Congratulations to our three contest winners: Matthew Fillare, Kevin Connell and Franco Salandra, each of whom hunkered down and earned a DVD copy of Knuckleball, courtesy of the good folks at MPI/FilmBuff. If you didn’t win one but want to own one, that, too, can be arranged.
Here are the answers to our R.A. Dickey quiz:
1. R.A. Dickey pitched three one-hitters as a Met. Who were the culprits who broke up each potential no-hitter in those respective games?
Cole Hamels of the Phillies on August 13, 2010; B.J. Upton of the Rays on June 13, 2012; and Wilson Betemit of the Orioles on June 18, 2012. Only Upton’s was the subject of a Met appeal regarding the scoring decision (it was denied).
2. In R.A. Dickey’s first season on the Mets, he led all starters on the staff in ERA. Who led the team in wins and strikeouts, respectively?
In 2010, R.A. Dickey pitched to a 2.84 ERA, Mike Pelfrey won 15 games and Jon Niese struck out 148 batters (while Johan Santana led the staff with four complete games despite missing the final month of the season). The previous time the three Met pitching triple-crown categories were topped by three different pitchers was 1997 when Rick Reed had the lowest ERA, Bobby Jones had the most wins and Dave Mlicki totaled the most strikeouts.
3. Which two longtime Mets broadcasters of yore hailed from R.A. Dickey’s home state?
We’re talking Tennessee, and announcers Lindsey Nelson (1962-1978) and Tim McCarver (1983-1998) were the most famous Volunteer Statesmen associated with the Mets before Dickey. The most famous Met player from Tennessee prior to R.A.’s emergence? Collierville’s Marvelous Marv Throneberry (1962-1963).
4. In the only game R.A. Dickey pitched at Shea Stadium, who was the one player to register three hits off him?
Fernando Tatis, starting at third base in one of only three games David Wright didn’t that season, went 3-for-3 as Dickey threw seven shutout innings in the Mariners’ 11-0 win of June 24, 2008.
5. Who joined Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez in the SNY booth the night R.A. Dickey beat the Detroit Tigers at Citi Field in 2010? (Hint: the answer is not Ron Darling.)
Jerry Seinfeld sat in, called Jose Reyes’s fifth-inning home run and gave Mets fans watching at home a great show as R.A. and Frankie Rodriguez teamed on a five-hit shutout on June 23, 2010.
6. Two future Mets besides R.A. Dickey were selected in the first round of the 1996 amateur draft — who were they?
Before the Rangers chose R.A. with the 18th pick in the nation, the Pirates, at No. 1, took Kris Benson and the Cardinals used the third pick on Braden Looper. They’d be teammates on the 2004-2005 Mets. (Rob Stratton, taken 13th by the Mets in the first round, never made it to the majors.)
7. What name did Gary Cohen assign the series in which R.A. Dickey won his first game as a New York Met as soon as that series was over?
The Goose Egg Sweep; the Phillies failed to score across 27 glorious innings between May 25 and May 27, 2010. Six of those innings were R.A.’s, making his Citi Field debut in the series opener.
8. R.A. Dickey pitched a minor league one-hitter that facilitated his getting called up to the Mets. Who got that one hit against him?
Fernando Perez of the Durham Bulls, who led off with a single on April 29, 2010. His last professional action, according to Baseball-Reference, came in 2011 for the same Mets’ Buffalo Triple-A club for which R.A. pitched the year before.
10. What did you love most about R.A. Dickey’s tenure as a New York Met? (No correct answer — I’m just curious.)
Every Mets fan loved/loves R.A. in his or her own way…
• Matthew: “After several dark years, he single-handedly brought my love of baseball back stronger than it had ever been. And that the love we Mets fans’ had for him — even in his now absence — ultimately came together and bore this fruit that pines for our former loves but understands that some birds aren’t meant to be caged.” (And then, as if angling for extra credit given my fondness for a particular prison-set movie, Matthew included this incredibly appropriate image and one word that explains it all: “Zihuatanejo”.)
• Kevin: “Can’t really put into words why I loved him so much, the emotions are too strong. Quick story on when I knew it was all-time Met love: I remember thinking when I went to see him for the first time in 2012, “this guy is really special, on and off the field,” and then I heard him come to the plate with the Game of Thrones theme playing, and I just quivered. Jocks aren’t supposed to love stories about, well, dungeons and dragons — only geeks like me are!”
• Franco: “Humble, gamer, loved the team and the town.”
Thanks to each of our winners for sharing their Dickeyest thoughts. Thanks once more to MPI/Film Buff for promotional considerations. You can check out more about a terrific documentary/romance here; if you want to complete your Dickey libR.A.ry, the paperback edition of Wherever I Wind Up is now available as well.