|Born:February 14, 1956|
|June 15, 1982, for the San Diego Padres|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 15, 1989, for the San Francisco Giants|
|Earned run average||3.13|
|Career highlights and awards|
David Francis Dravecky (born February 14, 1956) is an American former professional baseball player, a motivational speaker, and an author. He played Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres (1982–87) and San Francisco Giants (1987–89). Cancer ended his career as his team was reaching the 1989 World Series. He won the Hutch Award in 1989.
Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.
The San Diego Padres are an American professional baseball team based in San Diego, California. The Padres compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division. Founded in 1969, the Padres have won two NL pennants — in 1984 and 1998, losing in the World Series both years. As of 2018, they have had 14 winning seasons in franchise history. The Padres are one of two Major League Baseball teams in California to originate from that state; the Athletics were originally from Philadelphia, and the Dodgers and Giants are originally from two New York City boroughs – Brooklyn and Manhattan, respectively. The Padres are the only major professional sports franchise to be located in San Diego, following the relocation of the Chargers to Los Angeles in 2017. The Padres are the only MLB team that does not share its city with another major league professional sports franchise.
A left-handed pitcher, Dravecky represented the Padres at the All-Star game in 1983, his second season, in which he won 14 games. Equally proficient as a starter or coming out of the bullpen, Dravecky helped the Padres to their first pennant the following year.
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.
The 1983 San Diego Padres season was the 15th season in franchise history. The team finished with an 81–81 record, excluding a tied game that was not included in the standings. They scored 653 runs and allowed 653 runs for a run differential of zero.
The 1983 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 54th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on Wednesday, July 6, 1983, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, the home of the Chicago White Sox of the American League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 13-3. The game celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the All-Star Game, and occurred exactly 50 years to the date of the first All-Star game. This was the 54th game as no game was held in 1945, and two were held each year from 1959 through 1962.
Dravecky became friends with two other Padres pitchers, Mark Thurmond and Eric Show, who also held strong Christian beliefs. In the spring of 1984, Show recruited the other two to the John Birch Society, a far right US political group, and the three were widely reported on after they distributed Birch literature from a booth at the June 1984 Del Mar Fair.Dravecky stated he saw Birch beliefs as the "natural outgrowth" of a born-again Christian philosophy. Over his first six seasons, Dravecky had a 60-55 win–loss record, and the Associated Press wrote that he was better known for his association with the John Birch Society than his pitching.
Mark Anthony Thurmond is a former professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1983 to 1990. He was never on the disabled list in his career.
Eric Vaughn Show was a Major League Baseball player who played for most of his career with the San Diego Padres. The pitcher holds the Padres record for most career wins, and he was a member of the first Padres team to play in the World Series. On September 11, 1985, he surrendered Pete Rose's record-breaking 4,192nd career hit. Show's later life was affected by drug abuse. He was found dead in his room at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in 1994.
The John Birch Society (JBS) is an advocacy group supporting anti-communism and limited government. It has been described as a radical right and far-right organization.
On July 4, 1987, the San Francisco Giants acquired Dravecky, pitcher Craig Lefferts, and third baseman Kevin Mitchell from the San Diego Padres for pitchers Mark Grant and Mark Davis and third baseman Chris Brown for their pennant drive. He went 7–5 during the stretch, and in the playoffs pitched a shutout in Game 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals and lost Game 6 by a score of 1–0. The Cards won in seven games.
The San Francisco Giants are an American professional baseball team based in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams, and renamed three years later the New York Giants, the team eventually moved to San Francisco in 1958. The Giants compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division.
Craig Lindsay Lefferts is a former relief pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and California Angels between 1983 and 1994.
Kevin Darnell Mitchell is an American former Major League Baseball left fielder. A two-time All-Star and the 1989 NL MVP, he became widely known not only for his occasional brilliance on the field, but also for his unpredictable and sometimes volatile behavior off the field.
While with the Giants, Dravecky and teammates Scott Garrelts, Atlee Hammaker, and Jeff Brantley became known as the "God Squad" because of their strong Christian faith. Disdaining the hard-partying lifestyle of many of their teammates, they preferred to hold Bible studies in their hotel rooms while on the road.
Scott William Garrelts, is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the San Francisco Giants from 1982 to 1991. Garrelts's best year as a Giant came during the 1989 season when he went 14-5 with a 2.28 ERA, leading his team to the World Series against their Bay Area rivals, the Oakland Athletics.
Charlton Atlee Hammaker is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher who played the majority of his career for the San Francisco Giants, from 1982 to 1990. He also played for the Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox. During his twelve-year career, he won 59 games, lost 67 games and netted five saves.
