“If R. A. Dickey felt any anxiety Tuesday as reporters approached him at his locker, he did not let it show. With his familiar forthright demeanor, with teammates in earshot, he answered one question after another about being sexually abused as a child, and cheating on his wife as an adult, all of it revealed in his newly published memoir.
In his two seasons with the, the 37-year-old Dickey has emerged as one of the more remarkable players in the team’s history. A journeyman-turned-knuckleballer with a locker filled with books and a vocabulary streaked with sophistication, he has continued to surprise the Mets and their fans in any number of ways.
“He writes of a chaotic childhood burdened by an alcoholic mother, of once finding a spent needle and syringe in a Texas Rangers clubhouse bathroom, of being talked into becoming a knuckleballer by, among others, Orel Hershiser and Buck Showalter.
But most notably, he details the emotional pain he has encountered in his life, beginning with the repeated sexual abuse inflicted on him by a female baby sitter when he was 8, and then being abused later that same summer by a 17-year-old boy.
“I started writing the book in 2005,” Dickey said Tuesday as he stood at his locker, still in his uniform, having just thrown eight innings in a minor league game. “But it was too painful, so I set it down for a couple of years until I felt like I had the equipment to be able to hold it well and talk about it, not only for my own catharsis, but as a possibility to help other people. It’s been difficult.”
It was only when talking about being forcibly raped by a teenage boy, and his unsuccessful struggle against it, that Dickey, in his conversation with reporters, shifted his weight and lowered his voice almost to a whisper.
He talked of a life of “shame and fear and loneliness … sensations and feelings I carried with me for a long, long time.” He said it took him eight years into his marriage before he told his wife, Anne, whom he’d known since the seventh grade.
“That was really, really difficult,” he said. “Part of being sexually abused is that you feel damaged. If people knew the truth, then you would be looked at as broken or fractured. So you don’t risk it. That’s one of the things I wished I would’ve done better, but I just didn’t possess the equipment or the vocabulary to be able to do that well with her, and it cost me. It was tough on our marriage for a long, long time.”
He’s a brave guy. Most men, who were raped by another man, don’t ever disclose it. I bet his book helps many other men who suffered the same violence and degradation as a child.
You can check out his book here: amazon.com