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Dave Dravecky


Following graduation from Youngstown State University in 1978, Dave Dravecky was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 21st round. Dave played Double-A ball in Buffalo and Amarillo and was called to the majors by the San Diego Padres in 1982.

Dave pitched for the Padres during the 1984 National League championships and the World Series. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants in 1987, where he again pitched in the National League championships. His 5-0 opening day victory over the Dodgers in the spring of 1988 was overshadowed that fall by the discovery of a desmoid tumor and the removal of half the deltoid muscle in his pitching arm.

In August 1989, following months of rehabilitation, and against impossible odds, Dave pitched the Giants to a 4-3 win over Cincinnati. His triumphant return to the mound was the subject of his first book, Comeback. While pitching against Montreal a week later, Dave's left arm snapped with a deafening crack that could be heard in the stands. It broke a second time in October when Dave joined his teammates on the field to celebrate their National League victory. The cancer had returned and forced Dave's retirement from professional baseball in November 1989.

Dave underwent further surgery and radiation in 1990. During 1991 he was bedridden and experienced incessant pain caused by a severe staph infection. Finally that June, the drastic amputation of Dave's left arm, shoulder blade and left side of his collarbone was performed. Through an incredible odyssey of physical and emotional pain, Dave and his wife, Jan, experienced the heights and depths of joy and despair, faith and doubt and intimacy and aloneness. Their story, chronicled in the book, When You Can't Come Back, has been a powerful source of encouragement to readers of every age and background.

Because of the overwhelming response to their story, Dave and Jan established Dave Dravecky's Outreach of Hope (formerly the Dave Dravecky Foundation), a non-profit organization which provides hope to those whose lives have been devastated by cancer, amputation, depression or other adversity.

Dave is in great demand as a speaker, addressing a wide variety of audiences across the country. His messages range from motivational to inspirational to evangelical. Through his experience, he addresses loss and suffering, faith, encouragement and hope, reaching out to others and saying goodbye to the past.

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