What part of Slovakia did your ancestors come from?
All I know is that both grandparents came to America from Czechoslovakia. I have no idea when or where from, but I’d like to know. However, I know from my father that my grandfather had brothers, so probably part of our family still lives in your country.
Did you speak Slovak with your parents as a little boy?
No, but my father used to talk to my grandfather in Slovak when we stopped for supper with our grandparents after Mass on Sundays. We couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but Slovak sounded beautiful, we liked to listen.
Youngstown, where you were born, still has a large Slovak community.
Dedo Dravecký departed from Spiš. over the ocean
Dav Dravecký’s ancestors crossed the ocean from Spiš. Information about the former American baseball star’s origins was promptly provided to Pravda by Miroslav and Jaroslav Dravecký, brothers who have been passionately researching their family for several years. They even reconstructed the family coat of arms.
“In April 2008, a certain George Dravecky, the youngest brother of Dave Dravecky, contacted us. He was pleasantly surprised that his brother’s baseball achievements were also listed on the website www.dravecky.org. He offered himself to gather information about his ancestors.From his father, Francis Georg Dravecký, he found out where his grandparents and Dave’s grandparents came from.Grandfather, Andrej Dravecký (in the US under the name Andrew Dravecky) was born in 1892 in the no longer existing village Dvorce na Spiš. He left for America at the age of 28 with his wife,” revealed Miroslav Dravecký.
In 1952 there were 312 inhabitants in the small village of Dvorce. At that time, the state power decided to establish an army training ground (Javorina Military District) in northeastern Slovakia. For this reason, three villages (Dvorce, Blažov, Ruskinovce) were liquidated and their inhabitants expelled.
Miroslav Dravecký added something interesting.
“We were also contacted by Dave and Georg Dravecký’s cousin, Frankie. He is in the US Army and is currently stationed in Germany.”
I can confirm that.
What do you know about Slovakia or Czechoslovakia?
Too few. Only that Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
What fascinated you about baseball?
I liked sports, competition. I was also interested in baseball because although it is a team sport, each individual’s individual performance had a big impact on the team’s result.
How did you end up in the professional MLB?
I started playing baseball as an eight-year-old boy, playing in high school and then college. Then I was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates professional team. I was traded to San Diego in 1981 and made my MLB debut for the Padres on June 15, 1982. From San Diego I went to San Francisco, where I worked until I had to retire from baseball because of cancer.
Today, top baseball players are among the highest paid athletes in the world. How much did players earn in your time?
Much less than players take these days (laughs). I will be honest. I earned very well. Though not as much as today’s baseball stars, I supported my family and saved something for a sports retirement.
Baseball was recently banned from the Olympic program mainly due to the non-participation of MLB players. Do you think he will return to the Olympics in the future?
It should certainly be done to increase the international creditworthiness of this sport. Well, I must confess that I would rather see amateur players than professionals at the Olympics. The Olympics are an event for amateur athletes.
Today, almost all athletes entering the Games are professionals.
Okay I understand. Perhaps in the future, MLB will change its attitude towards the Olympics, as NBA basketball once did, and professional baseball players will also be able to fight for gold for their country.
MLB baseball’s reputation has been tarnished by doping. The league’s big stars such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa have been accused of using illegal playing aids or have confessed to themselves. Was there doping in baseball in your time?
In my day, doping in baseball was not widespread. At least I didn’t notice that. I don’t think doping should be part of sport. If an athlete helps himself with something illegal, in my opinion he enters the thirteenth room and tarnishes the nobility of the sport. On the other hand, I don’t blame the baseball players who have admitted to doping in the past, because at the time, MLB didn’t even know the concept of a banned substance. However, if the players resort to doping even now, let them face the consequences.
You are currently working as a motivational speaker. Can you describe your profession?
I tell people my story. In churches, for various non-profit organizations or companies. My mission is to encourage and give confidence to people fighting cancer.
How often and where do you give lectures?
About thirty times a year, mostly in the US and Canada, but I’d like to come to Europe one day.
Do you think humanity will find a cure for cancer in the future?
I am an eternal optimist and I sincerely hope that we will succeed. Until then, I will share my story with people and give them hope. Cancer is a strong opponent, but with the help of God, who plays an important role in my life and story, we will try to overcome it.
Former American baseball player, pitcher. He was born on February 14, 1956 in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1982, he made his professional debut in MLB (Major league baseball), the following year he played in the All-Star Game. During his professional career, he switched two clubs – the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants. He had to retire from baseball in 1989 due to cancer (his left arm was amputated). He currently runs a charity. He is involved in the fight against cancer, he works as a Christian speaker and motivator.
Cancer took his dreaded left hand. Now he gives hope to others
He threw the ball out of his hand, screamed and fell to the ground in terrible pain. Fans at the Montreal Olympic Stadium looked on in horror at the lifeless body of the player with the number 43 on his shirt. Dave Dravecky knew in that moment that his beloved baseball was over.
In 1988, the pitcher of San Francisco Giants was in top form. He was even more afraid of the doctors’ diagnosis, who discovered a cancerous tumor in his left shoulder. Dravecky underwent surgery to remove half of the muscle from his shoulder and freeze the bone in an attempt to stop the cancer. What followed were weeks of rehab, training, three minor league games, and a pompous return to the MLB.
“We played Cincinnati on August 10 and even though it was a Thursday afternoon we had almost 35,000 fans in the stands. They were already chanting my name during the warm-up. I contributed to a 4-3 win and I enjoyed it,” the baseball player recalled in the Comeback book, which sold 650,000 copies.
Five days later, San Francisco faced the Expo in Montreal. “In the fifth inning I felt a strange itch in my left hand. My surgeon Dr. Muschler warned me not to pitch if I felt pain in my arm. The bones were still very fragile. But I ignored the itch and started the sixth. service. I focused on throwing Tim Raines. I think the crunch of my bones could be heard all over the stadium. I’ve never felt such pain,” Dravecky described.
The cancer was back. More operations followed, radiation, then there was only one option left. Amputation of the left hand. “I felt like I had lost a good friend. While I was playing baseball people would ask me about my lefty on a daily basis. What shape is it today? Is she ready to take down her opponent? She was for me what fingers are on hand for a pianist or legs for a marathon runner. Suddenly she was gone. All she was left with was phantom pain. A medical phenomenon experienced by people who have had their limbs amputated. It burned and hurt a lot.”
Dravecký survived a difficult period, mainly thanks to the support of his wife Jan and his strong faith. Then he began to give hope to others. He became an inspiration and an example to many people in the fight against cancer.
“When I was asked afterwards why I went back to baseball and took a risk, I said, I couldn’t just sit there. I wanted to pitch and be part of the Giants. I wanted to help them win,” the legendary player added. .