Longtime pitcher Jamie Moyer honored by Mariners
SEATTLE (AP) When Jamie Moyer thinks about Seattle, roots are what come to mind.
It may be the place where Moyer had the most success as a major league pitcher. But his affinity for Seattle goes well beyond what he did on the mound for the Mariners for more than 10 seasons.
''I smile for many reasons,'' Moyer said Friday. ''The baseball side of it was nothing but positives. The foundation side of it was nothing but positives. Being able to accomplish things on and off the field I never thought in my wildest dreams, but also the relationships that we've been able to make as a baseball player, as a family. We really had roots here in Seattle away from baseball and away from our foundation.''
Three years after he last pitched in the majors - at age 49 with Colorado - Moyer is being inducted into Seattle's hall of fame this weekend, honored for a career that never fully took off until he landed in the Pacific Northwest during the 1996 season. Moyer was feted at a luncheon that included former teammates Ken Griffey Jr. and Jay Buhner on Friday, and the left-hander will be honored before Saturday's game.
Moyer spent part of 11 seasons in Seattle and won 20 games the last time the Mariners made the playoffs in 2001. He's the franchise leader in victories with 145, a position that will likely be held by Felix Hernandez in the future but for now belongs to Moyer. Twice he won 20 games, the only Seattle pitcher to reach that mark more than once.
He did it all with determination, guile and knowledge, and a fastball that never had a ''9'' as the first number on the radar gun. It equaled a career that lasted 25 seasons in the majors, but his greatest success came in the Pacific Northwest.
When Moyer was acquired by Seattle from Boston just before the trade deadline in 1996, he was seeking a chance to have a regular spot in a pitching rotation. He recalled Friday his first meeting with then-manager Lou Piniella following the trade and immediately being told he was going to get the ball every five days for the Mariners.
''I was ready when they said, `You are going to start,''' Moyer said. ''I think that right there kind of propelled me. Granted I played on a team that could score some runs. I played on a team that could play some defense. I played for a manager that had passion. I played for a fan base that enjoyed the game and supported their club.''
Moyer went on to go 6-2 in 11 starts the rest of 1996 for the Mariners and helped the club win the AL West a year later. He pitched three times in the postseason with Seattle, with the only absence on his Mariners resume being that he never reached a World Series with the club.
Aside from his accomplishments on the field, Moyer is even more proud of his charity foundation that took off during his time in Seattle. The Moyer Foundation supports children in distress. During his time in Seattle, Moyer started Camp Erin, which has grown to the largest network of free bereavement camps in the country for children. The program has grown to add Camp Mariposa to help children in families affected by addiction.
''It's rooted itself and it's grown and it's expanded, and that's the legacy we're really leaving behind,'' Moyer said.