cover image 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

R.A. Dickey, with Wayne Coffey. Penguin/Blue Rider, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-15815-5

Most professional baseball players pen a memoir after they retire. But pitcher R.A. Dickey%E2%80%94who spent four seasons with four different Major League Baseball teams and is MLB's only active knuckleballer%E2%80%94boasts 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"%E2%80%94"While I breath, I hope." He and co-author Coffey (The Boys of Winter) write with startling candor not only about the game%E2%80%94Dickey's fellow players, steroids in baseball, his disdain for rookie hazing%E2%80%94, but also about his tumultuous upbringing%E2%80%94being 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. (Mar.)