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Jamie Moyer continues to amaze, but should the Phillies resign him? And IS he a Hall Of Famer?


So I get home from a long day Sunday around 9:35 pm. I turn on ESPN  to watch some of the Dodgers-Yankees game, when a line similar to what you see below comes across the ticker at the bottom of the screen (and please email me if this isn’t right):

Phillies beat Blue Jays, Jamie Moyer allows record-setting 506th home run.

Furthermore proof that Philadelphia is the sports world’s perennial redheaded stepchild. Funny, I saw nothing about B.J. Upton vs. Evan Longoria on the ticker, but I digress.

Instead of reports of the age-less wonder becoming only the 40th pitcher Jamie Moyerever to throw 4,000 innings in the majors, or that the Phillies took the series from Toronto, that damn home run was emphasized. I understand chicks dig the long ball and all that, but I digress.

What we have to realize here is that we are watching something that in all likelihood never be seen again: a non-knuckleballer making a major contribution to a winning major league baseball team who is staring down the barrell at 50 years of age. Who led the team in wins during the Phillies' championship season of 2008 at age 45? Hint: it wasn’t Cole Hamels, it was Jamie Moyer. The man has notched over 100 wins AFTER the age of 40. Remarkable.

We’re not talking about Jesse Orosco  throwing to one left-handed hitter every three games here. At this time, “Old-Man Moyer” (a nickname jokingly given to him by a friend of mine) is arguably the Phillies second or third starter. He is tied for third in the league in complete games (2) and wins (9-as many as Roy Halladay). And despite his normally high ERA, Moyer is a possible All-Star selection in 2010. It’s not out of the question.

I must admit, personally, I am not the biggest Jamie Moyer fan. When I attended his honorary doctorate ceremony last year at St. Joseph’s University, I told him I was a Hawk and asked him about the possibility of an interview for the P2P site launch. He seemed open to it, and he told me to talk to a certain Phillies rep who was there (who will remain nameless) and we could probably work something out. I did just that, and the Phillies set things in motion. Six weeks passed, and a week before launch, I still had heard nothing and contacted the team again. Turns out, there was to be no interview. The excuse from the Phillies: “Jamie says he doesn’t even know how to use a computer.” I wouldn’t make that up. 

Either someone in the Phillies was blowing smoke, or Dr. Moyer turned his back on a fellow Hawk. So much for that loyalty nonsense St. Joe’s stresses about their alumni helping others, but that in itself is another story. Needless to say, it left me with some mixed feelings regarding Moyer- a man who prides himself on integrity. I also didn’t care for the way he acted after being demoted from the starting rotation last summer. A 46 year-old gathering reporters for a press conference in the stands at Wrigley Field is something right out of Terrell Owens’ book, and I will NEVER feel sorry for an overpaid millionaire playing a game made for kids while I save up every dime I have just to pay my mortgage.

In saying this, I put personal feelings aside and I root for Jamie Moyer the pitcher because he is wearing a Phillies uniform. And I must admit, every time I see him do what he does on the field, I shake my head in amazement and tip my cap to him. Moyer has played such a monumental role in the Phillies’ rise from almost division winners to eventual world champions since coming here in late 2006, so I will indeed look back at his time in Phils pinstripes fondly when he eventually leaves or retires.

Which brings me to my next question. Moyer IS a free agent after this season. You have Jayson Werth ready to hit free agency and Jimmy Rollins soon after in 2011. There will be other pieces of the puzzle to address in the off-season. If you’re the Phillies, what do you do?

What Moyer has done at his age is astounding. In saying that, he will be 48 next season. Father time WILL catch up with him at some point. Let’s also not forget that Moyer is entitled to get rocked at any given moment if the home plate umpire is less than friendly on certain nights. Moreover, Moyer played hardball with the Phils after 2008, reportedly having discussions with the Brewers before returning to the team on a two-year deal, so don’t expect this to be an easy task. A one-year deal worth $8 million could be in the ballpark of what Moyer could demand with an option year in 2012- the year Moyer will turn 50 years old.

Yes, there is a very minute chance Moyer could notch 300 victories when all is said and done. And while it would be neat to watch him accomplish that feat in a Phillies uniform, this is at least two to three years down the road, and the Phillies won’t keep him around as a circus act if he is pitching ineffectively. They didn’t do it for Pete Rose after 1983 when he was closing in on Ty Cobb's all-time hit record, and they won’t do it for Moyer.

Recently, there has been some debate whether Moyer’s credentials are Hall Of Fame worthy. If he notches 300 wins, he is a shoo-in. Otherwise, absolutely not. Moyer’s career ERA is 4.22

Bert Blyleven  notched 287 wins, is fifth all-time in strikeouts, has a career ERA of 3.31, and STILL has trouble getting into Cooperstown. Same for Tommy John, who notched one more win than Blyleven and has an ERA just a smidge higher at 3.34. It should be noted however, that it took Tommy John 26 seasons to win 288 games. If these guys get in (Blyleven will most likely be enshrined in 2011), there is a possibility, but Moyer’s relatively high ERA might be a game breaker.

Either way, you have to appreciate what you’re watching every time he takes the mound. Someone like Jamie Moyer doesn’t come along every day.

Come to think of it, someone like Jamie Moyer hasn’t really come along, ever.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com