Steven Wright’s three-year quest to get knuckleball tips directly from New York Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey finally materialized during spring training through a chance encounter.
Wright, a minor league pitcher with the Cleveland Indians, was playing alone at Palm Valley Golf Club in Goodyear, Ariz., where his wife, Shannon, works, after having returned from winter ball, when he met another solo golfer and struck up a conversation. That man, Kirby Arnold, a retired sportswriter for the Everett (Wash.) Herald, formerly covered the Seattle Mariners and had maintained a relationship with Dickey.
Arnold set up an email exchange between Dickey and Wright, which led to an hour-long spring training tutorial by phone. Now, the 27-year-old Wright scrutinizes each of Dickey’s outings on a laptop from the Double-A Akron Aeros clubhouse, and is on a path toward becoming the second active knuckleballer in the majors….
A survey of the 30 major league organizations found only two active knuckleballers besides Dickey—Wright and Chicago Cubs farmhand Joe Zeller, who was transferred to Class A Boise last week, from Daytona in the Florida State League.