Had the opportunity to chat baseball and about my book “Tom Candiotti: A Life of Knuckleballs” on Vancouver Canadians Game Day with Rob Fai on TSN 1040.
Here’s the part of the program where I talked about the book and about the Blue Jays:
To me, there’s no comparison with Tom Candiotti on the 1991 Blue Jays and R.A. Dickey on the 2015 team. As I’d mentioned on the program, Candiotti in 1991 was looked upon to lead the young pitching staff (one that included rookies Mike Timlin and Juan Guzman as well as youngsters David Wells and Todd Stottlemyre). His innings took pressure off of the bullpen as well as the other starters. Candiotti, in fact, nearly won the 1991 American League ERA title – losing it to Roger Clemens in the final week of the season. (Candiotti, who led the ERA race in late September, finished at 2.65 while Clemens was at 2.62.)
As for Dickey? As I’d noted, he’s basically a six-inning pitcher and he might not even be part of the postseason starting rotation (assuming Toronto makes it to the playoffs).
I got cut off when I was talking about rooting for a guy like Candiotti, but what I’d wanted to say there was that how can one not root for the guy? He was a guy who went undrafted, developed elbow problems that required surgery before he even got to the big leagues, underwent Tommy John surgery and became the second player to ever appear in the majors after the operation, and reinvented himself by throwing a knuckleball after two seasons in the bigs where he was a conventional pitcher. The guy nearly won the ERA title twice, and finished his career with more than 150 victories. How can one not root for a guy like that? Had social media existed then, his story would have been more recognized and remembered.