Jeffrey Hoke Brantley, is an American former professional baseball relief pitcher, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 14 seasons, from 1988 to 2001. Brantley currently is a broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds.
The following season, a cancerous desmoid tumor was found in Dravecky's pitching arm. On October 7, 1988, he underwent surgery, which removed half of the deltoid muscle in his pitching arm and froze the humerus bone in an effort to eliminate all of the cancerous cells. Doctors advised Dravecky to wait until 1990 to pitch again, but Dravecky was determined to pitch in 1989.By July 1989, he was pitching in the minors, and on August 10, he made a highly publicized return to the major leagues, pitching eight innings and defeating Cincinnati 4–3. In his following start, five days later in Montreal, Dravecky pitched three no-hit innings, but in the fifth inning, he felt a tingling sensation in his arm. In the sixth inning, he started off shaky, allowing a home run to the leadoff batter and then hitting the second batter, Andrés Galarraga. Then, on his first pitch to Tim Raines, his humerus bone snapped; the sound of it breaking could be heard throughout the stadium. Dravecky collapsed on the mound. He'd suffered a clean break midway between his shoulder and elbow, ending his season.
The deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the human shoulder. It is also known as the 'common shoulder muscle', particularly in other animals such as the domestic cat. Anatomically, it appears to be made up of three distinct sets of fibers though electromyography suggests that it consists of at least seven groups that can be independently coordinated by the nervous system.
The Cincinnati Reds' 1989 season consisted of the Cincinnati Reds attempting to win the National League West for the first time since 1979. The season was defined by allegations of gambling by Pete Rose. Before the end of the season, Rose was banned from baseball by commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.
The 1989 Montreal Expos season was the 21st season of the baseball franchise. With owner Charles Bronfman thinking of selling the team he founded, he contemplated taking one last shot at a playoff berth. Bronfman gave young general manager Dave Dombrowski a clear mandate to win now, reportedly telling him he would provided all the money needed in the quest to bring a championship to Montreal in 1989. Dombrowski pulled off a massive trade on May 25, acquiring star left-handed pitcher – and pending free agent – Mark Langston from the Seattle Mariners. While the move was viewed as a coup at the time, it came at a heavy cost as a young, very tall and very raw Randy Johnson was the key part of the package going to the Pacific Northwest. Johnson would eventually harness his fantastic stuff and became one of the game's most dominant left-handed pitchers for well over a decade. Langston pitched 4 months for the club and left as a free agent. Still, it seemed like a worthy gamble at the time for the Expos. That year, there was no dominant team in the National League. The team seemed poised to compete for the NL East crown with a loaded starting pitching staff that featured Langston, Dennis Martínez, Bryn Smith, Pascual Perez and Kevin Gross.
The Giants won the National League pennant in 1989 (defeating the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS in five games), and in the post-game celebration, Dravecky's arm was broken a second time when he was running out to the mound to celebrate.A doctor examining Dravecky's x-rays noticed a mass in his arm, which turned out to be malignant. Dravecky's cancer had returned, ending his career. Eighteen days later, Dravecky retired from baseball with a 64–57 record with 558 strikeouts and a 3.13 ERA in 1,062⅔ innings. He won the 1989 Willie Mac Award honoring his spirit and leadership.
After two more surgeries, his left arm continued to deteriorate, and on June 18, 1991, less than two years after his comeback with the Giants, Dravecky's left arm and shoulder were amputated. After recovering from the surgery, Dravecky went on to begin a new career as a motivational speaker.
Dravecky wrote two books about his battles with cancer and his comeback attempt: Comeback, published in 1990 and written with Tim Stafford, and When You Can't Come Back, coauthored with wife Jan and Ken Gire and published in 1992. He has also written a Christian motivational book, "Called Up", published in 2004 by Zondervan. With the help of Stafford, Dravecky saw Comeback republished as a self-titled autobiography for children in 1992.
Sanford Koufax is a former American Major League Baseball (MLB) left-handed pitcher. He pitched 12 seasons for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, from 1955 to 1966. Koufax, at age 36 in 1972, became the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He has been hailed as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.
Gaylord Jackson Perry is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He pitched from 1962 to 1983 for eight different teams. During a 22-year baseball career, Perry compiled 314 wins, 3,534 strikeouts, and a 3.11 earned run average. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
Dontrelle Wayne Willis, nicknamed "The D-Train", is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds. Willis was notable for his success during his first few years in the MLB and for his unconventional pitching style, which included a high leg kick and exaggerated twisting away from the batter. He was named the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year.
