Hardcore baseball fanatics will cite chapter and verse from their digital bibles, as they attempt to claim that Jamie Moyer never achieved more than sustained mediocrity. During each loud sermon their shallow rhetoric always misses the strike zone by a wide margin.
Jamie Moyer hurt his elbow during the 2010 season while he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. At that time, it was hard to imagine the then 46-year-old ever pitching again.
But, the man had reconstructive elbow surgery and then worked hard to put himself into position to have a shot at a big league job. Those recent efforts were really no different than what he had done back through his days with the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners.
That next chance came in January of this year, when the Colorado Rockies signed the free agent. He made the team out of spring training and then became the oldest documented pitcher to win a game in the major leagues. Using the most apt and famously comparative person, Satchel Paige was surely smiling down on him during that April game against the San Diego Padres.
The body of his work this season, including his last victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks in mid-May, won't be what he is remembered for. If the 2012 season is to be Moyer's last, then he has produced more than a fine career. The 49-year-old has shown the sports world how to live.
I remember when Pat Gillick acquired Moyer from the Mariners in August 2006. One of the Hall of Fame general manager's nifty little moves, he picked up the then 43-year-old with then intent of strengthening the starting staff.
Gillick was familiar with Moyer from his own Mariners' days, so he knew that the crafty lefty would be more than just a consistent starter in the rotation. He rightly projected that the ageless one would also serve as a role model for a team that was on the rise.
The Sellersville, Pennsylvania native went 5-2 down the stretch, as the Phillies missed the playoffs that season. His 14-12 mark the next year helped push the team into the playoffs for the first time since 1993. His 16-win season in 2008 led the staff and was part of a World Championship effort that hadn't been seen since 1980.
Winning the Fall Classic isn't about luck, it's about roster strength. Gillick had masterfully added to the systemic depth that Ed Wade formed, which then enabled Moyer to earn his first World Series ring.
Now, for a real sermon:
Moyer is a committed Catholic, a strong family man and a generous soul. In other words, he has the right principles of God, family, country and community all in their proper balance.
That type of organized life is desecrated by those who don't have it, don't want it and refuse to believe that it's something to strive for. Those personality types often respond to this truth in many reactionary, off-color ways. These are the very people who will hopefully benefit through whatever Moyer-like people surround their own lives.
Many of today's athletes are all about looking inward. They fall for the false philosophies that champion inner enlightenment, which is code for feeling good about self-involvement masked as the new age.
Moyer looked outward and never stopped believing in his team. His timeless take should be modeled by minor leaguers, major leaguers and fans across the baseball landscape every single season.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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