The Mets upcoming road series with the Texas Rangers means that Jose Reyes is returning to the site of his Major League debut. In his first at bat, Jose singled, and wound up going two for four with a double and two runs scored in the game. The trip to Arlington will likely have a special significance to Reyes, but the Rangers also hold some memories for another Met: R.A. Dickey.
Originally drafted in the tenth round of the ’93 draft by the Detroit Tigers, Dickey was drafted in the first round (with the 18th pick) by the Rangers in 1996. Originally offered an $810,000 signing bonus, that figure was reduced to $75,000 upon the discovery that R.A. lacked an ulnar collateral ligament. He worked his way up through the minors and made his big league debut in 2001. After struggling, Dickey began developing his knuckleball and utilized it 49.2% of the time in nine appearances in ’05, according to FanGraphs. In 2006, Dickey made one start for the Rangers as a true knuckleball pitcher. In that outing, he allowed seven runs on eight hits and one walk in three and one third innings, serving up six home runs. He never pitched for the Rangers again.
Dickey’s final stat line with Rangers is unimpressive. In 266 innings, he had a 5.72 ERA and 1.568 WHIP, while posting a K/BB of 1.78. Granted, he wasn’t using the knuckleball until the very end, but it’s clear Dickey was not an effective pitcher with the Rangers. He became a free agent following the ’06 season, and began his long journey to a full time, productive role in the majors.
Arlington does not hold the same type of memories for Dickey as they do for Reyes. But Texas is still the birthplace of R.A.’s career and likely holds a special place in his heart, especially given his experiences as a Ranger led him to become the pitcher he is today. It’s too bad Dickey will not pitch in this series, because I for one would like to see him get an opportunity to show the Rangers what a guy without an ulnar collateral ligament can do.
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