man with four kids living a young man's dream. Dickey is a fascinating individual, and this is a captivating book. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, brutally honest and emotionally riveting. The only people who may find this book "laaaaaammmmeeee" are A-rod fans...if there are any left. I often wondered why this guy never looked satisfied after a great game but after reading his story I get that this is one athlete who feels that he has as much to prove to himself as he does to all those who never believed he was worth giving a chance. In a time where greed and a distorted sense of self-importance rules the sports world, it's refreshing to read about an athlete who is not ashamed to admit he's human. Gotta root for this guy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A brutally honest page-turner. This autobiography made me respect Dickey as one of the few knuckleball pitchers in the Major Leagues, but more importantly, as a man. I look foward to seeing him pitch a ton of strikeouts this baseball season. LGM!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anahid More than 1 year ago
This is an exceptional book by an exceptional man. I remember reading about him pitching in Mets triple A, the first batter got a hit, then it was 27 up, 27 down. I started following him then. Unlike most sports books which sugarcoat the sport or denigrate other players, Dickey is brutally honest about himself, while providing insights to the business of baseball and other players. I enjoyed his journal entries as well. I think the book was a type of catharsis for him, as he has worked through his demons the past few years. I respect him so much as a man, as well as a ball player. Very impressive!
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating tale, about a fascinating man. R.A. Dickey is much more than a talented pitcher: He is a former English lit college student; he once [attempted to] swim the Missouri [and was partially successful]; and most recently climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, a height of over 19,000 feet, for charity, in an effort to raise awareness and funds to stop human trafficking and prostitution in Mumbai. He is a devout Christian, and though at times less than perfect as a Christian, husband and father, that is no longer the case, and there can be no doubt as to his love for and devotion to his wife [his childhood sweetheart], his children and his God. Nominally, and obviously, a sports book, this novel is much more than that. To the author’s credit, he names names, and is generous in his praise while being candid in his assessments when circumstances warrant it. In addition to an insider’s view of the game of baseball, there is the occasional quote from ancient Greek or Chinese philosophers. In 2011 he completed his 15th season of professional baseball, in a remarkable story. Despite some horrific abuse suffered when he was eight years old, detailed in the book, he overcame great odds to be where he is today, also detailed in the book. Full disclosure: This reviewer is a passionate fan of the New York Mets, the team where Mr. Dickey is now a trusted part of the five-man pitching rotation, and I have been a Mets full-season ticket holder for 25 years, attending at least 70 [out of 81] home games each of those years. But my admiration for the author goes beyond the obvious – he is a courageous human being as well, as this book makes clear. Called a “phenom” when he started out, he was the Tennessee State player as a senior in 1993, an All-American at the University of Tennessee and a starter for Team USA in the 1996 Olympics. After playing in the minor leagues over a long period of time, he is offered a signing bonus of $810,000 by the Texas Rangers. It is the realization of his dream. Until he undergoes the routine physical examination required before the contract can be signed, and it is found that he was apparently born without an ulnar collateral ligament – the main stabilizing ligament - in his elbow, and the offer is summarily withdrawn. Ultimately, he signs for $75,000.00. How he proved himself, remained in the major leagues, and became one of the premier – and few – knuckleball pitchers pitching today, is quite a tale. The book is highly recommended, for readers who are baseball fans certainly, but for those who are not as well. As you can probably tell, I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
inspirational story
BigM91 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about struggle and perseverance. The fact he found his way into the majors when many would have given up their baseball dream speaks volumes of his strength of character. Other reviews have stated this, but I'll repeat: You don't have to be a baseball fan to be absorbed into this book. It's very well written and offers inspiration to anyone. (You don't even have to like the Mets, either.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First, let me say I am not much of a reader at all! I also first read this through my local library, after reading a Yahoo sports article, on R.A. Dickey's trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with two other MLB player's who are friends of his. I figured this book would be about that trip, what it took to climb to it's summit and the trials and tool it took his and his friends bodies. What a figured this book to be about, and what it's actually about, couldn't have been further apart!! That said, I was so moved while reading this book, I could NOT and Did NOT want to put it down, once I started to read it!! My story may not be the same as anybody else's, but I actually identify with this book too! I will never be the same after reading this either! Anyone should, and everyone should, read this book!!!!!! Thank You Mr. Dickey! From a New Fan, in Frankfort, IL
