Jamie Moyer Pitched Despite Severe Stomach Virus

Ken RosenthalAnalyst IOctober 26, 2008

How sick was Jamie Moyer?

"Honestly?" his wife Karen asked. "The sickest I've ever seen him in 22 years."

Moyer, the Phillies' 45-year-old left-hander, first began feeling ill at the start of the World Series in St. Petersburg, Fla.

On Friday night, the eve of his first-ever Series start, his stomach virus became even more severe.

Not only was Moyer suffering from diarrhea, but he also was sweating profusely.

Somehow, he rebounded to pitch six-and-one-third brilliant innings in the Phillies' 5-4 victory in Game Three of the series.

"It was so bad I had to change the sheets twice," Karen said. "He ruined two pillows. Our comforter is at the cleaners right now.

"I kept saying, 'Should we be calling the team? Should you maybe not be pitching? I don't know. It's only the game of your life.'"

Yes, it was, and Karen said there was "never a doubt" that her husband would take the mound.

Jamie said the same thing when I asked him afterward if he considered missing the start.

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"Are you kidding me?" he said.

Moyer, though, conceded, "I wasn't feeling real good. It was some sort of virus. I'm not feeling good now, either."

And still, he produced the highlight of his career.

Moyer made his debut with the Cubs in 1986, finally became successful in his mid-30s and on Saturday night became the second-oldest player to appear in the Series.

"After 22 years and a rain delay, he had waited a long time for this," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee joked, referring to the delay of one hour and 31 minutes at the start of the game.

Moyer first told his wife he was not feeling well after Friday's workout. Dubee said the pitcher had been "a little down in the dumps" for two or three days.

When the family went out to dinner Friday night, Moyer ate only plain chicken and mashed potatoes. He spent the rest of the evening in the bathroom or in bed.

Karen said she gave him Ibuprofen and hourly doses of Pepto-Bismol. Jamie said that he also began taking Immodium after he arrived at Citizens Bank Park.

Watching Moyer pitch, no one would have guessed that he was ill.

"It was a distraction," Karen said, shrugging. "He always does well with a distraction."

Moyer had a 4-1 lead when he hustled for Carl Crawford's bunt leading off the seventh inning, then made a backhand flip to first baseman Ryan Howard with his glove. First-base umpire Tom Hallion mistakenly called Crawford safe, and the Rays rallied for two runs, one after Moyer left the game.

The Rays rallied to tie the score an inning later, but the Phillies won it in a bizarre ninth on Carlos Ruiz's infield single.

"When 'Chooch' hit that ball, I went from my seat to the ceiling," Moyer said, referring to Ruiz by his nickname.

Moyer didn't get the win, but the fans at Citizens Bank Park gave him a standing ovation when he departed, and they were chanting his name as I interviewed him for FOX after the game ended at 1:47 AM ET.

The Moyers' second-oldest son, Hutton, 15, thinks his father's performance should be the stuff of legend.

Karen said that Hutton had the best line of anyone about Jamie's plight. I sort of cringed when I heard it, but Karen thought it suitable for print and far be it from me to question the judgment of a mother of six.

"Know how the bloody sock went to the Hall of Fame?" Hutton said. "Our toilet seat should go to the Hall of Fame."

This article originally published on FOXSports.com.

Read more of Ken's columns here.