An Evening With Dave Dravecky
June 20, 2011

Dave Dravecky pitched in a World Series. He threw a two-hit shutout in the playoffs. He lost his arm to cancer.

One day shy of 20 years after the amputation of his left arm, Dravecky was in Marysville Friday night, telling his story during the Gold Sox' fourth annual Faith Night. Dravecky was also the keynote speaker for the inaugural Faith Night in 2008.

Dravecky is a very religious man, and believes that his faith in God is what got him through his battle with cancer, the loss of his arm, and the depression that followed. Whether you are a religious person or not, you have to admire him and his story.

Northern California baseball fans know that story. During the 1988 season, Dravecky was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his pitching arm. He was told he'd never pitch again. He tried to come back anyway, and returned to the big leagues the next season. But on August 15, 1989 in Montreal, he delivered a pitch and his left arm shattered.

Dave spoke to the crowd of over 3400 for about 30 minutes prior to the Gold Sox game. He and his wife Jan also did an interview with me. During that interview, I asked him if he handled his situation any differently than anybody else would have. He said no, he thought most people would have ultimately persevered the way he has. I beg to differ. Dravecky also refuses to call himself a hero. I disagree. He said he never put his life on the line for someone else. That's not completely true.

In a private session that I did not witness, Dravecky spoke to the team. One of the Gold Sox players has a brother who lost a limb in an auto accident. Dravecky spent some one-on-one time with him. In 2008 when he was here, Dravecky met Blake Baca, a teenager diagnosed with lymphoma. Dravecky's presence and time spent with Baca and his parents greatly helped with the recovery process. Three years later, Blake is not out of the woods yet, but his condition is better.

The 55 year-old Dravecky lives in Colorado now. He and his wife Jan have two grandchildren, and even with only one arm, Dave says he loves to change diapers. He runs a ministry, and has been a devout Christian ever since he played in the minor leagues. He also does some community work for the San Francisco Giants—the team he was with from 1987 until his comeback came to that shattering end. I asked him if he grew a beard for the World Series last year. Jan spoke up and jokingly said “He can't”.

Dravecky may not be able to grow a beard, but he can inspire others. defines a hero as a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. He may not have a left arm anymore, but for Dave Dravecky, the shoe fits.

Other stuff briefly: Anthony Bass was sent back to the minor leagues after his spot start and victory with the Padres last Monday. Reminds me of Ramon Martinez' MLB debut with the Dodgers...Even if it's the road team, the winning of the NHL's Stanley Cup is the best celebration in sports.

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