Jamie Moyer might never make baseball’s Hall of Fame, but he has just made history, and could make even more. At 49, the former Mariner pillow tosser has become the oldest starting pitcher to land a spot on a major league roster, and now has a chance to overtake Brooklyn’s Jack Quinn (49 years, 74 days) as the oldest pitcher to win a major league game, a mark that has stood since 1932.
The Colorado Rockies said the left-handed Moyer, who pitched for Seattle from 1996 until his trade to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006, will make his first start April 8 against the Houston Astros. When Moyer makes it, he will be 49 years, 4 months and 21 days old.
Quinn won three games in 1932, the last coming Sept. 13, 1932 at the age of 49 years, 5 months, 26 days, which means Moyer could break that record with a victory after May 4. Quinn pitched strictly in relief in 1932 and 1933.
Moyer’s news came on the 20th anniversary of his March 30, 1992 release by the Chicago Cubs, and 26 years after he made his major league debut, June 16, 1986.
When Moyer made that debut for the Cubs, the opposing pitcher was Philadelphia’s Steve Carlton, who has now been in the Hall of Fame for 18 years (Moyer earned the win, Carlton took the loss).
Not only did Moyer make the Rockies’ rotation, he’ll be the club’s No. 2 starter, no less. He earned the spot by outpitching Guillermo Moscoso and Tyler Chatwood, his competition this spring for the final spot.
Moyer is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in four Cactus League appearances, including three starts. His best outing was March 22 — four perfect innings against the Giants.
Moyer will pitch Monday against the Mariners at Seattle’s spring training complex in Peoria, AZ.
Moyer, who missed the 2011 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, is 267-204 in his major league career. He has won 233 games since turning 30, sixth on the all-time list for a pitcher after his 30th birthday, two behind another former Mariner, Randy Johnson. Cy Young is the all-time leader with 316 wins after 30.
Moyer’s 103 wins since turning 40 are second-most in baseball history, 18 behind Hall of Famer Phil Niekro.
Moyer won 145 games during his tenure with the Mariners, most in franchise history (Johnson won 130). He won 56 games since his Aug. 19, 2006 trade by the Mariners to the Phillies that netted Seattle pitchers Andrew Barb and Andy Baldwin, neither of whom made it to the majors. Baldwin reached the AAA (Tacoma) level in Seattle’s system, but Barb never advanced above A ball.
If Moyer, who will become eligible for an AARP card Nov. 18, won those 56 games for Seattle instead of Philadelphia, would rank No. 2 in Mariners pitching wins over the past five years. This is what that list would look like:
- 1. Felix Hernandez, 69
- 2. Jamie Moyer, 56
- 3. Jarrod Washburn, 32
- 4. Miguel Batista, 27
- 5. Jason Vargas, 22
The Moyer news overshadowed word that Omar Vizquel, a Mariner from 1989-93, made the Toronto Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster. Vizquel, who turns 45 April 24, will become the oldest shortstop in major league history.
Vizquel will eclipse Bobby Wallace of the St. Louis Cardinals, who, according to STATS INC., was 44 years, 8 months, 22 days when he played his final game at shortstop Aug. 26, 1918.