Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Baseball » Dave Dravecky Biography - Getting The Bad News, A Brief, Bright Comeback, Life Goes On, Career Statistics - CONTACT INFORMATION

Dave Dravecky - A Brief, Bright Comeback

left craig mound thrill

Sessions of painful physical therapy followed as Dravecky learned a new way to maneuver his left arm. "I started tossing a football in January, picked up my first baseball in March, and by June I was able to throw batting practice" at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, noted Dravecky in a People interview with Liz MacNeil. "I had very little velocity, but just being able to throw from the mound to home plate was a thrill." Dravecky returned to the minors, throwing innings for the Phoenix Firebirds, augmenting his recovery with running and weight training to build strength and stamina. Finally in the summer of 1989 Dravecky was called back to the Giants.

The publicity surrounding the pitcher's return to the big leagues came to a head when Dravecky stepped to the mound on August 10, to riotous ovations by the crowd. He had not pitched a big-league game in fourteen months. More than two hours later he had made his mark with a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Dravecky had hurled five strikeouts and only one walk. According to Craig Neff's Sports Illustrated report, Dravecky's throws reached speeds of 88 miles per hour. When a relief pitcher was put in during the eighth inning, the crowd of 34,810 called Dravecky back for one of his many standing ovations. "I've been in five World Series," Giants manager Roger Craig told the Los Angeles Times, "and this is my biggest thrill. I've never been involved with something like this."

The thrill felt by Craig and baseball fans was short-lived, however. In his second comeback game, on August 15, 1989, Dravecky was pitching in Montreal against the Expos. During the sixth inning, he wound up to hurl a fastball to batter Tim Raines. As Dravecky released the ball, a loud crack emanated—a sound so sharp it was heard in the stands. The next image was of Dravecky collapsing on the mound. The pitch had broken his left humerus bone. "My immediate reaction was to grab my arm because I thought it had left my body," Dravecky recalled in the People article.

Dravecky again faced a long and painful rehabilitation. But this time recovery didn't make itself apparent. The former All-Star suffered strep and staph infections; meanwhile, his once-golden left arm had become "a nuisance," as Dravecky told Sports Illustrated contributor William Nack. "A pest. It became 'The Thing.' It got to the point where the only thing I could use it for was to put my socks on." The final blow came in May 1990, when the simple act of putting his left hand down for balance caused another blow to his humerus. The cancer had returned.

Dave Dravecky - Life Goes On [next] [back] Dave Dravecky - Getting The Bad News

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or