Former Vol R.A.Dickey wins NL Cy Young Award

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Former Vol and current New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey has been named the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner, presented Wednesday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

The first knuckleballer to ever win a Cy Young Award, Dickey finished the season with 20-6 record and 2.73 ERA, while leading the league in strikeouts (230), innings pitched (233.2), complete games (five), shutouts (three) and quality starts (27).

His ERA was second in the league to only the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (2.53) and he trailed only Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals in wins (21).

With fellow Nashville native and SEC product David Price (Vanderbilt) winning the AL Cy Young Award, there have now been four former SEC pitchers to claim the honors. They join Arkansas’ Cliff Lee (AL – 2008) and Brandon Webb of Kentucky (NL – 2006) as Cy Young winners.

Dickey, who was coached by current UT head coach Dave Serrano and assistant coach Bill Mosiello during his time as a Vol, joined Ben Cantwell (1933) and Tommy Bridges (1934-36) as the only Tennessee players to win 20 games in the Major Leagues earlier this year.

The third-oldest player in MLB history to record 20 wins in a season, Dickey is also the first knuckleball pitcher to hit the threshold since Joe Niekro went 20-12 in 1980 with the Houston Astros.

The Cy Young Award is Dickey’s second honor of the week as he was presented with the 2012 Branch Rickey Award by AMG National Trust Bank in Denver last Saturday. The award honors individuals in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people.

Dickey, who was inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame in January, is the only three-time First Team All-American in Tennessee baseball history earning the honors each year from 1994-96. He was also a two-time first team All-SEC selection and an academic All-American following his junior year. In addition, he was a member of the bronze-medal winning 1996 Team USA Olympic team in Atlanta.

During his time at Rocky Top, the Nashville native wrote his name in the UT record book as the career leader in wins, appearances, games started, innings pitched and strikeouts. Dickey also holds the school single-season records for wins and innings pitched and ranks third for strikeouts.

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