Jamie Moyer is my new favorite baseball player, and it has nothing to do with what he has accomplished on the field, though 250 career wins is pretty darn good.
I love what Jamie and his wife, Karen, have done with their foundation, creating a bereavement camp to help children cope with the loss of a loved one. In some cases, what a player does away from the stadium exceeds their impact on the field, and Camp Erin places Jamie and Karen in a Hall of Fame reserved for athletes whose best skill is their heart, and that’s a skill you can’t measure with a radar gun.
But here is what I really like about Moyer, the Philadelphia Phillies left-hander who lives in Bradenton and pitches tonight at Tropicana Field: He is older than me.
Hey, when you get to be a certain age, which I have, that’s huge. I think some of you might know what I mean.
Look at Moyer’s lengthy career stats and this is what jumps out at me: Nov. 18, 1962. That is the day Moyer was born. I followed 12 days later.
Hey, there, old timer.
Other than Moyer learning to master the game of baseball better than I, I’m thinking we had similar childhoods.
Tuesday nights meant “Happy Days” and “Welcome back, Kotter.” Saturday mornings meant “The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour.” Sunday nights meant “The Wonderful World of Disney.”
Baseball cards were meant to be flipped, and only Topps made baseball cards.
If you were any kind of an athlete, you wore Converse Chuck Taylors.
Remember Pepsi Light? I bet my boy Jamie does.
I’m sure Moyer can answer this question: What’s a Sweathog?
I’m almost sure Moyer, at one time in grade school, gave a friend an approving thumbs-up and added, “Ayyyyyyye,” just like the Fonz.
I heard a player on the Florida Marlins refer to the Yankee Stadium which closed last September as “old Yankee Stadium.” Moyer was 10 when the Yankees played their last game at the original “old” Yankee Stadium.
It’s real easy to feel real old around today’s players.
David Price, the Rays big deal rookie left-hander who opposes Moyer tonight, had yet to celebrate his fist birthday when Moyer made his major league debut for the Cubs on June 16, 1986.
Hey, Moyer’s old enough to have pitched at Wrigley Field before the ballpark had lights.
I remember the first time I looked at a roster of a pro team and spotted someone younger than me. I was 20. He was a 19-year-old hockey player. Up until then, pro players were men. In some cases, old men, like in their 30s.
When did they start being kids? Where was I when that news ticked across the teletype?
One day, you look at a roster and realize you are older than every player. Then you look at the birth dates of the coaches. Ouch.
But guys like me have Jamie Moyer. He’s 46 and still throwing. His next win ties him with Bob Gibson for 45th on the list of all-time career wins.
As Arnold Horshack would say, “Very impressive, Mr. Moyer.”
Here’s what I say:
Yo, Jamie, keep on truckin’.
Roger Mooney, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2112.