SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Curious Hypothetical of Jamie Moyer

Career record: 246-185.
Career ERA: 4.19.
All-star appearances: 1
Twenty-win Seasons: 2.
Games won after 44 years old: 30.

Right now, my browser isn't permitting me to create hyperlinks to Baseball Reference or the Phillies' website, but I want to posit the question nonetheless. Moyer needs 54 games to get to 300, and thus far if a pitcher has won 300 games in his career, he's made the Hall of Fame. Some pitchers (Early Wynn comes to mind) hung on forever to get number 300. Suppose Moyer pitches four more seasons (he'll be 46 this fall). Suppose he wins 56 games over that span, an average of 14 per year. That would get him to 302 wins, and his winning percentage is great. Assume he stays with the Phillies, who have a number of hitters in their prime and, right now, a good bullpen. According to Baseball Prospectus, Citizens Bank Park is the eighth best hitters' park in Major League Baseball. That's certainly a plus (even if the fact that Moyer's essentially a six-inning pitcher right now is probably a neutral at best).

Would he be a Hall of Famer?

On longevity, yes. On winning 300 games, yes. On pitching very effectively after turning 40, yes. But. . .

would you say that he was one of those guys who, perenially, you would say was part of the conversation in most years as one of the best at his position in his league? That's where, I think, a Moyer candidacy would get into trouble. Naturally, all of this is moot. Moyer would need to pitch four more years, and his contract is up now. He has seven children, and when he was traded to Philadelphia two years back one of his published laments was that the game kept him away from his family. Still, most players don't want to retire. They simply give up when they can no longer play; the game retires them. My guess is that the Phillies will re-sign Moyer to another two-year deal (perhaps with a club option for a third) at pretty good money, unless, perhaps, the team were to win the World Series. Then, somehow, I think that Jamie Moyer might elect to retire.

Curt Schilling was his usual frank self earlier in the season when he offered that he doubted he'd pitch again. A reporter asked him whether he thought he'd make the Hall of Fame, and he replied that he didn't care. That's a healthy attitude for a person to take in any profession. Do your best, and then good things should happen. Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer in my book because of his great regular-season performances and his almost unmatched post-season heroics. He was a significant part of any conversation as to who you wanted to pitch in a big game for most of the past 15 years. And, his numbers are compelling.

For many intangible reasons, Jamie Moyer is a Hall of Famer in my heart. His professionalism, his grit, his leadership and his compassion (he has been extremely kind to the boy about whom I blogged who was hit in the head by a rocket-like line drive off the bat of Jeremy Hermida in a game at Citizens Bank Park in August). Whether or not he makes it to Cooperstown is up to him and the electors, but better than being a Hall of Famer, Jamie Moyer is just a terrific teammate and guy to have on your team.

But deep down, I'm hoping he pitches until he's 50, wins 60 more games, and gives the Hall of Fame voters something to think long and hard about.