In a matter of starts, Jamie Moyer will reach the peak of a list that includes Hall of Famers Robin Roberts, Ferguson Jenkins, Phil Niekro and Don Sutton.
And the 47-year-old Phillies southpaw wants nothing of it.
According to ESPN.com, Moyers is four long balls away from topping the all-time list for homers given up in a career.
"No. No. No. I don't want to be associated with it,” he told ESPN.com. “But I'm sure there'll be some association. There's some people in my family — namely, my father-in-law [ESPN's own Digger Phelps] and an uncle-in-law and a brother-in-law — who like to rub it in. So I'm sure I'll hear about it. But it's all good. Just conversation."
Moyer shouldn’t be ashamed. As the company he keeps indicates, that 505th bomb should serve as a symbol of perseverance and durability, especially in a generation when steroid-pumped behemoths took hacks at his 82 mile per hour fastball.
Moyer has had no problem getting by without a heater. He’s frustrated batters since 1986, nibbling corners, methodically expanding the strike zone and living by a simple motto: If they hit the slow stuff, don’t throw harder — locate better.
The two-time 20-game winner enters next Saturday’s start with a 5-5 record and a 4.26 ERA. He’s weathered more homers than Lou Gehrig hit, and has 263 wins and a 4.22 career ERA to show for it.
How has Moyer survived? He’s limited the damage that a homer can do by keeping runners off the base paths.
With the Mariners in 2002, Moyer served up 28 homers, but a miniscule 1.08 WHIP helped keep his ERA at a healthy 3.32 en route to 13 wins.
The crafty lefty has an arsenal of tricks up his sleeve. If you do manage to get on, he can still erase you with an above-average pickoff move. But when all else fails, Moyer moves on from the blow with the same grace he’s handled the approach of this dubious record.
"The good thing about a home run is it clears the bases,” he said. “It can be a rally killer. When you give up a hit, a hit, a hit, a walk and then a hit, you think, 'When's it going to end?' "
One day, Moyer’s career will end. For now, he’ll keep delivering.
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