Dave Dravecky’s Disability


Dave Dravecky with the San Francisco Giants (photo courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com)

Yesterday, I pondered the meaning of the injured list. Speaking of being on the IL (or, perhaps DL, since this occurred 30 years ago), on this date in 1989, Dave Dravecky of the San Francisco Giants broke his arm when pitching to Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos. It was the last time Dravecky pitched in the Major Leagues.

The previous year, doctors had found a cancerous tumor in Dravecky’s pitching arm. In October 1988, he underwent surgery to remove the cancer; half of his deltoid muscle was removed and his humerus bone was frozen. Although he was advised not to pitch until the 1990 season, Dravecky wanted to return to baseball sooner. After rehabbing in the minors, he pitched in the majors for the first time since his surgery on August 10, 1989. He pitched eight innings and a 4-3 win over Cincinnati. His second start was against the Montreal Expos five days later. As he made that fateful pitch to Tim Raines, his humerus bone snapped and he fell to the ground. His arm broke a second time later that season as the Giants were celebrating winning the National League pennant.

In examining the x-rays of Dravecky’s arm, a doctor found a mass, which turned out to be malignant. Dravecky needed additional treatment and his career was over. He underwent additional surgeries, but his arm continued to deteriorate. In June 1991, he underwent another surgery – this time to amputate his left arm and shoulder.

Despite his disability, Dravecky was able to transition to a second career as a motivational speaker and author.

~ baseballrebecca