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By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor - Archive - Email
Moyer keeps chugging along at 49
Jamie Moyer is older than eight active managers and 16 general managers.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Admit it. When you heard Jamie Moyer was going to attempt a comeback after missing a year recovering from Tommy John surgery at the age 49, you snickered.

At the very least, you wondered why in the world he would even attempt such a thing. I know I did. We were not talking about a 26-year-old Joba Chamberlain here, we were talking about a guy in Moyer, whose first major league win came 26 years ago against Steve Carlton!

It was absurd to think he could come back, especially because he hadn't won a game since June 27, 2010. It was even more bizarre that he would even attempt to return when someone his age hadn't even toed the rubber since 1972.

Moyer, though, looked at the surgery as a second lease on life, almost as if he had a new arm. He was given a chance by the Colorado Rockies this winter and as a non-roster invitee, Moyer earned a spot in the Rockies' rotation this spring by going 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 18 Cactus League innings against a lot of players who weren't even born when he began his big league career in 1986.

In fact, Moyer, who was born on Nov. 18, 1962, is older than eight active managers and 16 general managers.

"I believe I can do this," Moyer said this spring. "Now, after having the surgery, it's kind of like proving something to myself. I have a new arm. It's like when you buy something new. It's that kind of feeling. I had a new arm."

After two losses to start the season, the comeback came full circle on Tuesday as Moyer became the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win a game when he beat the San Diego Padres, 5-3, at Coors Field.

"I didn't think about this day because I thought it would be unfair to my teammates and the game," Moyer said. "To me, it was more important that I won for this team."

Moyer through the Decades
1980s - 32-43, 4.48 (Debuted on 6/16/86)
1990s - 86-58, 4.09
2000s - 140-94, 4.23
2010-present - 10-11, 4.52

*His 268 career wins are tied with Hall of Famer Jim Palmer for 34th on the all-time victory list.

Moyer did not allow an earned run in his seven innings of work on Tuesday, and none of his 89 pitches exceeded 79 mph. But when it was all said and done at 49 years, 150 days, he had eclipsed Jack Quinn of the Brooklyn Dodgers by 80 days as the oldest winning pitcher in history.

"I kind of wish I was a baseball historian, and I am a little embarrassed that I don't know more about it," Moyer said. "To have my name mentioned with the greats of the past is special."

The best part of this story is while yes it does seem like a bit of a sideshow act, Moyer has been the Rockies' best starter since the day he arrived in camp. He may not have won his first two starts, but he's also been the victim of some bad luck, as five of the 10 runs he has allowed this season are unearned.

Amazingly, Moyer has a lower ERA since turning 40 (4.40) than when he was in his 20s (4.56). He's won 104 games since the beginning of his age-40 season, which was way back in 2003. In case you were wondering, he's still 17 wins behind Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, who won 121 games from that point forward.

"I can't even imagine playing that long," said outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who hadn't even turned one when Moyer picked up his first win. "It's amazing."

Moyer will turn 50 on Nov. 18. A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but is there anyone out there willing to bet against him getting a win at some point next year?

"To me, the age thing is just a number," Moyer said. "Life goes on. I'm going to make the best of every day I have here. I think I'll know inside when the time comes. But for right now I feel pretty darn good. I'm pretty happy with where I am."

We always hear debates about the unbreakable records. Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, Cal Ripken's Iron Man feat, Johnny VanderMeer's back-to-back no-hitters, Cy Young's 511 victories. Or his 316 losses, for that matter.

It might be time to include winning a game at the age of 49 in that list.


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