Commentary

A very elite club

Updated: June 29, 2010, 7:18 PM ET
By Rick Reilly | ESPN.com

Jamie MoyerGreg Fiume/Getty ImagesWith each passing start, Jamie Moyer seems to eclipse another milestone. But his most recent milestone is one that Rick Reilly thinks we should celebrate.

The world is an idiot. Last week, it completely snubbed one of the greatest records set in baseball -- Jamie Moyer's unprecedented 506th home run dished up.

"We just thought it was a dubious record that Jamie would rather ignore," a Phillies executive said.

Ignore it? Are you nuts? Celebrate it! Bronze it! Throw it a parade! The game should have been stopped and Moyer handed a live gopher! A phone that dials only room service! A car made of meat! The Phillies now have the two greatest yard salesmen in MLB history -- Moyer and Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. Do you have any idea how good you have to be to get this record? They should've given Moyer 506 bells that ding, 506 taters, 506 baseballs to replace the ones he lost!

This is not an albatross! This is an achievement!

Look, can you tell me which NFL quarterback was sacked the most all-time? John Elway (516). Most interceptions thrown? Brett Favre (317). Most shots missed in NBA history? John Havlicek (13,417). Most second-place finishes in a golf major? Jack Nicklaus (19). Most times losing in a major tennis final? Ivan Lendl (11).

Don't you see? To be historically bad, you have to be historically great! To be able to give up more home runs than anybody in history, they have to keep handing you the ball. You're that good. You hand out more bombs than Raytheon, but they don't care. They still give you the ball and point you toward that hill.

They want you on that hill.

"The way I look at it," said Moyer, 47 (not a misprint), "there's two pitchers in the 500-home-run-given-up club, me and Robin. There's what, 25 guys in the 500-home-run-hit club? But there's only Robin and I in this one. That's way more elite."

That's the spirit! People should be writing songs about Moyer! Like this:

Moyer Long Balls
(Sung to the tune of "Armour Hot Dogs")

Moyer!
Jamie Moyer!
What kind of guys
Crush Jamie Moyer?

[+] EnlargeJamie Moyer
AP Photo/Charles KrupaOn June 11, Jamie Moyer's brief outing included a two-run homer by Mike Lowell in Boston's five-run first inning.
Fat guys 1
Skinny guys 2
Guys who wear white socks 3

Rich guys 4
Broke guys 5
Even guys who work on Fox 6 ...

... love Moyer!
Jamie Moyer!
The man guys love to crush! 7

(pause for instrumental bridge)

Moyer!
Jamie Moyer!
What kind of dudes
rocked Jamie Moyer?

Mike Schmidt 8
Ripken 9
A bunch to Troy Glaus 10

Fathers 11
Brothers 12
Even guys who took the sauce 13...

... love Moyer!
Jamie Moyer!
The one guys take downtowwwwwwn! 14

This is epic. I know former major league pitchers who would sell their sister to Afghan rebels to have this record. Roberts held The Silver Platter record for 52 years, 321 days. That's longer than Babe Ruth held the home run record -- 52 years, 284 days, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. This isn't dubious. It's distinctive! It's glorious!

Somebody needs to put up a statue of him! Maybe in the right-field stands?

That a guy like Moyer has lasted long enough in the game to own it is unthinkable, isn't it? A guy who can hardly make the radar gun light up? Who was released four times in his career? Who gums hitters to death? And yet is having -- yet again -- one of his best years?

Considering the man pitched through the entire steroids era, 506 is laughably low. And yet he survived. This is a man who's pitched more than 4,000 innings now. When he was born, John F. Kennedy was president! He's been throwing baseballs pretty much nonstop ever since. Do you have any idea how much Cramer Red Hot that is?

"I don't watch them go around," said Moyer. "They can have their 15 seconds of glory."

"Well, of the 506, it's not like there's one I wanted to happen. But I've faced some great hitters in my life. They're supposed to hit home runs. They get paid to do that. I used to kid [Ken] Griffey [Jr.] that he never hit one off me. He always said he did. We made a bet. He said he was going to look it up, but he never did, so I still don't know."

He did. April 29, 1994, in Baltimore.

"I don't watch them go around," Moyer said. "They can have their 15 seconds of glory. I guess it's a good feeling. I wouldn't know. I've never hit one."

Never?

"Hit just above the double doors in left-center at Wrigley once, but that's it."

That's like owning the world's largest pizzeria and never having a slice.

Anyway, the point is, marvel at the Superkid, Stephen Strasburg, but marvel at Jamie Moyer, too. Because if Strasburg is still pitching like Moyer at 47, I'll eat a gopher.


  • 1. Cecil (one homer off Moyer) and Prince Fielder (two homers off Moyer)
  • 2. Darryl Strawberry hit his only homer off Moyer in 1988.
  • 3. The Chicago White Sox's Frank Thomas touched Moyer for six. The all-time leader is Manny Ramirez with 10. Both are Hall of Famers. The Angels have the team lead (45).
  • 4. Alex Rodriguez (six)
  • 5. Lenny Dykstra (one)
  • 6. Rex Hudler (three), Kenny Lofton (three)
  • 7. But not one to a pitcher!
  • 8. Just think how long this guy has been around! These guys hit the first five home runs he gave up in the bigs: Juan Samuel, Schmidt, Mookie Wilson, Keith Hernandez and Barry Bonds. Hell, Wilson has been out of the league for 19 years!
  • 9. Guess who holds the record for most double plays hit into? Ripken, with 350.
  • 10. Five
  • 11. Besides the aforementioned Fielders, the Penas -- Tony Sr. and Jr. -- each contributed to the list.
  • 12. Bengie (four) and Jose (one) Molina.
  • 13. Moyer-feasters who've been linked to performance-enhancing drug use: Mark McGwire (two), Barry Bonds (five), Jose Canseco (one), Gary Sheffield (four), Rafael Palmeiro (five).
  • 14. But at no higher percentage than most MLB pitchers. Moyer averages 1.1 homer per nine innings pitched, in about the same ballpark as Johnny Podres, Cliff Lee and Curt Schilling.


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