Randall David Johnson, nicknamed "The Big Unit", is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1988 to 2009, for six teams. He played primarily for the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks. His 303 career victories rank as the fifth-most by a left-hander in MLB history, while his 4,875 strikeouts place him second all-time behind Nolan Ryan and are the most by a left-hander. He holds five of the seven highest single-season strikeout totals by a left-hander in modern history. Johnson won the Cy Young Award five times, second only to Roger Clemens' seven, and he is one of only two pitchers to win the award in four consecutive seasons (1999–2002). In 1999, he joined Pedro Martínez and Gaylord Perry in the rare feat of winning the award in both the American and National Leagues. He is also one of five pitchers to pitch no-hitters in both leagues. On May 18, 2004, at the age of forty, Johnson became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game, and is one of seven pitchers who have thrown both a perfect game and a no-hitter in their careers. He is also one of eighteen pitchers in history to record a win against all 30 MLB franchises.
Orel Leonard Hershiser IV is an American former baseball pitcher who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1983 to 2000. He later became a broadcast color analyst for the Dodgers. He is also a professional poker player.
Richard Michael "Goose" Gossage is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. During a 22-year baseball career, he pitched for nine different teams, spending his best years with the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. The nickname "Goose" came about when a friend did not like his previous nickname "Goss", and noted he looked like a goose when he extended his neck to read the signs given by the catcher when he was pitching. Although Gossage is otherwise generally referred to as "Rich" in popular media, a baseball field named after him bears the name "Rick".
The 1984 World Series began on October 9 and ended on October 14, 1984. The American League champion Detroit Tigers played against the National League champion San Diego Padres, with the Tigers winning the series four games to one. This was the city of Detroit's first sports championship since the Tigers themselves won the 1968 World Series.
Rodney Roy "Rod" Beck, nicknamed "Shooter", was a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the San Francisco Giants (1991–1997), Chicago Cubs (1998–1999), Boston Red Sox (1999–2001) and San Diego Padres (2003–2004). He batted and threw right-handed.
Ricky Eugene Reuschel is an American former professional baseball player. He played as a pitcher in Major League Baseball from the early 1970s into the early 1990s. His nickname was "Big Daddy" because of his portly physique. He was known for his deceptive style of pitching, which kept hitters off balance by constantly varying the speeds of his pitches.
The 1987 National League Championship Series took place between October 6 and 14 at Busch Memorial Stadium and Candlestick Park. It matched the East division champion St. Louis Cardinals (95–67) against the West division champion San Francisco Giants (90–72), with the Cardinals winning in seven games. The Cardinals would go on to lose the 1987 World Series to the Minnesota Twins, also in seven games.
Kevin John Correia is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 1989 National League Championship Series was played between the National League West champion San Francisco Giants and the National League East champion Chicago Cubs. The Giants won the series four games to one, en route to losing to the Oakland Athletics in four games in the 1989 World Series.
Clayton Laws Kirby, Jr. was a Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher for the San Diego Padres (1969–73), Cincinnati Reds (1974–75) and Montreal Expos (1976).
The 1989 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 107th season in Major League Baseball, their 32nd season in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their 30th at Candlestick Park. The Giants finished in first place in the National League West with a record of 92 wins and 70 losses. It was their second division title in three years. The Giants defeated the Chicago Cubs in five games in the National League Championship Series. However, they were swept by their cross-Bay rivals, the Oakland Athletics, in an earthquake-marred World Series.
The 1998 San Diego Padres season was the 30th season in franchise history. The Padres won the National League championship and advanced to the World Series for the second time in franchise history.
The 1989 Major League Baseball season saw the Oakland Athletics win their first World Series title since 1974.
Guillermo "Willie" Hernández Villanueva is a former relief pitcher for the Chicago Cubs (1977–1983), Philadelphia Phillies (1983), and Detroit Tigers (1984–1989). He threw and batted left-handed. Hernández utilized the screwball.
During the 1988 Major League Baseball season, pitcher Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers set the MLB record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched. Over 59 consecutive innings, opposing hitters did not score a run against Hershiser. During the streak, he averted numerous high-risk scoring situations. The streak spanned from the sixth inning of an August 30 game against the Montreal Expos to the tenth inning of a September 28 game against the San Diego Padres. The previous record of 58 2⁄3 innings was set by former Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale in 1968; as the team's radio announcer, Drysdale called Hershiser's streak as he pursued the new record. Pundits have described the streak as among the greatest individual feats in sports and among the greatest records in baseball history.