Thursday, June 17, 2010


As The Common Man explored on The Daily Something the other day, the inimitable Junkballin’ Jamie Moyer pitched a wonderful game against the New York Yankees, becoming the oldest pitcher to ever beat the ballclub. That said, as Craig points out on Hardball Talk,
“Jamie Moyer is the oldest pitcher to ever beat the Yankees! -- is another of those silly, ‘we're only talking about it because it's a New York team’ things. Moyer is the oldest pitcher to beat a whole bunch of teams, I'd imagine, and we generally don't care. But because he's facing New York, which means that there are a bunch more writers covering it, all of whom are looking for an angle, we get factoids disguised as records like this one.”

True, Craig. So true. Which, of course, gives The Common Man his own angle, for which he is greatly appreciative. So here is a list of the oldest pitchers to beat each Major League franchise since 1900:

You’ll notice a couple things. First of all, Craig’s right, Moyer is the oldest pitcher to beat the Yankees, Padres, Brewers, Braves, Mets, Astros, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Reds, Rays, and Nationals. Indeed, that’s more than a third of the teams in the MLB. Also, you’ll note that the list is dominated by only a few names. This makes sense, obviously, since very few pitchers tend to make it into their forties to begin with, let alone their late 40s. And as these players tend to remain effective in their 40s (otherwise they would not be pitching), they tend to beat a lot of their opponents. The list is also dominated by pitchers with a gimmick. Hoyt Wilhelm, who pitched until his was 49, had the greatest knuckleball of all time. Phil Niekro, who retired at 48, is right behind him. Charlie Hough, who barely cracks the list, also threw a knuckler. Jack Quinn was the last man allowed to throw a spitball, after the pitch was outlawed. And, of course, Moyer throws slower than most 14 year olds, but combines excellent control with a yard full of junk.

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