Reno, NV (MyNews4.com) – He's currently a motivational speaker, but you might know him best as the former major league baseball pitcher whose career was taken away by cancer.
Dave Dravecky spent 8 years in the bigs and was with the San Francisco Giants from 1987 to 1989. Now, he travels the states, sharing his story on hope, courage and faith.
He was in Northern Nevada visiting Summit Christian Church in Sparks and News 4 was fortunate enough to sit down with him one-on-one.
“My favorite pitch was my only pitch and that was a fastball and it wasn't very good.” Dravecky learned how to throw his 88 mile per hour fastball in four different ways. Dave said, “Ya know contrary to what a lot of people tell you, you don't have to have a lot of stuff to actually make it to the big leagues and get guys out.”
After pitching an Opening Day victory against the Dodgers in 1988, Dave found out he had cancer in his left arm and shoulder, his pitching arm. Doctors had to remove part of his deltoid muscle. Dave miraculously came back to pitch in the bigs less than a year later, even after the doctors told him he'll never be able to pitch again.
Dave, being the competitor he is, didn't take no for an answer. Dave said, “Athletes are wired to be competitive. Ya know this was another challenge that I had to compete against, called cancer, and as a result I wasn't gonna give up. At the end of the day, I didn't want to walk away from the game not trying, wondering if I could have ever done it.”
In August of 1989, Dravecky held the Expos to just two runs through 5 innings. However, little did he know, that was going to be his final game. He broke his left arm in half and had to be carried off the diamond in a stretcher.
More bad news came in 1991. Doctors told Dave that his cancer returned and the only way to get rid of it was to amputate the arm and his shoulder. “I actually thought that if you got rid of the arm and shoulder that would get rid of all my problems because the cancer would be gone. But in reality it just threw me into a tail spin and I went through an identity crisis.” Dave said he hit an all-time low. “I struggled with clinical depression, I became extremely angry, I was verbally abusive to my family because I didn't know how to basically open up and release that anger that was inside of me.”
Dave continues to pursue his new calling; his passion of motivational speaking. “Right now, I am cancer free. So bottom line is it’s a day to day journey regardless, and at this stage of my life, right now, right here today, I'm learning to live fully present in this moment and that's it.”
Dave will be traveling to Concord, CA on May 2nd. If you'd like to see where he's speaking next or would like to book him as a guest speaker, visit his website at www.davedravecky.com.