History was made last night in Denver, Colorado as Jamie Moyer pitched himself into the Major League Baseball record books. Moyer is the oldest active player in baseball at 49 years and 150 days old and last evening he stayed up past his bedtime to throw 7 effective innings to earn a 5-3 win for the Colorado Rockies over the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. At 49 years and 150 days, Moyer surpassed the previous record for oldest pitcher to win a game formerly held by Jack Quinn of the Brooklyn Dodgers who beat the St. Louis Cardinals at 49 years and 70 days old. The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York has already asked for some sort of memorabilia from Moyer to commemorate his record setting night, but to me that is not even the coolest item of note from the evening. In my opinion at least, the most interesting thing that came from last night is that the pitcher he beat, right-hander Anthony Bass out of Wayne State University, was not even born yet when Jamie Moyer made his Major League debut on June 16, 1986. Bass was born on November 1, 1987 so he wasn’t even on earth for seven of Moyer’s wins and for his first complete game shutout that he picked up on August 16, 1986.
Jamie Moyer has had an incredibly long and honorable career in the sport of baseball. Since his debut in June 1986, he has amassed over 22 years of MLB Service Time, compiled a record of 286-206, made one all-star team (2003), won one world series (2008) and earned numerous awards for philanthropy and community service (2003 Roberto Clemente Award, 2003 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, 2003 Hutch Award, and 2004 Branch Rickey Award). In the process he also became one of only 29 players in baseball history to appear in Major League games in four different decades. Over the course of his career he has attained a very respectable 4.23 earned run average over the 25 Major League seasons he’s been a part of and according to Elias Sports Bureau, Moyer has faced 8% of all the hitters to ever play in the MLB. Let me repeat, Moyer has faced 8% of ALL hitters to ever play the highest level of professional baseball in the United States. He is also the winningest pitcher in Seattle Mariners history, winning 145 games and throwing 2093 innings for the M’s franchise between 1996 and 2006.
My greatest memories of Jamie Moyer happened in 1996 while he was pitching for the Boston Red Sox. Moyer appeared in 23 games for the Sox, making 10 starts and going 7-1 with a 4.50 ERA for manager Kevin Kennedy. He has never been a pitcher with overpowering stuff, but he has managed to be economical and efficient and throughout his career which has led to outstanding durability. If you had asked me back then if Jamie Moyer would still be playing professional baseball today, 16 years later, I would have called you crazy, and I have to assume that Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette was thinking along the same lines when he traded Moyer for outfielder Darren Bragg on July 30, 1996. Bragg did go on to excel in centerfield for the Sox throughout the 1996 and 1997 seasons, but then fell into a platoon role with Darren Lewis and Damon Buford in the Sox outfield before being released by the team. Meanwhile, Moyer was tearing the American League western division on his way to becoming Seattle’s leader in starts, wins, and innings pitched. Looking back on that trade, Duquette may want a do-over.
Jamie Moyer is now the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball history to ever win a game and every time he takes the hill from now on he has a chance to tack on additional days to his record. It took almost 80 years for previous record holder Jack Quinn to fall victim to the ever dependable Jamie Moyer, and it might be another 80 years until we see another pitcher approaching 50 years old still slinging it at such a high level. Who knows, maybe Moyer will become the first pitcher to win while in his 50s, he reaches that milestone this November. As shown by his win last night he still has a bit left in the tank, and defeating pitchers who is twice as old is no longer an obstacle. Whether or not Moyer ever even steps foot on the mound again he says his most meaningful accomplishment is Camp Erin, a nation wide network of bereavement camps for children and teens grieving with the loss of someone close to them, started by Moyer and his wife Karen. For that, and everything else that Moyer has accomplished both on and off the diamond, today he deserves a round of applause and recognition for an incredible career.