Record-setting Moyer fires two-hit shutout
Phils lefty, 47, oldest hurler to record complete-game blanking
PHILADELPHIA -- Cool.
Jamie Moyer stood in the middle of the Phillies' clubhouse late Friday night at Citizens Bank Park, his left shoulder wrapped in ice, and talked about becoming the oldest pitcher in baseball history to throw a shutout, when at 47 years, 170 days old, he threw a two-hitter in a 7-0 victory over the Braves.
"Cool," he said.
"Just doing my job."
Moyer downplayed the accomplishment, but what a remarkable moment in front of a sellout crowd that seemed to understand the rarity of the performance. Phil Niekro had been the oldest pitcher to throw a shutout when he threw one for the New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays on October 6, 1985, at 46 years, 188 days old.
Satchel Paige had been the oldest non-knuckleball pitcher to accomplish the feat, when he pitched for the St. Louis Browns and threw a 12-inning shutout against the Detroit Tigers at 46 years, 75 days old.
"We knew it was Eighth Wonder of the World type stuff," relief pitcher Chad Durbin said.
"There's no ands, ifs or buts about it," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. "We didn't really barrel much hard. The guy is 87 years old and he's still pitching for a reason. He stays off of people's barrels. That's what he did. ... That's about as well-pitched of a game by a guy who throws 80 mph that I've ever seen."
"That amazes me," said manager Charlie Manuel.
"It was impressive, regardless of how old you are," ace Roy Halladay said.
Does Halladay expect to be throwing shutouts at 47?
"No," he said immediately.
What does he expect to be doing then?
"Fishing," he said.
Moyer got plenty of support early. Jayson Werth hit a three-run homer in the third inning. Raul Ibanez and Wilson Valdez each plated two runs with singles in the fifth.
Moyer allowed a leadoff single to Troy Glaus in the second inning and a leadoff single to Glaus in the eighth inning. He retired 17 consecutive batters in between. He walked nobody. He struck out five. He threw just 105 pitches.
He even enjoyed a three-pitch second inning.
"That was a nice inning," Moyer said with a smile. "I enjoyed that."
He located. He changed speeds. He did it all.
"There weren't a lot of good at-bats," Halladay said. "It's pretty impressive. It's fun to watch when he's on like that. He does everything. He throws a little bit of everything and just keeps them off balance."
This was Moyer's third two-hit shutout. He threw one Aug. 16, 1986, in Montreal when he pitched for the Chicago Cubs. He threw his second on June 2, 2006, against Kansas City when he pitched for the Seattle Mariners.
Braves infielder Brandon Hicks, who had the first plate appearance of his big league career when he pinch-hit for Derek Lowe in the sixth inning, was less than a year old when Moyer threw his first gem against the Expos. Moyer struck him out swinging on a changeup.
"It's interesting to see their reaction on just how slow it is," said Ryan Howard, asked about watching young hitters face Moyer for the first time. "His fastball is like 80 mph. And then when he throws you a changeup, you just hope you don't throw something out of socket."
"You ever heard the old saying, 'Taking him to school?'" Manuel said. "Well, he can do that."
The Phillies saved several game-used balls. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum might be calling for one. The rest will go to Moyer and his family.
"What did I do with the ball?" Moyer said. "I think one of my kids has it. I don't know if it's in the [batting] cage and they're hitting with it, or they're going to give it to one of the dogs at home."
Moyer's wife, Karen, and five of their eight children were at the ballpark. His three sons patiently waited for him at his locker while he talked with reporters. Kyle Kendrick entertained 6-year-old McCabe by playing catch.
Moyer said it was nice to know that some of his children are old enough to have vivid images of this historical night.
"Yeah, I hope they do," he joked about his boys. "Two of them are teenagers."
Maybe they were fiddling with their iPods instead?
"There might have been some cute girls around, too," Moyer said. "I enjoy my family being there and we try to be together as much as I can, so that's special."
Moyer is asked constantly about his age, which definitely gets old for him. But nights like Friday night must make him wonder if there really can be an end to his baseball career, right?
"I never really thought about it that way, but now that you say it, this kind of stuff pushes you or pushes me," he said. "And I enjoy this. This is what it's about.
"I feel like there's plenty of time when I retire to reflect on things. I'm sure at home we'll talk about it tonight. It'll be a topic of conversation. As far as sitting back, tomorrow I'll probably sit and not necessarily think about what happened, but kind of rehearse the game in mind, go through the game again and be able to see pitches, and thoughts will come back.
"A lot of times at night that happens for me. I usually go sleepless when I pitch -- win, lose or draw. It's usually a long night for me, but it can be fun, because it's nice to reenact things and see things. Maybe a thought that went through your head comes back. Something may come to mind."
Like how special it was.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.