Dickey uses picture book to teach children

Dickey uses picture book to teach children

TORONTO -- Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey recently published "Knuckleball Ned," an anti-bullying picture book with illustrations by Tim Bowers.

Dickey, the 39-year-old Blue Jays pitcher, says he is a strong supporter of children's literacy.

"Reading is something that can really teach a child how to relate to characters and people," he said. "I'm a huge proponent of reading to kids."

The children's story revolves around Ned, a nervous baseball on his first day of school. Everyone seems to know where they belong, except Ned. He isn't a fastball or a slider, and the Foul Ball gang makes fun of him for the way he wobbles. When they bully another student, it's up to Ned to come to the rescue. Not only does Ned realize he is a knuckleball, but he discovers that he can be a hero.

Known for being a bookworm, Dickey, who won a National League Cy Young Award in 2012, studied English at the University of Tennessee and often reads in the clubhouse and bullpen. He is also the bestselling author of his memoirs "Wherever I Wind Up" and its adaptation for young readers, "Throwing Strikes."

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.