NEW YORK (AP) - R.A. Dickey languished in the minors for 14 years, bouncing from one team to another before finally perfecting that perplexing knuckleball that made him a major league star.
David Price was the top pick in the draft and an ace by age 25, throwing 98 mph heat with a left arm live enough to make the most hardened scout sing.
Two paths to the pantheon of pitching have rarely been more different.
“Isn’t that awesome?” said Dickey, the first knuckleballer to win a Cy Young. “It just shows you there’s not just one way to do it, and it gives hope to a lot of people.”
Dickey said he jumped up and yelled in excitement, scaring one of his kids, when he saw on television that Price edged Justin Verlander for the American League prize. Both winners are represented by Bo McKinnis, who watched the announcements with Dickey at his home in Nashville, Tenn.
“I guess we can call him Cy agent now,” Price quipped on a conference call.
The hard-throwing lefty barely beat out Verlander in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, preventing the Detroit Tigers’ ace from winning consecutive Cy Youngs.
“It means a lot,” Price said. “It’s something that I’ll always have. It’s something that they can’t take away from me.”
Other than a 1969 tie between Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain, it was the closest race in the history of the AL award.
Rays closer Fernando Rodney got the other first-place vote and came in fifth.
The 38-year-old Dickey was listed first on 27 of 32 National League ballots and totaled 209 points, 113 more than 2011 winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Washington lefty Gio Gonzalez finished third.
Cincinnati right-hander Johnny Cueto and Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel each received a first-place vote, as did Gonzalez. Kershaw had two.
Dickey joined Dwight Gooden (1985) and three-time winner Tom Seaver as the only Mets to win the award. The right-hander went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, making him the club’s first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990, and became the first major leaguer in 24 years to throw consecutive one-hitters.