Only number that matters to ageless Moyer is Game 3
MILWAUKEE -- For some reason, the world always seems to forget about Jamie Moyer when the topic turns to the walking history museums of baseball.Greg Maddux always comes up. Randy Johnson always comes up. Tom Glavine tends to nudge his way into these conversations. Heck, you might even hear names like Mike Timlin or Kenny Rogers or Tim Wakefield before someone gets around to saying: "Hey, what about Jamie Moyer?"
Once upon a time, though, Moyer was the guy searching for that wisdom. When he began dropping the names of some of the men he has sought it from over the years, it made you aware of just how long he's been around: Rick Sutcliffe, Nolan Ryan, Charlie Hough, Fernando Valenzuela.At one point Friday, Moyer's manager, Charlie Manuel, mentioned Gil Hodges' infamous struggles in the 1952 World Series (0-for-21). Moyer couldn't resist. "I think I faced Gil Hodges in that Series," he quipped. At another point, though, Moyer even seemed to startle himself when he tossed Valenzuela's name into the conversation. "I know I'm aging myself a little bit," he said after that Fernandomaniacal reference. "But age doesn't matter at this point." Well, it doesn't seem to matter much to him, anyway. This might be a guy with a lot to teach and share away from the mound. But oh by the way, those days he throws the ball have worked out pretty well, too. Not too many people have noticed that it was Moyer -- the oldest pitcher in baseball -- who led a first-place team in wins (with 16). And that makes Moyer the first 45-year-old to win at least 10 games and lead his team in wins since Satchel Paige in 1952. Those 16 wins are also a modern record for a non-knuckleballer his age. Only Phil Niekro, who won 16 for the '85 Yankees at age 46, was older at the time of his 16-win season. And speaking of Niekro, he's the only pitcher in the past 75 years who won more games (121) after turning 40 than the 82 Moyer has won. Just this summer, Moyer passed quite an array of names on that Most Wins After 40 list -- blowing by Clemens (66), Hough (67), Ryan (71) and Spahn (75). But for everything that Moyer has done, there is still something missing. He owns just two postseason wins -- including the clinching game in the 2001 ALDS. And he has never pitched in a World Series, missing that opportunity even when he was the ace on a team that won 116 games (the '01 Mariners). Asked Friday how hard it was not to think about how close he might be now, Moyer replied: "I don't find it difficult at all because, No. 1, I haven't been there. So I don't know what that excitement is. I don't know what that feeling is. If we don't win [Saturday] or win this series, I'll never know. So to me, the focus is on [Saturday]." As he focuses on Game 3, he won't notice, won't even care, how many eyes will be focused on him. But it will be more than he thinks because this is one start that won't be just about the numbers on the scoreboard. This one is about history -- and about the man with a chance to make it. Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. His book, "The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History," was published by Triumph Books and is available in bookstores. Click here to order a copy.
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