Jamie Moyer has continued to prove his doubters wrong each and every time he picks up the baseball, but after another surgery his career may just be over.
In the beginning of the season Moyer, 47, had the same amount of wins as perennial Cy-Young contender, Roy Halladay. Moyer and Halladay may have been members of the same team, but they could not have been more different.
Halladay has been blessed with a golden arm, able to touch the mid 90’s on occasion. Moyer on the other hand has never been able to come close to that speed. He has lived his life by throwing in the upper 70’s to low 80’s, speeds that wouldn’t even get him a glance from a Division 1 baseball coach.
However, Moyer has proved to people that it is not how hard you throw, but where. Moyer has won 267 games in his career and even more impressive, more of his wins have come in his 40’s than when he was in his 20’s.
It’s been an improbable journey that may end up taking him to the Hall Of Fame as a pitcher that just didn’t quite fit the mold. It’s for that reason that many kids look up to Moyer.
Many children will have their dreams of playing in the majors end after high school because they “do not throw hard enough.” Many college coaches don’t seem to realize that there’s more to pitching than just throwing hard.
In all fairness, there aren’t many pitchers that can throw in the upper 90’s. Fans love to see pitchers light up the radar gun because it is rare to see. That fact is proven by the amount of media coverage given to Stephen Strasburg, No. 1 pick of the Washington Nationals last year.
ESPN broadcasted three of Strasburg’s starts while the other two were picked up by TBS and the MLB network. Watching a guy pitch with as much velocity as Strasburg can dish out is exciting for everyone, but there are stats that show it doesn’t always equate to success.
Kyle Farnsworth has always had a 100 mph fastball at his disposal meaning most would expect him to be the most dominating pitcher around, but that is not the case. Farnsworth has a career ERA of 4.38, not exactly the mark of a great pitcher.
Then there’s the case of a pitcher losing velocity as he gets older. Randy Johnson had lost his upper 90’s heat by the time he put on his pinstripes and suffered because of it. Johnson could not get batters out with any consistency and was out of baseball within three years.
This year, Johan Santana went through the same type of crisis while pitching for the New York Mets. His fastball averaged 89 mph, down six mph from his prime. It resulted in an up and down year.
Pitchers that throw hard have a tough time adjusting to learning how to pitch. They never had to hit corners and change speeds before thus leading them to be hit hard when age starts to wear on them. Pitchers that never could throw hard may not have as many chances to make their mark as their counterparts, but do have a longer shelf life.
Moyer may not have the wow factor that a power pitcher does, but for many kids dreaming of making it to the big leagues, he is their inspiration that one day they may get a chance.