Now pitching for the Codgers…
On Tuesday night, the Pirates played the Colorado Rockies and pitcher Jamie Moyer. Of course, I remember Moyer from when he was a Cub… wait a minute, that was 26 years ago!! That’s right, this 49-year-old pitcher came up with Cubs and played with them for three seasons from 1986-1988. Since then, he has played for 8 teams and has never been an All-Star or anything close to the best pitcher on his team. Most old pitchers (like Phil Niekro or Gaylord Perry) have a specialty junk pitch like a knuckle ball or spitter, something that befuddles the hitters. Not Moyer. He just throws batting practice fast balls (65-80 mph) and a selection of four other equally slow pitches to keep opposing hitters off balance and maintain his mediocre ERA. I’d like to throw in a “He’s so old…” joke right here, but all of them are so awesome that they aren’t funny. For instance, He’s so old, five of the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates hadn’t made their debuts yet when Jamie was a rookie. See? Awesome, but not funny.
NOTE: Do we know that he is not a vampire? He looked in his early 30s during his rookie year. Now, at 49, he looks maybe 35. Does MLB test for vampirism along with steroids?
The Pirates won Tuesday’s game, but not until Jamie had been replaced by a relief pitcher in the late innings. This year, Jamie is already 1-2 with career-low ERA of 2.28.
Here are some fun facts about Jamie Moyer’s career:
- His MLB debut was against the Phillies’ pitcher Steve Carlton, who is now 67 and in the Hall of Fame.
- The week Jamie notched his first win, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off hit the movie theaters.
- Jamie has beaten four pitchers who were not yet born during his rookie year. Two hundred sixty-three current major leaguers weren’t born when he made his debut.
- Jamie pitched in 141 major league games before his current team, the Rockies, ever existed.
- Jamie is older than 8 current managers.
- Today, Jamie is older than all of the pitchers who were on the Rockies’ 1993 team.
- Jamie has faced more than 8% of all hitters who have ever played major league baseball.
- In 2010, Jamie Moyer blew out the ulnar collateral ligament of his pitching elbow. Game over, right? Nope, he chose to undergo Tommy John surgery at the age of 46, went through painful rehab during all of 2011, and is making his comeback this year.
- Jamie has pitched a shutout in four different decades.
- His ERA in his 40s (4.40) is better than his ERA in his 20s (4.56). In fact, in his mid-20s, the Cubs urged him to retire and pursue a minor league coaching career. The Cubs… SMH.
- Moyer got his 268th win earlier this month despite never cracking 80 mph.
- Moyer has given up the most home runs in MLB history (511).
- If he plays next year, Jamie would only be the sixth player in baseball history to play past the age of 50.
- In 2010, Jamie’s son Dillon was drafted by the Minnesota Twins. He currently plays for UC Irvine.
- And perhaps most amazing, Jamie is only 9 months younger than the Carpetbagger himself. And I was roommates with both Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb in college. Okay, maybe not, but I’m freakin’ old.
And if that’s not enough, while Jamie was a wide-eyed young Cub, he married a WGN intern who was also the daughter of then Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps. Today, they have 8 children (the two youngest were adopted from Guatemala) and they run the Moyer Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in severe distress.
Really!? A 50-year-old baseball pitcher who comes back from surgery and helps children in distress? Vampire or no, I think I have a man crush.