Like a fine bottle of vino, Jamie Moyer just keeps getting better with age. And as hard as it can be to find the perfect bottle, it’s even harder to find a true hero.
In the age of the steroid injecting, hormone pumping, shamefaced athletes, Moyer stands apart as a genuine family man, Philadelphian and most importantly a true ambassador of America’s favorite pastime.
On Sunday, the Sellersville native further sealed his legacy as one of the all-time greats -- pitching six innings of one-run ball against Washington to become the 44th man (11th lefty) to win 250 games.
He did so without the muscles, without the flash and without self-revolving attention.
You see, at the age of 46 years and 194 days -- the oldest player ever to strike the heralded number -- Moyer reached the milestone with grace, maturity and a true respect for the game he loves so much, a game which hasn’t always loved him back.
Sixteen years ago Jamie Moyer looked like he was out of the bigs for good. A struggling pitcher, Moyer was released by the Chicago Cubs during spring training after spending the previous season in Triple A Toledo.
Since that wake-up call in which his own father-in-law and former Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps told him to find a real job, the 30-year old would embark on a seemingly impossible journey that would forever seal his name in baseball history and the hearts of all Philadelphians.
Back then the writing was on the wall, now it’s in the record books.
That was 216 wins ago, but with none bigger than number 250.
Fittingly enough, the milestone came on the southpaw’s sixth attempt at the mark -- just another bump in the road that is the Moyer Expressway.
Perhaps some luck o’ the Irish rubbed off on him.
Perhaps it was a boyhood passion.
Or perhaps it was his hard work, dedication and consistency that led to two 20-win seasons, one All-Star appearance and one unforgettable World Championship over his 23-year career.
Seven teams, 23 seasons and 250 wins, it’s an unconventional path to baseball immortality, yet certainly one worth modeling.
But life for Moyer doesn't stop with baseball.
The father of seven and his wife Karen are also philanthropists creating the Moyer Foundation, a non-profit organization focusing on the care of distressed children.
So, congratulations and thank you Mr. Moyer for upholding the values and persistence of a true American hero.