Today’s Illustration: Comeback & When . . . . !

dravecky.jpeg You Can’t Come Back!

On This Day:  August 15, 1989 — Dravecky Breaks Left Arm in Game Against Montreal

LA Times — “MONTREAL — Dave Dravecky on Tuesday night fractured his pitching arm, the one on which he had cancer surgery 10 months ago, and probably will be out for the season.

The 33-year-old San Francisco Giant pitcher was injured while pitching in his second major league start since a cancerous tumor was removed from his left arm. He fell to the mound in the sixth inning and was taken off the field on a stretcher. He was conscious and holding his arm as he left.

Although Dravecky is expected to be out for the season, Expos’ physician Robert Broderick said “the odds are in his favor that he’ll pitch again.”

“There is very little damage involving the muscles,” said Broderick, who did not speculate when Dravecky would be able to pitch.”


Facts & Information:

Born: February 14, 1956, in Youngstown, Ohio

Dravecky became a left-handed professional baseball pitcher.

Drafted in 1978 by the Pittsburg Pirates.

Married in 1978.

In 1981 he was traded To San Francisco Padres.

In 1987 he was then traded to the San Francisco Giants.

On July 4, 1987, the San Francisco Giants signed Dave Dravecky

Dave Draveky broke in with the San Diego Padres in 1982 and then was then traded to the San Francisco Giants.   As a gritty lefty pitcher, he was diagnosed in October 1988 with cancer in his pitching arm. Even though many believed that Dave would never pitch again after 10 months of strenuous rehabilitation, he pitched eight innings for a 4-3 victory on August 10, 1989.  

However, in his next start, he was throwing a pitch in the sixth inning at Montreal when the bone in his upper left arm snapped.  

Then, if that was not bad enough, approximately a year later cancer returned, and finally, Dave had his left arm amputated.  

“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.” — wikipedia

In 1989, after the Giants won the National League pennant after the game was won and the team was celebrating, Dravecky’s arm was broken a second time when he was running out to the mound to celebrate.

“While recuperating, he went on the field to celebrate when the Giants clinched the division title, a teammate jostled him, and he again broke the arm.” NYT

In 1989 Dravecky was voted the winner of the “Hutch Award.”

“The Hutch Award honors the memory of Fred Hutchinson, who was managing the Cincinnati Reds when he died of cancer in 1964.”

In 1989 was awarded the “Willie Mac Award.”

“The photo above was taken the day I received the Willie Mac award in 1989. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most important awards I’ve been given in my life. Named after San Francisco Giants Hall of Famer William McCovey, the award is voted on by the team and given to the Giants player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the team. Through it all these guys were my team, and the support they gave me through this time in my life, after the pain and suffering, breaking my arm, and having to retire 5 days later, was incredible. They showed me the significance of having a team, not only on the field, but also in life. Through my speaking I encourage others to cultivate these types of relationships and see the part they play in achieving our life goals.

Quote:  It’s not what you do that matters, It’s who you are.” — —

In 1991 Dravecky’s left arm and shoulder were amputated.

Davecky’s first book was titled, Comeback

Davecky’s second book was titled, When You Can’t Comeback .  

Dave Dravecky says of his high school sweetheart and wife of 13 years , Janice . . .

“[she] has truly been the wind beneath my wings.”

The title line of a February 1992 USA Today cover story read . . . 

“Dravecky’s new era; Loss of arm breaks heart but not spirit.”

 In that article Dave Dravecky said

“It’s been a very difficult time.  It hasn’t only been a physical struggle, but mentally I’ve struggled with depression. Just recently I’ve come to grips with it. It took a while for it to hit, but when it did, it hit like a ton of bricks. . . . Most athletes, because of the way we’re programmed to perform, have a difficult time showing our weaknesses and our fears. . . But I’ve learned it’s okay to show weaknesses and to be afraid. . . . I’ve come to understand that God is really shaping and molding my character.  I’ve come to realize that real growth of character takes place in the valleys of life. . . . Ultimately, I have hope that no matter what happens to me, someday I’m going to be in heaven and that’s where I will have peace.” — USA Today Cover Story – SPORTS Page 1C – February 28, 1992)  

In 2004, Dravecky wrote a Christian motivational book, “Called Up: Stories of Life and Faith from the Great Game of Baseball.”

