If you can remember when Jamie Moyer had his debut with the Cubs in September 1986 (and, by the way, beat Steve Carlton and the Phillies that day), this is a feel good story for sure. Coming off Tommy John surgery almost two years ago, he told everyone he would come back. Well, Jamie Moyer is now the oldest pitcher to both start and win a MLB game!
This season, at the age of 49, he has become the oldest player ever to make an opening day MLB roster. This spring, he was 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in five spring training appearances to earn a spot in the starting rotation for the Colorado Rockies. Amazingly, he’s just 17 months younger than the combined ages of the two pitchers he beat out for the rotation spot!
Jamie Moyer is one of the truly good guys in all of professional sports. He and his wife have eight children and they still dedicate time to run a free bereavement camp (known as Camp Erin) for parent-less kids and teens 6-17 in more than 40 cities. Moyer is entering his 25th major league season, and has now played for eight different clubs. He’s amassed 267 wins (ranked 35th all-time), winning 103 of those games since turning 40 (2nd all-time behind Phil Niekro’s 121). He’s also 16th all-time in games started (629).
With this return, he becomes the active MLB leader in wins, strikeouts, and innings pitched. In a rather modest but lengthy career, he’s been a two-time 20-game winner, a one-time All Star (2003), and has compiled a post-season record of 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA in 41-1/3 innings. Ever since being drafted in the 6th round by the Cubs 28 years ago out of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Jamie Moyer has given his all with an endearing competitive spirit………albeit never throwing with a velocity much above 80 mph.
On April 7th, he started on the bump for the Rockies against the Houston Astros becoming the second oldest pitcher ever to start an MLB game. Only Satchel Paige was older when he started for the KC Athletics on September 25, 1965. Moyer lasted five innings, threw 69 pitches (with only one pitch greater than 80 mph), and unfortunately got the loss. Oh yeah, he also gave up two homers………had to almost expect that since no one in baseball history has given up more gopher balls (513). Moyer remarked following the game, “it was a very good feeling to be where I’d been before, and a place I love being.” His second start on April 12th at Coor’s Field against the Giants faired a little better, but he got the loss again. This time he battled for 5-2/3 innings, surrendered eight hits, four runs (two earned), struck out three, walked one, and threw 112 pitches (74 for strikes). The age difference (26 years, 256 days) between Moyer and Giants’ lefty starter Madison Bumgarner was the third-largest since 1900.
Jamie Moyer knows all about adversity and coming back, so he just kept trying. In his third try on April 17th, against the Padres, Moyer picked up win No. 268, tying him with Hall of Famer Jim Palmer for 34th most wins all-time. It was a masterful 7-inning performance giving up six hits, 2 runs (both unearned), and coaxing the Padres to hit into three double-plays. He did it! With this win, Moyer also became the oldest pitcher to notch an MLB win (passing Jack Quinn with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932).
Moyer was released 20 years ago by the team that originally drafted him. Wouldn’t it be only fitting if he beats the Cubs in late August when the Rockies pay a visit to The Friendly Confines? It would be nice too if ALL employers realized that increased age isn’t necessarily a negative, all that really matters is hiring a professional with a true passion for what they do….like Jamie Moyer!
- Jamie Moyer leads baseball’s Ageless Wonders All-Stars (csmonitor.com)
Filed under: Pro Baseball
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