An all star in 1983, Dravecky pitched for eight years in the big leagues before cancer in his pitching arm ended his career. He came up with the San Diego Padres in 1982 and was effective as both a starter and a reliever. He started all 28 games he pitched in the following year, going 14-10 with a 3.58 ERA and making the National League All-Star team. Dravecky was 9-8 with eight saves the next year for the Padres. He made 14 starts and also finished 17 games that season while posting a 2.93 ERA. He won 13 games the next year while working primarily as a starter. San Diego traded him to the San Francisco Giants in the middle of the 1987 season and he remained there for the remainder of his career. He finished with a 64-57 career mark.
Dravecky was diagnosed with cancer in his pitching arm in 1988. He returned to the mound for the Giants on August 10, 1989, pitching eight innings to beat the Cincinnati Reds. He made one more start for San Francisco, against the Montreal Expos. In the sixth inning of that game his arm snapped while throwing a pitch to Tim Raines. This would be the last pitch Dravecky would throw in the majors. He broke his arm again celebrating the Giants’ win over the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS and further examination of his arm revealed the cancer had returned. Two years later, Dravecky’s arm was amputated at the shoulder.
Dravecky pitched in two World Series games for the Padres against the Detroit Tigers in 1984, throwing 4.2 shutout innings. San Diego, however, lost the series in five games.
Following his career, Dravecky became a motivational speaker. You can learn more about the work he and his wife do here.
Dave Dravecky – career stats