Jamie Moyer: MLB’s New Home Run King

by on June 30, 2010   5 Comments

On June 27th, an important record was set in Major League Baseball, and yet it wasn’t talked about nearly as much as it should have been.  It wasn’t a flashy record and it wasn’t set by an MLB superstar, but that doesn’t take away from its importance.

There is now a new “home run king” in baseball.  A record that had stood for more than 50 years was finally broken.

On the night of June 27th, 2010 at an “away” game in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park with the Toronto Blue Jays in town, Jamie Moyer served up a two-run jack to Vernon Wells, and with that homerun, Moyer became the new “king.”  It was the 506th homer served up during a 24-year career of the 47-year old southpaw, breaking the record held by Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts.

On the surface, it may not sound like a good thing — 506 home runs is a lot of baseballs lost to the outfield seats.  Moyer has given up more home runs than most players will ever hit in their careers.  Only 25 batters have ever hit 500 homeruns, yet only two pitchers have ever given up 500 home runs

This record is a positive, though it may seem negative.  In order to serve up that many long balls, a pitcher has to not only survive in the major leagues for a long, long time, but must pitch well enough for a manager to hand him the ball every fifth day of the season.  Very few players play as long, and as well, as Moyer has throughout the years.

This is a record that should be celebrated, and Moyer should be happy to have his name attached to this.  Although there isn’t a single long ball he liked giving up, it’s part of the game.  Moyer has given up just 1.1 home runs per 9 innings through his career, a very solid ratio.  This record should be embraced, and people unfamiliar with Moyer and his career should take notice.  This is history.  With every start Moyer makes, it seems history is being made this season.  4,000 innings pitched.  276 (and counting) games won.  Complete games.  Record homers.  Fastballs that look like change ups.  Change ups that look like they’re in slow motion.  A wily veteran, feasting on players who weren’t even born when he started his career, and making them look silly more often than not.  Take notice, because this is rare.

On top of his new record, Moyer has quietly been enjoying one of the better seasons of his career.  A lefty who barely touches 82 mph on the radar gun, Moyer has lasted 6 or more innings in 13 of his 15 starts this season, putting up eight “quality starts” (six or more innings pitched, three or fewer earned runs given up), and hurling a phenomenal two hitter against the Braves on May 7th.  He is 9-6 with a somewhat bloated 4.30 earned run average, has given up just 17 walks through 96.1 innings (1.6 BB/9), and has a phenomenal 1.048 WHIP this season.

If Moyer continues to pitch like this, there is no reason to believe he can’t continue to do what he’s done for another few years.  And if he does, he could push that newly acquired record of his way out of reach of any younger pitcher eyeing that stat.  And just maybe, if he gets a few more years worth of at bats, Moyer could even finally hit a home run of his own, seemingly the only thing he hasn’t done in his career.  After giving up so many, he deserves a slow trot around the bases for himself to see what it’s like, right?

Author: Matt Pennington
Categories: Major League Baseball (MLB)
Tags: , ,

5 Comments »

  1. The ridiculous “Moyer is a HOF’er” talk cannot end quick enough for me.

    Congrats to the guy for a long career, but even if he gets to 300 wins he is 100% not a Hall of Famer.

    Comment by Mac
    June 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm

  2. It’s not really that ridiculous, though. It depends on how you view what constitutes a hall of famer. Does the player have to be dominant over the course of his career or can a player who is just plain ol’ good for a ridiculously long time be considered for the hall of fame? What’s more impressive: a player who hits .300 with 45 HRs and 130 RBIs for 8 seasons, or a player who is good, but not dominant, for 20 or more years? I’m not saying that I think Moyer is a hall of famer, but it’s a valid argument. What he’s been able to do is unheard of, especially in this day and age. Keep in mind that he pitched through the entire “Steroid Era,” too. While other players several years younger than him have broken down due to alleged or admitted use of PEDs, Moyer is pitching nearly as good as he ever has in his 24th season in the bigs, and is showing no signs of slowing down.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    June 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm

  3. A career ERA over 4 and a career WHIP ~1.30, never dominant in strikeouts, never won a CY

    Even in his best season, a 21-win 2003, it could be argued that he wasn’t even the best pitcher on his own team.

    If he got in it would be because of one statistic alone, which in an of itself is the absolute most arbitrary to judge a pitcher on.

    I’m of the opinion that the Hall of Fame is for the best of the best. The guys that should be remembered for their greatness, their dominance.

    Jaime Moyer is/will be the epitome of a stat compiler and none of his stats are great. He is very, very good and it’s amazing he continues to be effective, but unless someone really knocks my socks off I cannot see a logical argument for him being a HOF’er.

    Again though, this is all opinion, which is what makes it fun!

    Comment by Mac
    June 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

  4. He’s never been a strikeout pitcher, he doesn’t throw heat, and he, in all likelihood, doesn’t have a shot at getting into Cooperstown. That shouldn’t, however, discredit what he’s done over his career. He’s had an interesting and impressive run, and he just keeps going. I thought he was done after 08, and done for sure after 09, but now I think he’s gonna keep going after this year. You just can’t count him out. And if he loves what he’s doing, which he seems to, and he’s still getting hitters half his age out, why not?

    On top of that, his influence on the young pitchers in the Phillies organization has been priceless. He’s taught Cole Hamels a lot, and I’m sure he’s impacted JA Happ and several other young guys on the team for the better.

    I mean, at age 27, he was told to hang it up and become a coach because that’s where his future was. And since then, he’s gone out and pitched for 20 years. That’s insane.

    I’m not saying that I think he’s a HOFer, but what he’s done is unheard of in this day and age, and more people should take notice.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    July 1, 2010 at 8:06 am

  5. Jamie Moyer’s story is pretty incredible. Dude is the David Eckstein of pitching. I don’t think he is a HOF’er, but then again, my standards for the HOF would be a lot higher than a lot of sportswriters, too, especially, for instance, on the DH, but that’s a different article/story. Thanks for keeping up on the site, btw, guys, I’ve been swamped, but I will get back at it soon.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    July 1, 2010 at 8:29 am

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