Mets player reveals sex abuse, suicidal thoughts

New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey throws during the second inning of a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, March 2, 2011, in Jupiter, Fla. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey
New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey.
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

(CBS News) Mets' pitcher R.A. Dickey is primarily known as a master of the knuckleball and a conqueror of Mt. Kilimanjaro. But in a memoir to be released this week, Dickey reveals intimate details of his personal life, including that he was sexually abused as a child and pondered suicide as an adult.

In the book, called "Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest For Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball," Dickey says he was sexually abused by a teenage babysitter numerous times when he an 8-year-old growing up in Tennessee.

"The babysitter chucks the pillows and stuffed animals out of the way," Dickey writes in an excerpt published by Sports Illustrated. "She looks at me and says, Get in the bed. I am confused and afraid. I am trembling. The babysitter has her way with me four or five more times that summer, and into the fall, and each time feels more wicked than the time before. Every time that I know I'm going back over there, the sweat starts to come back. I sit in the front seat of the car, next to my mother, anxiety surging. I never tell her why I am so afraid. I never tell anyone until I am 31 years old."

A first-round draft pick by the Rangers in 2001, Dickey struggled in the big leagues and an injury in 2005 nearly ended his career. But pitching coach Orel Hershiser encouraged him to go to the minors and master the knuckleball. It worked: The 37-year-old has enjoyed surprising success in the Mets starting rotation, leading the team in ERA each of the past two seasons.

In the book, Dickey also reveals he had an extramarital affair that led him to consider suicide during the winter of 2005-2006.

"I betrayed my wife and there are not words that can adequately convey the guilt I felt for hurting the person who has given me so much love, who I share my life with," Dickey says in a excerpt published in the Daily News.

Dickey also writes about finding an apparent steroids syringe in the Texas Rangers clubhouse in 2001 - an incident that left an impression on the rookie.

"I'd never seen a syringe in a baseball clubhouse before. I've not seen one since," Dickey writes. "It may have been used for the most benign of purposes, but the mere sight of it makes me feel as though I am looking straight at Evil -- like seeing a weapon somebody left behind at a crime scene."

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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