If you’re over 40 and left handed, it’s a great time to be a baseball fan. There are several prominent pitchers who serve as role models to my age group. The list is pretty impressive, and includes Jamie Moyer, Tom Glavine, David Wells, Randy Johnson, and Kenny Rogers.
With one exception, none of them can throw over 90MPH. None of them will ever be accused of using performance enhancing drugs. All have very impressive career stats.
As a youngster, I used to enjoy watching NFL games with my Father, who was a big George Blanda fan. I never understood why. Granted, in 1970 at the age of 43 he was voted the league MVP. To me he just seemed like an old geezer who didn’t belong on the field. Now, I truly admire his accomplishments.
Moyer, who now is the oldest player in MLB, has to be the most fascinating of the group. Signed in 1986, he was released three times before hooking up with the Baltimore Orioles in 1993. Since then he has won 196 games and twice has been a 20 game winner. He was the only member of the 2007 Phillies season-opening rotation not to spend time on the disabled list. He has more wins that Hall of Famers Jim Bunning and Catfish Hunter. All with a fastball that wouldn’t break a pane of glass. Scott Hatteberg was once quoted as saying “Guys I faced in high school threw harder than him”.
David Wells has to be the hero of all of the overweight, beer guzzling softball players. He is also a master of ironies. Although quite the iconoclast, he revered tradition, and was very proud of his tenure with the Yankees. As a testament to this, he once pitched with Babe Ruth’s hat, albeit briefly. Even though he never looked like an athlete, he could dunk a basketball. Even though he never took care of himself physically, he was blessed with a rubber arm, along with great control. He had a great post season record and always seemed to pitch well in the playoffs, primarily due to his personality. According to sources, nothing ever bothered him. He never got uptight, so was able to perform his best when the pressure was greatest.
The 43 year has 210 career victories, is a four time All-Star and a five time Gold Glove winner. Although he was injured most of 2007, the Tigers have resigned him and have high expectations that he can duplicate his previous success.
Both Johnson and Glavine are shoo-ins for the Hall of Fame. Glavine is the only member of the group that has reached 300 wins, and was an accomplished ice hockey player, who was drafted as a goalie by the Los Angeles Kings before deciding upon a baseball career. He also earned the enmity of the fans after serving as the union player rep during the 1994 strike. Johnson overcame control problems in his career and now stands at 284 victories, and also is the oldest player in MLB history to throw a perfect game (40 in 2004).
Fans are now being inundated with coverage of HGH, congressional hearings, the Mitchell Report, BALCO, etc., so it is refreshing to examine players who achieved success without having to resort to performance enhancing drugs.
The group just mentioned has amassed 1,266 wins, 275 complete games, 13,398 strikeouts in 18,323 innings with numerous personal accolades.
All without a single injection.