1986 was the last season for three Hall of Famers: Tony Perez, Rod Carew and Rollie Fingers. But a lot of players were famous for making their debuts that season. Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Bo Jackson, Bobby Bonilla, Barry Bonds, Will Clark, Matt Williams, Fred McGriff and so on and so on.
All of the above players are retired. Yet there's still one guy who debuted in 86 that's still here: Jamie Moyer.
Yes, I'm sure you've heard about his amazing season. At age 49 he's been pitching consistently for the Rockies, a team that was established seven years after he started playing. Jason Giambi, Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer are his teammates, and they all made their start in baseball more than ten years after Jamie did. That's right- Helton and Giambi, both considered aging players, are still not the oldest on their team.
Moyer's always been a sentimental favorite of mine. I wrote an article for my middle school paper commenting on Moyer's age, and that he was nearing retirement. Said article was written three years ago. The first person to come to Moyer's defense was my 74-year old gym teacher. And yes, as a member of the Phillies for a few seasons he's raised some eyebrows. I remember one matchup between him and Jair Jurrjens, who was born in, you guessed it, 1986.
It isn't looking like Moyer will be a Hall of Famer when he retires. True, he's one of the longest tenured pitchers in the game's history, but they're not putting Julio Franco, John Franco or Jesse Orosco in the Hall of Fame either. All of those guys played until a very old age, and probably won't get that much of the vote. Moyer has less than 300 wins, not too many strikeouts, and a hell of a lot of innings pitched.
But if he's remembered at all, he'll be remembered as a guy who loved the game, and kept playing baseball for a very long time, just cause he felt like it. And, really, I have to give him props. This season is his 27th playing major league baseball. And I couldn't find a better thing to do every day for 27 years.
As Ferris Bueller famously said, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it." Jamie Moyer lived his career day by day, year by year, with no real care for when to stop. And that's a quality most ballplayers should have.
Speaking of Ferris Bueller, and establishing a full-circle ending...what year did Ferris Bueller's Day Off come out? You guessed it- 1986.
Coming Tomorrow- Oddly enough, a 1986 custom, of a team whose best years were somewhere around 2005, and a second baseman who's trying to keep his team out of last and, more unsuccessfully, out of the AL.