Perhaps the most compelling story of the young baseball season is the improbable comeback of 49-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer. Old enough to be the father of most of his Colorado Rockies teammates, Moyer missed the entire 2011 season to reconstructive elbow surgery. Against all odds, he’s worked his way back to the starting rotation and is playing in his 25th Major League season.
He’s the baseball equivalent of Picasso who pushed the boundaries of art well into his eighties.
Or Philip Roth, writing powerful, intricate novels in his seventies.
Or Bruce Springsteen, still leaping and sweating through 3-hour concerts in his sixties.
Our ad agency has had a long association with The Seattle Mariners, the team Moyer pitched for from 1996 through 2006. During that span, Moyer won 145 games for Seattle—and promoted Mariners baseball in a dozen commercials our agency produced during that time. We got to know Jamie well, even volunteering our company’s services to The Moyer Foundation which he founded with his wife, Karen.
We observed many Moyer personality traits during that time that may provide an insight into the secret of ageless creativity and productivity—lessons we can apply to our own careers.
Never Stop Learning Your Craft
Moyer’s fastball tops out at 80 miles per hour—the speed of a decent high school pitcher. His success is a result of guile, not power. His pinpoint control, wide array of pitches and ability to outthink hitters are the keys to his success, along with his fastidious preparation. Craftsmanship is the careful tending of talent—and can keep us productive for decades.
Jamie was always asking questions. He found the film production process fascinating and was one of the few ballplayers who took the time to ask about technique, look through the camera, talk to the crew. Intellectual curiosity keeps us fresh, young and constantly learning.
Sure good genes are helpful, but Jamie is fanatical about physical conditioning. Even if we’re not professional athletes, a healthy body often contains and active, healthy mind.
Be Confident, Be Humble
Jamie Moyer has immense self-confidence. He’s been dismissed and released by baseball experts many times over his career. But he always finds a way to bounce back, never doubting himself. Yet he’s one of the most unassuming and approachable athletes you’ll ever meet. To know how small we are often makes us big.
As of this writing, Jamie Moyer has 267 career victories, 33 short of the exclusive 300-win club—a guarantee of baseball immortality. My guess is that Jamie is focused on that seemingly impossible goal. Don’t bet against him.
I’d like to leave you with two of my favorite Jamie commercials from over the years.
“The Change Up” celebrates Moyer’s exasperatingly slow but effective off-speed pitch.
“Tribute” is a tongue-in-cheek jab at his age. It was produced in 2006. We thought he was old then.
Take a moment this season to marvel and tip your cap to the amazing #50. He deserves our admiration.