Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Can there be 42 more wins for Jamie Moyer?

On June 16, 1986, the Cubs were facing the Phillies at Wrigley Field. Both teams were hopelessly behind the Mets. The Phillies started Steve Carlton that day, whose brilliant Hall of Fame career was winding down. Future Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Ryne Sandberg also played in that game. So did some big names from the 1970s like Davey Lopes and Kent Tekulve.

And pitching for the Cubs that day was a rookie making his big league debut. He won the game, beating Carlton, letting up 4 runs in 6 1/3 innings.

That pitcher is now in Philadelphia and still pitching... in fact Jamie Moyer won the 5th starter's job for the Phillies going into the 2010 season... and guess what? When all is said and done, HE could be a Hall of Famer!

He will be pitching in his 4th decade (yes, I am counting this as a new decade.) In his first six seasons in the bigs, he played for three different teams, went 34-54 with an ERA in the high 4's. He spent all of 1992 in the minor leagues. I bet if you told him then that he would still be pitching in the bigs in 2010... well he probably would have thought you were either crazy or wondered how you bent the rules of time and space.

But here he is... all of these years later... still pitching. Thanks to a truly rotten trade by the Red Sox, Moyer settled into a groove in Seattle and pitched for 10 1/2 seasons. And now has spent the past 3 1/2 seasons in Philly.

He has a World Series ring with the 2008 Phillies, a pair of top 5 Cy Young finishes and one more top 10 finish, pitched in the 2003 All Star Game and along the way earned 10s of millions of dollars.

You'd think that would be enough. But folks... he's pitching on arguably the best team in the National League. In two of the last three years his ERA has soared to nearly 5 but his win totals remained in double digits.

He is currently sitting on 258 wins.

Imagine if he wins 12 this year, which isn't out of the question.
And then he wins 11 the year afterwards.

Are you seeing where I am taking this?

Let's say he has 4 mediocre seasons with high win totals. If over the next 4 seasons, get wins 10 or 11 each year...

He'd get 300 wins, and we're talking first ballot Hall of Famer.

Does he have it in him? He'll be 47 this season, so I am talking about pitching into his 50s.

But can he do it? He's not a power pitcher. In his prime, his pitches couldn't destroy a spider web.

He has the NL's best lineup hitting behind him and he'll be starting every fifth day.

Basically Jamie Moyer is to pitching what Harold Baines was to batting.
Harold had a nice but hardly eye popping career. But as I wrote before, if he got 7 more hits a year, he would have cleared 3,000 and been Hall of Fame bound.

Moyer doesn't have a shot without 300. But NOT reaching 300 is the only thing keeping Bert Blyleven out.

And the idea of Jamie Moyer being a Hall of Famer while an ace and a post season stud like Jack Morris is kept out is mildly insane.

But I like insanity. So count me in to wanting to see Jamie Moyer get 42 more wins in his career.

How can you not root for a man who career stretches from playing Ron Cey to playing with Cole Hamels?

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  1. Anonymous7:28 AM

    Andy Pettitte has an outside shot also,actually a better shot, with that team he pitches for.

  2. Anonymous7:50 AM

    Please don't add more fuel to the "300 wins means you are a first ballot Hall of Famer" debate. Wins are utterly meaningless in this era of the game, and should Moyer reached that hallowed ground, he is still not a Hall of Famer.

  3. I hear where you are coming from Anonymous reader about 300 wins. I wrote the piece on Bert Blyleven and the lunacy that his being 13 wins shy of 300 is keeping him out of the Hall.

    And of course wins are not always a barometer of pitching well. Harvey Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings before letting up a run in the 13th and got the loss. Mitch Williams blew two saves in the 1993 NLCS and got wins for both games as the Phils scored in extra innings.

    But I also don't think wins can be completely thrown in the dumpster. A high win total mixed with innings pitched, effective ERA, low on base percentage against and coming up big in big games all need to be factored into it.

    For the record, I personally don't think Jamie Moyer is a Hall of Famer. I also don't think Harold Baines was a Hall of Famer either. But as I wrote, if he got 7 more hits a season, he would have had 3,000...

    And numbers like 300 wins and 3,000 hits tend to be reliable milestones for writers to punch a Hall of Fame ticket.

    I guess in some way, this post was a smidge tongue in cheek. If Moyer stumbles to 300 wins, it would be an interesting litmus test for 300 wins being a Hall of Fame barometer.

    Also, I doubt Jamie Moyer will pitch much longer than this season. For Christsake, he's closer to 50 than he is to 40!

    But thanks for reading the blog, anonymous reader

  4. lieiam9:08 AM

    quite funny piece. i think it's awesome that moyer has managed the career he has. i agree with your previous comment that it would be an interesting litmus test for 300W=HOF. it might get him there eventually but certainly not first ballot... still, how cool would that be, jamie moyer getting 300 wins? hell, it's totally amazing to me he's over 250!

  5. Anonymous11:07 AM


    I'm so happy you wrote something about this. I've had this ongoing conversation with my roomie about this very thing for the past couple of years. I think it would be HILARIOUS if Moyer can hang around long enough to win 300. But while amusing to me, I would also find it to be quite amazing and even inspiring. While he doesn't fit the bill of the general rule for HOFers, if he manages to hang around long enough, pitch into his 50s, continue to pile up numbers, isn't that in and of itself quite an accomplishment? Wouldn't it be Hall of Fame worthy simply due to its' unique quality? I truly believe so. Jamie Moyer: Hall of Famer... HA!


  6. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Sully-- if Moyer wins 21 this year, and 21 next year then i say HoF, baby. But if he miraculously wins 14-14-14, can we just make the compelling Disney biopic starring Chris Cooper as Moyer, and Fred Willard as father-in-law Digger Phelps?

  7. Anonymous1:42 PM

    Sully - I am the second "Anonymous" that spoke about the wins. Glad you see it that way. While wins can be an indicator, you're right that innings pitched, ERA, ERA+, K:BB ratio are all much better indicators to how good a pitcher is.

    And for the record, Blyleven is a Hall of Famer. No doubt.

  8. I'm of the opinion that there are various types of HoF'rs from the no need to think about it Ruth's & Mays to the Veteran's Committee selection that we sometimes struggle to accept as belonging with the very best of the best. There is room in the HoF for guys with relatively short careers of extremely high quality and there is also room for players with very long careers of lesser quality. A Don Sutton is not asked to meet the same quality standard of a Koufax since he contributed a lot more innings. Wins while an imperfect stat and subject to small sample anomalies from year to year tend to reflect some level of quality over the course of a career. If Moyer manages to win 300 or more games I will not argue too strongly against his selection. However, is he finishes with 287 he will pale significantly in comparison to others in that range who are not yet enshrined (Blyleven, Kaat, and John).

    As to his chances, I wouldn't bet heavily on it. If Moyer does win those next 42 games it will be as much an argument for enshrining Howard, Utley, Werth, Rollins, etc as it is for Moyer.

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