Still going strong
The young Phillies second baseman led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, ending the even younger Cubs lefthander's no-hitter.
The date: April 13, 1987. The place: Veterans Stadium.
More than 21 years later, Juan Samuel and Jamie Moyer will cross paths again Friday night.
Samuel will be honored with a ceremony and a plaque on the Phillies Wall of Fame before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Moyer, who now works for the Phillies, will be prepping for the 575th start of his big-league career Sunday against the Buccos.
It's kind of incredible when you think about it. Samuel has been retired 10 years now. Moyer is still going strong. Even Sammy, now third-base coach for the Baltimore Orioles, can hardly believe it.
"It's amazing," Samuel said last week. "He's endured and he's still throwing the same stuff. It shows that pitching isn't about throwing hard, it's about being smart."
Moyer is 45 years old. He's a free agent at the end of the season. And he isn't ready to call it quits just yet.
"As far as I know, I'm going to play (in 2009)," he said. "There's a lot of baseball left to be played this year, and that's what I need to remain focused on. I have to get through this year healthy. But if I do that, I have all intentions of playing next year."
The open question, of course, is who he will play for.
There is no obvious reason why it wouldn't be the Phillies. He's tied for the team lead with 10 wins. His earned-run average (3.78) is lower than any other starter except Cole Hamels. His wise counsel is prized by everyone. His community work is exemplary. His salary requests have been reasonable.
All signs point to Moyer wanting to return. There is no indication that the Phillies have approached him, though. Maybe they want to make sure he doesn't break down. Maybe they're leaving that decision to the next general manager.
Maybe it will all work out, too, although it's always a gamble to allow a player to test the market.
And, by the way, when Moyer sees Samuel Friday night, he will relive that near no-hitter all over again. "It's usually one of the first things that goes through my mind," Moyer said with a small smile.
Stat of the week
The Nationals are paying $23.34 million to the 25 players on their active roster. Which is less than what they're paying the six players they have on the disabled list ($14.29 million), plus four players who have been released ($12.65 million).
That can't be good.Combined wire services
HALL OF FAME EDITION
No. of Hall of Famers with logo on hat
TEAM ... Last week
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ... 1
1 (California Angels)
2. Chicago Cubs ... 2
19 (3 with no logo on bust)
3. Boston Red Sox ... 3
9 (3 with no logo on bust)
4. Tampa Bay Rays ... 4
5. Chicago White Sox ... 6
13 (2 with no logo on bust)
6. New York Yankees ... 5
23 (2 with no logo on bust)
7. Minnesota Twins ... 7
10 (7 Washington Senators)
8. Philadelphia Phillies ... 8
9. Milwaukee Brewers ... 9
10. New York Mets ... 10
1 Aaron Morton
TRADE WINNERS AND LOSERS
Even more important to fantasy owners than the players who end up changing teams at the trade deadline are the repercussions of those moves on other players.
For instance, Ken Griffey Jr.'s value doesn't really change just because he's playing his home games in Chicago rather than in Cincinnati.
However, the greater impact is what his arrival will do to the distribution of playing time. By taking over in center field, Griffey creates a logjam among Nick Swisher, Jim Thome and Paul Konerko for the two available spots at first base and designated hitter.
The other major logjam created by a trade-deadline move is in Los Angeles, where Manny Ramirez's arrival adds to an already crowded Dodger outfield.
Without the benefit of a DH, manager Joe Torre has to figure out a way to get youngsters Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the lineup, while also working around a trio of high-salaried veterans in Ramirez, Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones.