PHILADELPHIA – Maybe it’s the water.
Jamie Moyer, who is 45 and was born about an hour up the road from here in the borough of Sellersville, will become the second-oldest player to pitch in the World Series when he winds up today for the Phillies.
Jack Quinn, who holds the distinction of being the oldest Series pitcher by participating in the 1930 edition at age 47, is buried in Pottsville, a city in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country.
The two pitchers hail from the same approximate region and are separated by decades, closing in on a century. But age is age, and Moyer understands the wonderment of it all, of older men playing a younger man’s sport.
Think of it this way: Evan Longoria, who will step to the plate as the fourth hitter for the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 3 of the deadlocked Series, was 8 months old when Moyer threw his first pitch for the Chicago Cubs in 1986.
Davey Lopes, the first-base coach for the Phillies, was the Cubs’ leadoff hitter the day Moyer made his debut.
“It’s kind of weird to think about it,” Moyer said. “But back a few years ago, when I played in Texas, I had two teammates – Nolan Ryan and Charlie Hough – that were in their 40s, and I really looked up to them and respected who they were. And now I’ve kind of come full circle with it.”
If it is readily accepted that wine improves with age, consider Moyer.
His record at age 33, after his first 10 seasons in the majors, was 72-79.
His record since: 174-106. Many of those seasons (1996-2006) were with the Seattle Mariners.
He has won at least 20 games twice since he was 38, owns a record of 16-7 this season and with a career mark of 246-185 is a borderline candidate to make the Hall of Fame.
Moyer relies on pinpoint accuracy and delivers a fastball that barely breaks paper.
“The dream was always there,” Moyer said while recalling his boyhood. “It was always, ‘You’re too small.’ I was always told the thing that I couldn’t do. But, for me, it kind of fueled the fire, not knowing where it would take me.”
Still, there is a chance Mother Nature could intervene.
Rain is in the forecast, leading to the possibility of a postponement, and Manuel said the coaching staff would discuss the rotation if Game 3 is not played today. That might mean Moyer’s start could be scratched.
But Moyer doesn’t worry about those things.
He is preparing as if all systems are go.
“This is the biggest start of my life,” Moyer said.
“It’s been a long wait. I’m trying to enjoy this. I’m trying to take it all in, trying to realize where I am. It’s a special time.”
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