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Dave Dravecky's Drive
Updated: Sunday, January 26 2014, 02:23 PM CST
In his book, former Major League pitcher Dave Dravecky wrote, "My left arm made me valuable. It's what gave me worth in the eyes of the world." Dravecky does not have a left arm anymore, but you can argue that he's never been more valuable.
Dravecky was the keynote speaker at Saturday's Concordia University baseball First Pitch Dinner.
"This is an opportunity to share my story and hopefully encourage the audience tonight to see the significance and the value of these young men - not just through the baseball program but as individuals," Dravecky said.
Dravecky pitched eight seasons in the major leagues from 1982 to 1989. However, he's most known for the battles he fought off the field. The deltoid muscle in his pitching arm was removed in 1988 after cancer was discovered. A year later, after being told he'd never pitch again, Dravecky was back on the mound for the Giants.
But later that season, Dravecky's arm split in two as he threw a pitch and he was forced to retire. However, even after the cancer returned and his left arm was amputated, Dravecky's "pitch" is still a positive one.
"When I retired, I had no regrets," Dravecky said. "I didn't feel like something was stripped away from me, even though my career was cut short. My dream came true the first day I put that uniform on."
"He never complained, he never backed down," recalled former major league pitcher Scott Linebrink. "He's a man of integrity, he's a man of faith. Just the way he's able to use his story and his platform to reach people is really inspiring."
"Baseball is not the most important thing in these [Concordia players] life," admitted Concordia head baseball coach Tommy Boggs. "There's a path for them to lead. I just want them to listen to him. There's so much they're going to learn from the experience."
Concordia opens its 2014 season February 7th at home against Southwestern.