Location, Location, Location
A number of years ago I had dinner with Dick Radatz, a former big league reliever who dominated the mid-1960s with an overpowering fastball. He was called "The Monster," a nickname inadvertenly given to him by Mickey Mantle. You see, the Mick faced Radatz 63 times in his career and struck out 47, and it was after one of these at-bats that Mantle shouted the moniker his way. The media picked up on it and the nickname stuck.
Anyway, Radatz told me that night that I could "have" the curveball, knuckleball, slider and split-fingered pitch. In his mind, nothing was more impressive than a good old-fashioned fastball, because that's where "quickness really counts." Sadly, Radatz passed three years ago, but I wonder what he might think about the Phillies' Jamie Moyer. I, for one, simply can't help but marvel at what Moyer has been able to accomplish at his age and inside the stadium he pitches.
In case you missed it, the 45-year-old helped send the Phillies to the postseason yesterday with six very good innings against the Washington Nationals. He's given up two earned runs in his last 12 innings, winning twice as Philadelphia earned the NL East title for the second straight year. He leads the team with 16 wins, and he's the oldest pitcher to reach that number since Phil Neikro in 1984. What's more, six of those wins have come at Citizens Bank Park, a launching pad for the National League.
With a fastball in the low eighties and a curve that barely reaches the speed limit on I-95, Moyer defines craftiness with his ability to locate pitches and change speeds from slow to slower.
The NL playoff matchups are not yet set, but wouldn't it be sweet if the Phillies hooked up with the Los Angeles Dodgers at some point? If case you haven't heard, L.A. has another fortysomething that can barely break glass but has had some success along the way. He goes by the name of Maddux.
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