Can 49-year-old Moyer make MLB comeback?
Jamie Moyer pitches with the Phillies in May 2010, two months before he hurt his elbow.
January 19th, 2012
06:33 PM ET

Can 49-year-old Moyer make MLB comeback?

Jamie Moyer, the only Cy Young Award contender ever to pitch against Cy Young (we're exaggerating slightly), apparently wasn’t kidding when he said he’d try to return from reconstructive elbow surgery.

The 49-year-old starting pitcher and oldest active baseballer agreed with the Colorado Rockies on a minor league contract with an invitation to the big club’s spring training, the Rockies announced Wednesday.

Moyer, who won a 2008 World Series ring with the Philadelphia Phillies as baseball’s oldest active player at 45, would be among the four oldest pitchers ever if he’s on the Rockies’ roster in April.

And the southpaw with a 267-204 record would be the most aged hurler to return from Tommy John surgery.

“We think (he’s the ultimate pro),” Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd said, according to the Denver Post. “If he can still get people out will be the question.”

Moyer last pitched in 2010, when the ageless wonder was enjoying another strong season. In May 2010, his 24th year in the big leagues, he became the oldest player to pitch a shutout with a two-hitter against the Atlanta Braves.

But he hurt his elbow two months later, and again while pitching in the Dominican Republic in late fall. In December 2010 he had Tommy John surgery, named for the famed pitcher who had it in the 1970s at age 31.

The surgery generally requires a year of rehabilitation for pitchers. Weeks after the operation, Moyer told a reporter in Seattle, where he had played for nine full seasons, that he intended to come back.

“I'll probably get a spring-training invitation (rather than a guaranteed roster spot), and rightly so. I don't have a problem with that,” Moyer told the Seattle Times in December 2010. “Throughout my career, I've always had to earn the situation I've been in.”

Only three pitchers have played at or beyond 49: Satchel Paige (59, in a one-time special appearance), Jack Quinn (50) and Hoyt Wilhelm (49). Though Moyer’s fastball has dipped into the low 80s, he’s known to baffle his opponents with his changeup.

Of his 267 wins, all but 34 of them came after he turned 30.

Moyer’s career, which began in 1986 with the Chicago Cubs, is older than the Rockies (the team, that is), which debuted in 1993. He also started playing before 14 people on the Rockies’ active roster were born.

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Filed under: Baseball • Colorado • Sports
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    My husband used to pitch.
    It's hard on the body.

    Good luck, sir.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Yeah he pitch b*ll about why he was coming home late every night

      January 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    That's a giant moob he's got goin on, eh.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. whatagreatcountry

    HE is too old and OBSOLETE like Ron Paul, Gingrich, Palin, Petreus, Gasbarre of Leavenworth, Mccain and Rupert Murdoch
    but if he were Asian, Persian or Arabic... he is then indeed young enough.

    🙂

    January 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    LOL @ Moyer's career being older than the team he's playing for.

    January 20, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • kyle

      Considering the Rockies have only been around for about 20 years, I'd guess most of their players are older than the team.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • kyle

      nevermind you said "career"

      January 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    Attaguy, Jamie! Good luck.

    Loved it when he was a Phillie, glad he got his ring. He'll make the Rockies and win 8 to 10 games and make many hitters look foolish swinging wildly at his well placed slower pitches.

    January 20, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. StrangelyInsane

    Go Jamie!!! Loved you in Seattle. The way you pitch you will last forever. Rockies are lucky to have you. When you are done, the M's can always use a good pitching coach.

    January 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    I was about to say "Bill Moyers?!?! He ain't forty-nine!" I stand corrected. Sports. MEH.

    January 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tina C.

    It's a strange world we live in where 49 is considered old. It's all relative, I guess. 🙂

    January 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hamsta

    i dont see why not,i know a few people in their 50s that can hang with the youngsters

    January 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BMan

    How old was Minnie Minoso when he came back for a one day shot in the majors?

    January 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      He got a hit at age 50 in 1976 and he came back for a couple games in 1980 at age 54 but I do not think he got a hit.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. larry5

    The effort to come back is a success all on its own. This kind of effort to come back is the exact kind of thing that needed to defeat a demon, too, like alcohol or drugs. A person with something to do, driven from within is a successful person.

    January 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    The mind says yes, but the body says no.

    January 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RUFFNUTT

    now that guy knows how to handle his balls..

    January 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. augustghost

    The return of Moses ..oops I mean Moyer

    January 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sabinabarnes

    Go for it,

    January 23, 2012 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
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