SEATTLE — Left-hander Jamie Moyer, a seemingly ageless wonder who pitched 25 big-league seasons, is the newest member of the Mariners’ Hall of Fame.
The club announced plans Tuesday to make Moyer the ninth inductee to their shrine in an Aug. 8 ceremony prior to a game against Texas at Safeco Field.
In doing so, the Mariners will add a pitcher who spent 11 seasons with the organization and remains their career leader with 145 victories, 323 starts and 2,093 innings.
“It’s a huge honor for me,” Moyer said, “because it’s acknowledging my personal accomplishments. But without my teammates and the coaches I’ve been around me and the fan support…this would have never happened.”
Moyer played for the Mariners from 1996-2006 and is the only pitcher in franchise history to win 20 or more games in more than one season — going 20-6 in 2001 and 21-7 in 2003.
While he never overpowered opponents, Moyer was selected four times as the Mariners’ pitcher of the year in balloting by the Seattle Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
“I had to do things a little differently as a player to be successful,” he admitted, “and I wouldn’t want it any differently. But I feel like I’ve gained a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge.
“As an active player, I had to take a step back to reevaluate and re-find myself during the course of my career and try to move forward at the same time. I felt I was able to do that.”
Moyer joins eight previous Hall inductees: Alvin Davis (1997), Dave Niehaus (2000), Jay Buhner (2004), Edgar Martinez (2007), Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson (2012), Ken Griffey Jr. (2013) and Lou Piniella (2014).
“The Seattle Mariners are proud to welcome Jamie Moyer to our franchise’s Hall of Fame,” club president Kevin Mather said. “He was an outstanding representative of the Mariners, both on and off the field, and will always be an important part of our history.”
Inductees are determined by the Mariners’ Board of Directors among players or employees who spent at least five years with the organization. Uniformed personnel must have been inactive for at least two years.
Moyer, now 52, is currently recovering from ankle surgery but acknowledges he still gets the itch at times to return to the mound.
“I do realize, too,” he said, “that I’m 52 years old. It wouldn’t be quite that easy to (make a comeback), but I’ve played some catch here at home. I’ve thrown some batting practice to my boys.
“I realize…look, my better days are behind me. It’s time to sit back in a chair and re-live some of those memories. Re-live the camaraderie I was able to have and the experiences I was able to have.”
There is much to remember.
Moyer was a sixth-round pick by the Chicago Cubs in 1984 and reached the majors in 1986. The Mariners acquired him from Boston in a July 30, 1996 trade for outfielder Darren Bragg.
While Bragg became, primarily, a part-time player in a career that lasted through 2004, Moyer quickly became a key element in the Mariners’ staff. He was 145-87 with a 3.97 ERA in his 11 seasons with the club.
Moyer chose to remain with the Mariners on three occasions as a free agent before the club traded him to Philadelphia on Aug. 19, 2006 for minor-league pitchers Andrew Baldwin and Andy Barb.
Neither Baldwin nor Barb ever pitched in the big leagues, but Moyer remained with the Phillies through 2010. After sitting out the 2011 season, he returned in 2012 by making 10 starts for Colorado before retiring.
Moyer was 49 when he made his last appearance on May 27, 2012 in Colorado’s 7-5 loss at Cincinnati. He remains the oldest pitcher in Major League history to win a game, and the oldest player to record an RBI.
In all, Moyer was 269-209 with a 4.25 ERA in 696 games for the Cubs (1986-88), Texas (1989-90), St. Louis (1991), Baltimore (1993-95), Boston (1996), the Mariners (1996-2006), Philadelphia (2006-10) and Colorado (2102).
While he was part of a World Series champion in 2008 at Philadelphia, Moyer points to his time in Seattle as the lynch-pin to his career. He particularly recalls the closeness of the 2001 club, which won 116 games.
And he sees similarities between that club and the 2015 Mariners.
“I’m not trying to make it sound like they’re going to win 116 games,” Moyer cautioned, “but I really believe…they have that ability to win a lot of baseball games and kind of rejuvenate baseball in Seattle.”
Moyer contributions during his time in Seattle extended beyond his on-field success — and those contributions continue today.
He was the 2003 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, which is baseball’s top award for community service. He also received the Hutch and Lou Gehrig awards in 2003 and the Branch Rickey Award in 2004.
Those awards stemmed, in large part, to the establishment in 2000 of The Moyer Foundation, which is based in Seattle and seeks to provide comfort, hope and healing to children affected by loss and family addiction.
“The baseball side is great while it lasts,” Moyer said. “This induction is part of that. But as an athlete, you know it’s not going to go on forever. Being able to create our own foundation…became very important to Karen and I.
“Karen really opened my eyes to that. She’s really been the leader with this. Now that I’m out of the game, I realize there’s more to life than just baseball.”
Not that Moyer is ruling out a return to baseball.
He spent last season as a Phillies’ broadcaster but announced plans after the season to step away from those duties in order to spend more time with his family and recover from surgery.
“If something were to come along in baseball,” Moyer said, “I would strongly consider it. But it would have to be the right situation at the right time and doing what I’d like to do.”