With one swing of the bat, Cleveland’s Russell Branyan put Jamie Moyer one home run away from making history.
You see, the solo home run that Branyan hit Tuesday night was the 505th given up by Moyer…tying him with Hall of Famer Robin Roberts for the most home runs allowed in Major League Baseball history.
For Moyer, it all started June 16, 1986 with a win against the Philadelphia Phillies. A week later, those same Phillies would take on the Moyer’s Cubs again. Early on, Juan Samuel would send a first inning offering deep for what would be the first of many, many home runs hit against the veteran lefty.
And just how many home runs is 505?
Well…if Moyer accomplished the feat as a hitter, he would be sandwiched between Hall of Famer Eddie Murray (504 career bombs) and Gary Sheffield (509) on the all-time list. He’d have outslugged legends Lou Gehrig (493) and Stan Musial (475).
But as it is, the Phillies pitcher has never hit one out (zero home runs in 24 seasons), but he’s given up a quarter ton. Here are ten things you might not have known about Jamie Moyer’s date with history.
Born November 17, 1962, Jamie Moyer is the only active player that can tell you where he was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Nearly four years (or 1386 days) after Moyer was born, Robin Roberts, then with the Chicago Cubs, gave up his 505th and final home run to Willie Stargell.
Over the span of Moyer’s 24 year career, he’s been touched up by 322 different batters. By comparison, Roberts gave up his 505 home runs to only 209 different batters. But who victimized Moyer the most? That honor belongs to right handed slugger Manny Ramirez…who has hit ten home runs against Moyer. Among left handed batters, Carlos Delgado (eight home runs) is the leader and for switch hitters…Bernie Williams (seven) holds the distinction. A fun fact about those 322 batters that Moyer has given up gopher balls to, they carry with them birthdates ranging from 1949 (Mike Schmidt) to 1986 (Chris Davis). Last month, Moyer faced the youngest player in the Majors, Starlin Castro (born March 24, 1990), but did not give up a home run to him. Yet.
For his career, Jamie Moyer has given up a home run during five different presidential administrations…the most being 221 during the 2001-2008 run of George W. Bush. The other presidents that occupied the White House while Moyer toed the rubber…Ronald Reagan (58 home runs), George Bush (21), Bill Clinton (164) and, of course, Barack Obama (41 and counting).
On April 22, Moyer faced off against All-World slugger Jason Heyward and his Atlanta Braves. The veteran would get the better of the rookie, striking him out once in the three times they met. But since this same “ten things” treatment was given to Heyward after he went yard in his first at bat, it is appropriate to point out that Moyer had already given up 63 home runs before the “J-Hey Kid” was born August 9, 1989.
In 2004, Moyer, at 41, posted a 7-13 record and a 5.21 ERA. To top off what was, arguably, one of his worst seasons, he would also give up a career high 44 home runs. In back to back starts against the Yankees in May, Alex Rodriguez went deep for three of his six career home runs against the left-hander.
When consider that Moyer has given up home runs to all 30 Major League teams (and yes, that includes the Montreal Expos AND Washington Nationals and all three incarnations of the California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels), it is no surprise that he has allowed home runs in 42 different ballparks (259 at home and 246 on the road). The five stadiums that played host to the most home runs are, not surprisingly, places that called Moyer home…Safeco Field (89 home runs), CitizensBank Park (54), Camden Yards (47), Kingdome (38) and Wrigley Field (36).
An amazing stat when you look at the 505 home runs that Moyer has given up is this…295 of them were solo shots. On the flip side of the coin, only seven of them were with the bases juiced. Moyer gave up his first grand slam to Craig Paquette in May 1997…his most recent was in August 2004.
As mentioned, 322 batters have gone deep off Moyer. Five of them (Mike Schmidt, Wade Boggs, Paul Molitor, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr.) are currently in the Hall of Fame. A sixth, Andre Dawson, will be joining them in Cooperstown next month.
To say Jamie Moyer spans generations would be an understatement. Over his 24 year career, he has given up home runs to two father/son combos. In 1994, he gave up a home run to Cecil Fielder…14 years later, Cecil’s son Prince took Moyer deep for the first of his two career home runs. Similarly, Moyer has also given up home runs to both Tony Penas…Senior in 1993 and Junior in 2007. And if you were curious about siblings, only the Molinas (Bengie and Jose) have taken Moyer yard.
Only once, has Jamie Moyer been the victim of a walk-off home run. On June 24, 2004, the Texas Rangers infielder Alfonso Soriano spoiled Moyer’s only relief appearance with a two run blast in the bottom of the 18th inning. Soriano is also, coincidentally, one of only 15 batters to have lead off a game against Moyer with a home run.
Moyer’s next start looks to be Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Over the span of his career, he has given up 40 homers against the Jays and 22 of them have come north of the border.
The last time, the 47 year-old faced the Blue Jays was June 28, 2009…almost one calendar year from this upcoming start. In that game, he gave up three dingers with two of them coming against second baseman Aaron Hill.