On his third try, Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a major league game.
Perhaps you heard or read that 49-year-old Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a game in the major leagues with the Colorado Rockies' 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres Tuesday night.
It was bound to happen eventually, given that Moyer won a spot in the Rockies' big league rotation out of spring training. Though Moyer lost his first two starts of the season, he pitched respectably, allowing a total of five earned runs in those games. Had the Rockies been able to score more than five total runs in support of him, he probably would've earned that win earlier.
But Moyer pitched well to get his 268th career major league win. He went seven innings, giving up two unearned runs (thanks to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki booting a double-play ball) and six hits.
Now that the mountain has been conquered, will another pitcher ever join him — or supplant him — on baseball's Mount Methuselah?
(Something important to note: That pitcher will have to be 49 years and 151 days old to top Moyer. Moyer surpassed Jack Quinn, who was 49 years and 70 days old.)
Here are five candidates who could be the next Jamie Moyer. Please add any suggestions in the comment section.
Livan Hernandez is pitching in his 17th major league season.
Does Hernandez have another 12 years in him? That seems unlikely as he hasn't been a quality starting pitcher since 2008, yet he's been able to hang around in the majors for four years since then.
Teams are always looking for veterans who can pitch a load of innings to fill the end of their pitching rotations. Hernandez is only two seasons removed from making 33 starts and pitching more than 200 innings for the Washington Nationals.
He probably would have filled that role with the Houston Astros this season had Jeff Luhnow not decided to go with youth. Pitching in long relief for the Atlanta Braves might actually extend his career by saving him some innings.
(Should we make the joke that Hernandez may already be 49 years old, having defected from Cuba? OK, maybe best not to go there.)
Despite an 0-2 record, Johan Santana has pitched well in his first three starts of 2012.
At first glance, this seems like the longest of long shots. At 33, Santana would have to pitch for 16 more years. He's only pitched 12 seasons in the majors.
But Santana has a rebuilt arm after shoulder surgery in 2010 and has pitched well in his first three starts this season. As a left-hander, he'll probably be able to find a job on a major league roster as long as he can get hitters out.
Plus, he's never depended on a blazing fastball to begin with. Santana's signature pitch is his changeup, much as it is with Moyer. As long as he can keep hitters off balance and throw off their timing with that pitch, he will remain successful.
Bruce Chen has won 24 games over the past two seasons.
As with Santana, Chen would have to pitch for more seasons than he already has on his major league resume to reach Moyer. He's in his 14th season, and at 34, he'd have to last 15 more years.
But Chen is the rare pitcher who seems to be getting better as he gets older. His last two seasons have arguably been the best of his career; also, he's doing this in the American League. As a lefty, he should continue to find regular employment in the majors. A return to the NL could stretch him out for a few more seasons.
Roy Halladay doesn't appear to be slowing down at age 34.
Like Chen, Halladay seems to get better with age. Part of that surely has to do with getting traded to the NL, which has rejuvenated him. Halladay wasn't really in need of rejuvenation to begin with, having been one of the best pitchers in the AL East with Toronto.
At age 34, Halladay is the ace of the Philadelphia Phillies' staff and looks like he's capable of pitching at an elite level for years to come. Obviously, that won't always be the case. But as a sinkerballer, he doesn't depend on pure heat to get hitters out. Eventually, he'll lose something and slide toward the back end of a rotation.
But as long as he continues to pitch to contact, Halladay can throw efficiently and save wear and tear on his arm. That increases his chances at longevity.
As a 41-year-old reliever, Darren Oliver has a chance to be pitching at 49.
OK, maybe this is cheating a bit. Oliver is a reliever, not a starting pitcher. But he's already past the 40-year mark, as he'll turn 42 years old this October. He only has seven more years to go!
We've already mentioned the longevity of left-handed pitchers in baseball, but Oliver is even more likely to stick around as a reliever. He'll only throw 60 or so innings per season, and some of those appearances will only last one batter as he's brought in to get a lefty out.
Oliver won five games last year with the Rangers. He can't get at least one win seven seasons from now?