Monday, April 2, 2012

The old records

Portrait of the pitcher as
a young man —
How can I pass up the chance
to use Jamie Moyer's
1987 card?
The Monday print column this week celebrates the return to a major-league rotation of Jamie Moyer, the last of the baby boom generation still playing in the bigs.

Moyer made the Colorado Rockies' rotation as a nonroster invitee this spring; the 49-year-old lefty is to start the second game of the season for the Rox.

When (if) Moyer gets his first win of the year, he will become the oldest winning pitcher ever, beating out Jack Quinn, one of the last legal practitioners of the spitball.

Moyer won’t be the oldest man to start a major league game; that will still be Satchel Paige, who was given a start on Sept. 25, 1965, by the Kansas City Athletics in a move that was part stunt and part humanitarian (it made Paige eligible for a pension).

Ol’ Satch “demeaned the standards of major league baseball” — the term used by The Sporting News in a 1948 editorial blasting the Cleveland Indians for signing the Negro League legend — to the tune of one hit allowed in three innings.

Paige was 58 when he made that final start, give or take a few years. (The mystery of Paige’s age was and remains integral to his legend.)

But if Moyer is effective enough to stick in the Rockies rotation, that will be at least as impressive as a 58-year-old carving up a lineup with Carl Yastrzemski and Tony Conigilaro on a one-game stand.

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