Talk about a Jekyll-and-Hyde.
Talk about the difference between day and night.
Talk about what a difference a few years can make.
How do you describe Jamie Moyer's baseball career?
In his first nine seasons in the majors, Moyer amassed 59 victories and 76 losses for the Chicago Cubs, the Texas Rangers, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Baltimore Orioles.
Slide Moyer's mug shot alongside the definition of "journeyman" in any baseball publication you care to mention.
At the age of 33, when pitchers, unlike fine wine, rarely improve, Moyer suddenly became, in a word, unbeatable.
In 1996, Moyer fashioned a 13-3 mark for the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners.
To prove this was no fluke, Moyer went 17-5 for the Mariners the following year.
Over the course of the next few years, Moyer became a lockdown starter for the Mariners. From 1998-2005, the resurgent lefthander won 116 games and lost only 68.
Moyer got off to a slow start in 2006, going just 6-12. The Mariners, figuring Moyer was at the end of his career, traded him to the Phillies on Aug. 19, 2006, for Andrew Barb and Andy Baldwin.
Put the latter duo's ages together at the time of the trade and they were cumulatively one year older than Moyer.
In the past two years, Moyer has risen once again, winning 30 and 19 while pitching nearly 200 innings each season. His career mark now stands at 246 wins and 185 losses.
With another 15-win season in 2009, Moyer may finally wend his way into future discussions about (Dare we say it?) his candidacy for the Hall of Fame.
Certainly, Moyer will have a long wait.
Jim Kaat, Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris are arguably more deserving. Especially Blyleven.
Kaat won 283 games in his illustrious career. Blyleven earned 287 victories. He ranks fifth in career strikeouts and ninth in career shutouts. Morris earned only 254 victories, but deserves props for his 6-1 record in postseason contests.
Cooperstown, though, has said no to them time and again.
The 300-victory plateau, a career ERA around the 3.25 mark and a Cy Young award or two in the trophy case seem to be the arbitrary demarcation line that distinguishes brilliance and say, above-average competence, to merit serious consideration.
On all counts, Moyer fails to meet the standards. In addition to not having enough victories, his ERA is 4.19, and he has never come close to winning a Cy Young.
Yet, if the Hall of Fame ever dedicates a wing to perseverance coupled with an above-average mastery of one's craft, Moyer should go to the head of the class.
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