In a lost season, R.A. Dickey was one of the Mets’ few bright spots.
Responsible for 20 of the team’s 74 wins, Dickey took home the National League’s Cy Young award, topping a tough field that included last year’s winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals.
Dickey, a lightly regarded journeyman who picked up the knuckleball in an effort to prolong his evaporating career, became the first knuckleballer and third Mets player to take home the award honoring the league’s top pitcher. Doc Gooden won the award in 1985 and Tom Seaver was honored three times, 1969, 1973 and 1975.
“To have my name linked to Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden is quite humbling,” said Dickey, the second-oldest first-time Cy Young winner.
The 38-year-old took 27 of the 32 first place votes.
David Price won the award in the American League.
The knuckleballer led the NL in innings, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts this year. He finished the season with a 20-6 record, a 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts.
“I’d like to thank the fans. They stood behind me every time I took the mound. I wouldn’t have won this award without them,” said Dickey, who developed a rapport with the fans over his three years with the team.
The free-spirited Met climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in the offseason to raise money for prostate cancer, and released a memoir detailing sexual abuse suffered as a child.
“R.A. is a great teammate, fierce competitor and even a better human being. No one deserves this award more than him,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Following his final home start, and after earning his 20th victory, Dickey spoke about the possibility of winning the award.
“What kid doesn’t grow up wanting to be the best? I’ve always wanted to be the best,” Dickey said.
The journeyman turned Cy Young winner has one year worth $5 million remaining on his contract and has expressed a desire to finish his career in Queens, though no extensions have been finalized as the team is exploring all its options, including trades.
Coming into the year, Dickey collected just 41 wins over his first nine professional seasons. Dickey, who joined the Mets in 2010, did not make the team coming out of spring training that year, instead being sent to the minors. He was recalled in May and won 19 games over the next two years with an ERA just above 3.00 before jumping another level this past season.