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most inspirational, as well as entertaining, books I've ever had the pleasure of reading! Thank you R. A. for sharing all of your accomplished, as well as your hardships,both professionally and personally, humbling yourself and glorifying God at every turn. May His love and guidance be ever-present in your life, and may your knuckleball continue to reign over every hitter you face against the NY Mets, for many years to come!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the ultimate underdog saga: A baseball pitcher who had lost his fastball and takes up the knuckler, perfects it over a few years, and ends up starting for the Mets, streaking to a 12-0 start in 2012 and pitching in the All-Star Game. It's a long struggle, but to see R.A. triumphant in the end in his mid-thirties is balm to the soul.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
In the midst of the first All-Star season of R.A. Dickey’s professional baseball career (and as I write this, he stands a very good chance of being named the starting pitcher for the National League in this year’s game), he has published a memoir that chronicles his struggle to achieve excellence—as a professional athlete, as a father, as a husband, as a son, as a Christian, and as a man. His story is compelling, honest, well written, and inspirational. As a lifelong NY Mets fan, I knew I would read this book, and although the book is rather short on his time as a Met (he is, after all, in just his third season with New York), Dickey tells his story with such brutal sincerity that you can’t help rooting for the guy, a professional athlete who—at the age of 37—is finally realizing his full potential. At a mere 332 pages, this is a very quick read, but don’t let the brevity fool you. Dickey has packed a lot of wisdom into these pages—you learn a lot about his family, his college career, the crushing news that he lacks an ulnar collateral ligament, the way his faith supports and enriches his life—and the vicissitudes of life as a knuckleballer. R.A. Dickey has earned the respect and admiration of any true sports fan. He has persevered over odds that repeatedly seemed bound and determined to destroy his career as a professional athlete. It’s a joy to watch him pitch, and it’s a joy to share his story. He redefines the concepts of sportsmanship and honor.
DieHardMetsFan More than 1 year ago
After reading this book you can truly appreciate the effort that R.A. is putting forward this year. The path he has taken from loosing a signing bonus to most likely being a 2012 All Star is incredibly impressive. Let go Mets!
BBATN More than 1 year ago
Great story about a man who tells his personal story of overcoming abuses from his younger years and coping in a disfunctional family. He used sports as a daily motivator to continue on with life. He became religious, married a high school sweetheart, but kept hidden earlier traumas suffered in his life. Obstacles emerged in his baseball career where he went from a highly touted college star to a pitcher with supposed medical issues. The story in summation, advises why you don't give up when the tide has turned. Developing a new pitch, making amends with his wife, and raising his family, have turned his life around and he pitches for another day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wherever I Wind Up is awesome. But don't to listen to me: (Wherever I Wind Up) "might be the finest piece of nonfiction baseball writing since 'Ball Four." Jon Wertheim, award-winning writer, best-selling author, Sports Illustrated "R.A. Dickey's Wherever I Wind Up is an astounding memoir--haunting and touching, courageous and wise." - Jeremy Schapp, best-selling author, six-time Emmy award-winning journalist, ESPN "Nobody in baseball has overcome more obstacles than R.A. Dickey, and nobody writes about them with more honesty and insight. R.A. doesn't want to be called a hero, but he is exactly that, and when you read about his life's journey and his courage, you will agree with me. This is an awesome book by an awesome man." - Orel Hershiser, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst, former MLB All-Star "R.A. Dickey is one of the coolest athletes I've ever met - a great mixture of soul and intellect ... This is an athlete worth knowing better." - George Vecsey, best-selling author, award-winning columnist, The New York Times "(a) wonderful and powerful new memoir." - Jim Caple, Senior writer, Columnist, ESPN "I can't recommend Wherever I Wind Up enough." - Gary Cohen, Mets' play-by-play announcer, SportsNet NY (SNY) "Dickey has set a new standard for athlete autobiographies." - Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
R A is a F***ing boss. Anyone who likes him should read Throwing Strkies another good book by him. He talks about life problems anf his quest for the perfect knuckleball.
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R.A. Dickey was just awarded (11/15/12) the Cy Young award. He was voted the best pitcher in the National League for the year 2012, by the Baseball Writers of America Association. This has been a story so amazin', that if a screenplay had been presented to a Hollywood studio, the producer/script reader would rightfully laugh you out of his/her office. Now R.A is facing contract negotiations that will regardless of the final sum make him and his family wealthier than anyone dare imagine this time last year. If anyone is deserving of being paid this astonishing (though it will still pale compared to scores of other players) amount of money it is this brave, classy man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
R.A. does a wonderful job telling his story about all the trials he has endured in his life and ultimately prevails with the help of wife and his faith.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply one of the best books I have ever read! Great read!