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PHILADELPHIA -- Jamie Moyer is wily. No, wait, that's not the right word. I was thinking of some other word, one that... what is that word? You ever had that, where the word you're thinking of doesn't come right to, um, you know, um, mind? Jamie Moyer is not wily, no, he's tricky. No, he's canny. No, that's not it. Where's the computer thesaurus? Here we go. Right, he's cunning or sly or shrewd. No, none of those are quite the right word to describe a 45-year-old lefty (almost 46) who throws an 82-mph fastball and made the Tampa Bay Rays melt away like an ice cream cone on a sidewalk in the World Series.
There should be a word for it, you know, a word for slow-throwing left-handed pitchers who get batters out and make them bang the bat like Bam-Bam in frustration -- a word, you know, a simple word to describe Jamie Moyer.
"Crafty," Florida Marlins right fielder
"Crafty," Los Angeles Dodgers manager
"Very crafty," Milwaukee manager
"Moyer is so crafty," Phillies manager
Right. He's savvy. No, wait, um, what was that word again?
"Crafty veteran," Angels manager
"Crafty lefty," briefly crafty lefty
"The best definition of a crafty lefty," former Royals star
"He's crafty," former teammate
"Crafty," Cubs manager
"Classic crafty lefty," former slugger
Oh, right. The first person to call Jamie Moyer crafty in print, best I can tell, was
You could argue, pretty persuasively, that I have no idea what I'm doing.
Anyway, that day, a 23-year-old version of Jamie Moyer threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs. He struck out eight, which seemed rather un-crafty of him, but Buck Rodgers always could see into the future. "He had a good motion," Buck said.* "He is a crafty left-hander."
Back to Moyer. Players and managers appreciate his craftiness, but not nearly as much as us sportswriters. Over the years, in newspapers across our great land, Moyer has been called a crafty veteran, a crafty lefty, a crafty Southpaw, a crafty left-hander, the definition of a crafty left-hander and, my favorite, the stereotypical crafty left-hander. Wonder who stereotyped him. At some point he became so much of a craftsman that he created his very own category, the "Jamie Moyer type," which is fairly odd because, to be honest about it, there has never been anything quite like him. This year, at age 45, he won 16 games. Everyone here knows how I feel about pitchers victories, but for the point of simplicity lets go with those:
So it goes.
Anyway, a quick scan of the Internet gives me 14 players who, recently, have been called Jamie Moyer types -- some young, some retroactively, some I've never even heard of, and that means it's time for:
The question, mirror, mirror: Is Jamie Moyer the craftiest of them all, y'all? Well, of course, it is time to get those statisticians away from this week's spelling words and have them work out an utterly incomprehensible formula to figure it out. The formula, I can tell you, uses victories, strikeouts, ERA+, WHIP and various other mathematical atrocities in an effort to bring clarity to this foggy question and, more importantly, bring an end to this column that should have died long ago:
Zachary is also the answer to two trivia questions: 1. Who gave up Babe Ruth's 60th homer in 1927? 2. Who had the most victories in a season (12) without a loss? If you guessed Tom Zachary on both of those, congratulations, you're a winner.