From The Dravecky Story:

“Dave and his wife Jan established Dave Dravecky’s Outreach of Hope ( in 1991. The mission of the ministry is to offer comfort, encouragement and hope through Jesus Christ to those who suffer from cancer, amputation or serious illness. This is accomplished by offering prayer support, referral services and resources for those who are suffering and their families. In addition, support materials are available for churches, healthcare professionals and individuals who work with the suffering.” — darveckystory

“There was a period of time in my life where I did not want to laugh. I have come to realize that laughter really is healing for the soul.”

“Now I’ve gone through a lot of difficult times. I want you to know that when I say it’s been a blessing. It’s been hard arriving at that. There’s been some great struggles. I have been in the pit. The valley of life. You know there’s an important lesson in understanding that. You know there is some growth at the mountain tops but there’s very little growth on the mountain tops. Why does the farmer go into the valley and plant the crops that he plants? Because the soil is the most fertile in the valley. Why should life be any different. When we go through the valleys of life we’ve got to see that as a very rich time. That’s a process. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s not automatic. Because both Jan and Dave Dravecky went through depression.

That was a very difficult time for us. As a matter of fact, I would like to share with you some of what took place in that. If you want to know more, go out and buy the book. You can read the rest of the story there. But what happened was all of a sudden as I was coming through my own struggles, Jan began to slide. She was trying to be everything to everyone and she just couldn’t do it anymore. I remember specifically as she was telling me that she just wasn’t feeling good and I would look at her and say, “Suck it up, honey. Pull up your boot straps. You can do it. With me and God you can move forward and everyone’s going to be fine. Don’t worry about it. Besides you look fine. You don’t look sick.” What was happening was she was crashing right before my eyes. In essence what she was doing was crying out for help and I wasn’t the one to give it to her.

The problem was my ego got in the way. My pride got in the way. How many of us men know what pride is? Does that ever get in the way? My pride got in the way of my wife being able to seek help. It got so bad that when she wanted to go out and seek help I said, “No way.” I was so angry because it was a blow to my ego that I literally took a portable phone at home and I threw it down on the floor and busted it on the tile in the kitchen. I looked at her and I said, “There make your phone call for help.” What a jerk! . . . . My ego was being stricken. I didn’t like it because she wanted help from somebody else and I thought I was her all in all. I was the one who was supposed to fix her. How in the world was I supposed to fix her problems when I couldn’t fix my own?” — dravecky story

Key Illustrative Thoughts:

• When you can’t come back
• You can always come back.
• “Hope in the midst of adversity.”
• discouragement
• pride
• trials
• hope and dreams
• success and failures
• losses and gains
• penthouse to the pit
• our hope
• crying out for help
• self-sufficient
• losing hope / lost hope
• depression
• seeking help
• pain
• the last pitch



Other Information & Links:

NYT: “Dave Dravecky, the Giant pitcher whose throwing arm snapped as he was delivering a pitch Tuesday night, had been warned that he would be risking just such a fracture if he returned to the mound so soon after surgery to remove a cancerous growth from his left arm, his surgeon and the Giants’ team doctor said yesterday.

At the same time, both doctors said Dravecky could resume his career next year, and that his arm could be stronger than ever.

”Dave and I had discussed it, and we had opened up the possibility for him to have a fracture,” said Dr. George F. Muschler, the orthopedic surgeon who performed the operation at the Cleveland Clinic last October.

Dr. Gordon Campbell, the team physician, confirmed that the possibility of a fracture had been thoroughly discussed with Dravecky and said that he, too, believed the left-handed starter could return to the rotation next year.

”I don’t see any reason why he can’t go through the rehabilitation program and pitch next year,” Campbell said yesterday afternoon. No Threat to Career Seen. . . .

Throughout his ordeal, Dravecky who described his comeback victory last week as a ”miracle of God,” has been sustained by his religious faith. Yesterday, as he prepared to return to San Francisco from Montreal, he expressed confidence that everything would be all right. ”The Lord is in control,” he said.” — August 17, 1989, Pg 21 — The New York Times

USA Today Cover Story – SPORTS Page 1C – February 28, 1992

August 17, 1989, Pg 21 — The New York Times

“Rocklin, CA (PRWEB) November 6, 2006 — The Alaskan Wilderness helps ex-professional all-star baseball player Dave Dravecky regain his manhood after losing his arm and career. This story is recounted in intriguing detail in a great new adventure book, “Wild Men, Wild Alaska” by Rocky McElveen.” —

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