A Tribute to Jamie Moyer: Life Begins After 30
Saturday December 10, 2011
Doug Booth- Guest Baseball Writer: In May of 1993, Jamie Moyer had spent the previous year entirely in the Minor Leagues with the Detroit Tigers and wondered if his signing with Baltimore Orioles in the offseason was a mistake. At that point in his career Moyer had posted a career won-loss record of 34-54 (.405) with the Cubs, Rangers and Cardinals. He was a soft-tossing Left Handed Pitcher who struggled with giving up home runs. Jamie was called up May.30/1993 by the O’s and began to pitch himself into respectability the next 3 seasons with Baltimore-achieving a 25-22 record. Baltimore was a contending team in the American League and thought Moyer was not going to help them with a championship bid the following year so they released him after the 1995 season. Boston signed him for the 1996 season. Moyer started out in the bullpen 7-1 that year and was later traded to the Mariners for Darren Bragg. It would be a trade that would give Jamie a new lease on life.
The Seattle Mariners were a powerhouse team back then with the likes of Ken Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and a young phenom SS in Alex Rodriguez. The team had plenty of offense and just enough defense to help Moyer go 6-2 the rest of the 1996 season-to help his record to 13-3 overall that year which led the Major Leagues for winning percentage (.813). Moyer was a perfect complimentary pitcher to Randy Johnson went it came to style contrast. Johnson threw in the mid-nineties and buttered up the opposition-and Moyer was the perfect change of pace with crafty off-speed tossing. In 1997, Jamie Moyer went 17-5 with a respectable 3.86 ERA, that was not bad considering the Mariners played at an offence friendly Kingdome for half of the time. The next three years Jamie still went 42-27, but his ERA had crept up to 5.49 in 2000, which was more than a run and a half higher during his Mariners career. Jamie Moyer had still proved his critics wrong with his career renaissance. He was turning 38 in that offseason. The Mariners had moved into Safeco Field despite losing star players of Ken Griffey, Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez in consecutive years. The team looked to be in transition. Jamie still wanted to pitch and began training harder than ever.
The 2001 season was historical for the Mariners from start to finish. Playing in front of capacity crowds at Safeco Field the Mariners played inspired baseball. Right in the middle of the team’s incredible year was Rookie of the Year and MVP Ichiro Suzuki. His injection of youth and helped the Mariners finish the season with a record tying 116 wins. In those wins, Jamie finished the year 20-6. It was Jamie’s first 20 win season. Jamie lowered his ERA all the way down to 3.43 that year-which was one of his best ERA’s of his career. The Mariners lost out in the ALCS to the Yankees but Jamie Moyer had pitched the best year of his career. Jamie finished 4th in Cy Young voting. Despite lowering his ERA to a career best 3.32 at that time, Jamie finished 14-8 in 2002. In 2003, and at the incredible age of 40, Jamie went 21-7 with a career single season best 3.27 ERA. Jamie was named to his only ALL-STAR appearance and finished in the top five of Cy Young voting once again.
In 2004, the Mariners had replaced Lou Piniella and had begun the downward spiral to the bottom of the AL WEST. Jamie was a gamer but sported a 7-13 record with an ERA of over 5 again. It looked like he was hanging on to his career by a thread again. Not even the comforts of Safeco Field were providing enough shelter for his game. Jamie had given up 44 home runs in 2004 which had led the American League. The team was not competitive in 2005 but Jamie bounced back with a 13-7 record and a 4.28 ERA. Jamie had worked several games with Catcher Pat Borders (1992 World Series MVP.) Each time the two 42 year olds would be the pitcher catcher tandem they set a record for the oldest pair. This exact tandem was the pitcher and catcher when I attended my first game in the United States at Safeco Field in June of 2005. In 2006, Jamie started the year 6-12 despite pitching well, (His ERA was back down to 4.39,) that is when the Philadelphia Phillies picked him up for the playoffs that year. Jamie left the Mariners as the franchise’s all-time winner at 145-87 (.625)
Over the next five years, Jamie continued to amaze the doubters by posting a 56-40 record (.583). At the age of 45, Jamie Moyer played the most pivotal of roles-with series saving performances in the 2008 playoffs en-route to the Phillies winning the World Series. It was a culmination of a career for the man. Jamie pitched okay in 2009, and saved some of his better performances for later in the season coming out of the bullpen-before suffering some torn muscles in his left arm that ended his season. 2010 saw Jamie post a respectable record of 9-9 before he was injured for the rest of the year just after the All-Star Break. Jamie tried to pitch in the Dominican Winter Leagues that fall but he tore up some more pitching muscles. Jamie Moyer needed Tommy John surgery at the age of 48. Jamie still plans on making a comeback in 2012 at the age of 49. Even if he doesn’t catch on with a team-his longevity and record is quite remarkable.
Jamie Moyer Key Stats
Started his career 34-54 before age 30 (.405) and then went 233-150 for the remainder of his career for a .608 winning percentage. His career record is currently 267-204 is still at a .567 winning percentage. His 233 wins after the age of 30 trail only #1 Phil Niekro (297 wins) and #2 Warren Spahn (273 wins) all time in MLB history but Jamie had a better winning percentage than both of them after age 30 at .608-to Spahn’s .594 and Niekro’s .540. Jamie was one of the top 2 winning pitchers from 2001-2010 decade with a record of 140-94 (.594), only Randy Johnson with 143 wins in the decade had more…rounding out that top 5 were: Roy Halladay with 139. Andy Pettitte had 138, Roy Oswalt and Tim Hudson had 138. Jamie also compiled a record of 103-70 (.595) after the age of 40. Jamie Moyer has thrown 4020 innings and struck out 2405 batters despite a fastball that ranged from 82-89 MPH in his career.
Will Jamie Moyer receive Baseball Hall of Fame consideration? He will garner some votes as his career is very similar to Tommy John. It is unfortunate the man could not achieve 300 wins in his career with such a slow start-but there is no denying that he should receive “The Most Unlikely to Have Such a Great Career Award.” He is a classy professional and is an even better human off the field, with running his Moyer Foundations all across the country. Jamie has touched countless people and is a great role model for all of those athletes who might feel like giving up. Kudos for having a great second half to your career Jamie Moyer!!
*** Thank you to our Guest Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for joining us today on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com***
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Posted on December 10, 2011, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged alex rodriguez, baseball, darren bragg, edgar martinez, ichiro suzuki, jamie moyer, jay buhner, ken griffey jr, lou piniella, mlb, orioles, phil niekro, randy johnson, red sox, tigers, warren spahn. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.
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