Jamie Moyer’s story began as somewhat of a novelty. He was a 49-year-old pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery who was invited to Colorado Rockies spring training and that in itself seemed like the feat. Then the story grew as it appeared he would make the club and he did just that, joining a young rotation around him.
Moyer made history Tuesday night when he beat the San Diego Padres to become the oldest winning pitcher in the history of the game. Now that it’s over, he hopes that perhaps the novelty of his age can wear off a bit because that’s not why he returned. He’s hoping to help the Rockies, who have been inconsistent to start the season, become a better team.
Jamie Moyer joined KKFN in Denver with Scott and Drew to discuss setting the record for being the oldest starting pitcher to win a game in league history, why records aren’t why he returned to the game, his success being proof that you don’t have to be the most athletic player on the field, winning the record-setting game with a 23-year-old catcher as his battery mate, being asked to leave the game and coach 20 years ago, this year’s Rockies team and its chances to contend, and facing 8.9 percent of the MLB hitters to have ever played.
Has it sunk in a little bit?:
“It was a pretty short night. I don’t know if anything has really sunk in. I spent some time with my family. Actually we had a little birthday party for one of our adopted children late last night. … We had a little cake and ice cream last night and the turnaround was pretty quick.”
On why he didn’t simply continue pitching so he could set the record:
“I’ve always been a baseball player and having this opportunity to have a surgery in the advanced stages of surgeries and things like that, it’s prolonged many, many careers has Tommy John surgery. I felt like I was still contributing as a pitcher in 2010 when I got hurt. Not knowing where I would be in 2012, after surgery and rehab, I thought it would be a question I’d always be asking myself if I didn’t try it. I think I’ve answered some questions for myself. It’s all about contributing for a team.”
In a day of measuring guys physically and athletically, are you proving that teams have to look at more than that?:
“I’ve always been the guy on the short end of the stick when it comes to velocity or stuff, but it’s what you have in your heart, what you have in your belly, the fire that you have, the passion that you have. Being around younger players, we have a lot of young players on our team here in Colorado, but the one thing they’re missing is experience. The only way they can gain that is on-the-job training. If I can help them cut some corners, in the correct way, in the learning process … I just love it.”
On winning the game with 23-year-old catcher Wilin Rosario as his battery mate:
“Wilin has done a great job so far. In spring training we spent a lot of time talking. … Wilin has the ability to learn and wanting to work and work hard. I can see a lot of improvement. This kid has a lot to learn, but he’s willing and he’s able and he’s got a lot of talent, so it’s kind of easy to work with someone like that. … Before the game, we talked about the hitters and went over the Padre hitters and there were a couple that I didn’t know and a couple that he did know from past experience. He said, ‘Hey Papi, just stay with me, I’ve got it.’ It was really cool for him to express that to me.”
Twenty years ago the Cubs released you at age 29 and they wanted you to coach. Tell us about that story:
“They had a job in A-ball for me. I was 29 years old and just felt like I had something to contribute, just like this situation that we’re in right now. They really thought I should take the job and they said if I had a chance to sign with somebody, they’d give me that opportunity. I just felt, you know what, that would never happen in that type of situation. So I went home and continued to work out and something worked out with Toledo and I went there for the remainder of the season and had a decent year and became a free agent. … I got called up to the big leagues [the next year] and the rest was history.”
What’s your take on this Rockies team which has been up and down to start?:
“We haven’t created any consistency yet. As a starting rotation, I think we could be far better. I think the talent that we have has not shown its ability quite yet. Offensively, we’ve either done really well or we’ve struggled. I’m really surprised at the defense. I think this is a way better defensive team. What the reasoning is for our inconsistency with defense, I don’t know, but I think this will all get worked out. We are young, but you can only say that so many times. Pretty soon we’re not going to be young.”
What do you think about the statistic that you’ve pitched to 8.9 percent of the hitters in baseball all-time?:
“It seems like every day I go to the ballpark, somebody in the media brings up a stat. It’s pretty cool. It’s fun. Having longevity has created some of that, but when you think about it, for me especially, it’s pretty cool to have faced 8.9 percent of the hitters. … You have to have that opportunity and I’ve been very fortunate.”