When he was eight years old, Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey says he was repeatedly abused sexually by a female babysitter. And on one occasion, the abuse was done by a 17-year-old boy. The impact left Dickey feeling angry, alone, afraid of intimacy, unable to trust. He later cheated on his wife, after which he wanted to kill himself because of the guilt and shame.
Dickey makes these stunning disclosures in a memoir written with Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News that will be published Thursday. The book, which is called Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest For Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, will be excerpted in both the Daily News and Sports Illustrated later this week. The Daily News published a story today that makes it clear the book will be much more than a rollicking account of Dickey's 14-year journey through the minors:
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.
A devout Christian, Dickey ultimately views the book as a narrative about faith and redemption and hope, but felt strongly that he could not tell a meaningful story without exploring the most difficult aspects of his life.
"I have spent so much of my life running and hiding, and I wasn't going to continue doing that in the book," Dickey says. "What would be the point in doing that - perpetuating untruth? It was important to me to tell the truth, to be completely authentic. Sharing the pain I went through is part of the healing for me, a catharsis in many ways."
It was in the winter of 2005-06, after he cheated on his wife, Anne, that Dickey says he considered killing himself, though he never made any actual suicide attempt. He attributes the love of his wife and four children, plus counseling and therapy, prayer and faith, with getting him through.
"It is basically saying that even though life is painful and we all have our struggles, with strength and faith and honesty and love, we can get through the abyss, and find joy and meaning on the other side," he says.
Photo via AP.
R.A. Dickey book: Childhood sexual abuse revealed in memoir with Daily News' Wayne Coffey; NY Mets pitcher thought about suicide [New York Daily News]