David Price, R.A. Dickey take home Cy Young awards

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Perhaps most impressive, Dickey did it all during a season when the fourth-place Mets finished 74-88.

“It just feels good all over,” he said on MLB Network.

Dickey switched from conventional pitcher to full-time knuckleballer in a last-ditch effort to save his career. It took him years to finally master the floating, darting pitch, which he often throws harder (around 80 mph) and with more precision than almost anyone who used it before him.

“I knew what I was going to be up against in some regard when I embraced this pitch,” Dickey said.

He was the first cut at Mets spring training in 2010 but earned a spot in the big league rotation later that season and blossomed into a dominant All-Star this year. He led the NL in strikeouts (230), innings (233⅔), complete games (five) and shutouts (three) — pitching through an abdominal injury most of the way.

“I am not a self-made man by any stretch of the imagination,” Dickey said. “The height of this story, it’s mind-blowing to me, it really is.”

A member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team and a first-round draft pick out of Tennessee, Dickey was devastated when the Texas Rangers reduced their signing-bonus offer from more than $800,000 to $75,000 after they discovered during a physical that he was missing a major ligament in his pitching elbow.

Undeterred, perseverance got him to the big leagues anyway. When he failed, the knuckleball brought him back.

Among those he thanked ceaselessly for helping him on that long and winding road to success were all his proud knuckleball mentors, including Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro.

“It brings a real degree of legitimacy I think to the knuckleball fraternity and I’m glad to represent them and I’m certainly grateful to all those guys,” Dickey said. “This was a victory for all of us.”

Dickey said he received 127 text messages and 35-40 phone calls in the moments immediately following the Cy Young announcement.

The only call he took was from Niekro, a 318-game winner from 1964-87. The first texts Dickey responded to were from Wakefield and Hough.

“Most well-deserved,” Niekro said in a comment provided by the Hall of Fame. “I’m super proud of him, as a pitcher and as an individual.”

Dickey has one year left on his contract at $5.25 million and New York general manager Sandy Alderson has said signing the pitcher to a multiyear deal is one of his top offseason priorities. Alderson, however, would not rule out trading his unlikely ace.

“I believe the Mets are going to be a lot better and I want to be part of the solution,” Dickey said, adding that he hopes the sides can strike a deal and he’d be happy to end his career in New York.

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