Jamie Moyer Keeps the Aspidistra Flying
From 1998 to 2002 I wrote the Seattle Mariners player profiles for The Grand Salami, an alternative (which is to say: good) program and scorecard sold outside Safeco Field. Here's what I said about a 38-year-old Jamie Moyer for the June 2001 issue:
Jamie Moyer (50)
Position: Starting pitcher
Height: 6'0,“ Weight: 175
Throws: Left, Bats: Left
Born: 11-18-62 in Sellersville, PA
Signed thru: 2002 season
Family: wife, Karen, and four children: Dillon, Hutton, Timoney, and Duffy
Major League Debut: June 16, 1986, with Chicago Cubs (victorious starting pitcher against the Phillies)
Acquired: from Boston, in exchange for Darren Bragg (July 30, 1996)
Quote: ”My job is to get another ground ball and get out of the inning."
When Jamie Moyer wins his 10th game this season he'll pass Mark Langston for second on the all-time Mariners win list with 75. If there's one thing Jamie Moyer knows how to do, it's win ballgames. Since he arrived in our evergreen state in the middle of the 1996 season he's gone 6-2, 17-5, 15-9, 14-8, and 13-10. Even this season, with his strikeout-walk ratio a not-so-hot 23-14, and his ERA an unhealthy 5.28, and the ball flying out of the yard at an alarming rate (11 dingers in 44+ innings pitched), he's still standing tall at 6-1. Which is fine, but we fear some of the other numbers might catch up to him. Has he healed completely from his shoulder injury last April? Is it age? He still worries us. As for becoming the winningest pitcher in Mariner history, well, that'll take some work yet: RJ holds the mark with 130.
Is-it-age. I've got my nerve.
Jamie won 20 that year and 21 two years later. By the time the M's traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies in August 2006 (for Andrew Barb and Andy Baldwin: Thank you, Bill Bavasi!), he'd set the team record for wins with 145, innings pitched with 2,093 and games started with 323. He was second in strikeouts to Randy (he's now third, after Felix), with the lowest walks-per-9-innings-pitched ratio: 2.25. That holds.
Jamie holds. He just won a game for the Colorado Rockies at the age of 49. He's the oldest pitcher to ever win a Major League baseball game.
Forty-nine. That's my age. He's actually two months older than me. Stunning. I've got no words.
Well, I've got these words: Keep the Aspidistra flying. That's a novel by George Orwell, describing an Asian flowering plant, but it might as well describe Jamie Moyer's fluttering, floating change-up.
I should add: I have a friend who's familiar with a lot of the players that have come through the Seattle Mariners locker room, and she's says most of those players are what you'd expect from highly skilled and pampered professional athletes. But two, she says, are class acts and gentlemen: Raul Ibanez and Jamie Moyer. Both are still in there.
Keep the aspidistra flying, Jamie.