THIS IS EPISODE 288 OF THE SPORTS SPECTRUM PODCAST
Dave Dravecky’s story is one of hope, courage and perseverance in the midst of dark and overwhelming uncertainty.
In 1988, Dravecky was at the top of his game and life. Not only did he have a wonderful family, but he was reaching his All-Star peak playing the game of his childhood dreams. But that fall, doctors discovered cancer and had to remove half of the deltoid muscle in his pitching arm.
For many baseball fans, Dravecky etched his name into history on Aug. 10, 1989. Defying all odds, after battling cancer in his pitching arm, he came back to pitch once again in the major leagues. People rose to their feet cheering and anticipating the game as he stretched and warmed up. He became an inspiration not only to cancer fighters, but to all who needed hope that day.
As Dravecky took the mound, no one could deny the miracle taking place. After being told by his doctors, “Short of a miracle, you’ll never pitch again,” he pitched a 4-3 win for the San Francisco Giants.
Unfortunately, Dravecky’s comeback was short lived. Five days later, in Montreal, he threw “the pitch that could be heard ’round the world.” Dravecky’s arm had split in two. As he tumbled to the ground, his mind filled with doubt and fear. Little did he know that the game he had loved since he was a little boy was simply a platform for his purpose to share hope with those suffering around the world.
Dravecky’s triumphant defeat of cancer and his return to the game of baseball are chronicled in his award-winning book “Comeback,” which has sold more than 650,000 copies. After his comeback and fall from the mound, with the weakened bone, the cancer returned. The arm was not going to get better at this point, so Dravecky decided to retire from the game of baseball in November 1989.
Slowly, the treatment and cancer ate away Dravecky’s arm. Radiation treatment after radiation treatment resulted in a staph infection that placed a hole in the middle of his arm, exposing bone. Finally, the arm, his shoulder blade and left side of his collar bone had to be amputated to prevent the cancer from spreading and taking his life.
Because of an overwhelming response to their story, and their desire to walk alongside others who suffer, Dave and his wife, Jan, founded Dave Dravecky’s Outreach of Hope, a nonprofit organization in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Draveckys realized through their own experiences that one cannot battle cancer alone, so they created a ministry to bring hope for those who hurt.
On this episode of the podcast, we hear Dravecky’s incredible story of a major league career cut short, hearing the word “cancer” for the first time, trusting God, doubting God, and how his faith ultimately saw him through his recovery.
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