Jamie Moyer wants to pitch again.
I repeat, soon to be 49-year old Jamie Moyer wants to pitch again. And according to Ken Rosenthal, he just may be able to.
Last week Rosenthal tweeted, “Jamie Moyer threw for scouts last Thursday in SD area. Reports from scouts excellent. Nearly a year removed from TJ. Turns 49 Nov. 18.”
It got me thinking (always dangerous) about some other ancient athletes:
Soccer – Sir Stanley Matthews
“The Wizard of Dribble” played five days past his 50th birthday and is the only player to have been knighted while still playing. Matthews’ longevity can be credited to being a vegetarian and teetotaler (alcohol-free). Matthews was the oldest player to ever play in England’s top division and the oldest player ever to represent the country.
Remarkably, playing as long as he did, Matthews was never booked or sent off. I can’t say the same for my infinitely briefer career. I was the king of cards, mainly for telling the ref to go “f*** himself.” The official term is dissent.
Matthews made 783 club appearances and was capped 54 times for England before retiring. The former Stoke City and Blackpool legend toured the globe after his playing days, setting up coaching clinics. He gave up his summers every year between 1953 and 1978 to coach poor children in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania.
In 1975, he ignored apartheid and formed an all-black schoolboys team called “Stan’s Men.” They told him it was their dream to one day play in Brazil, and so Matthews organized a trip there. The trip marked the first ever black team to tour outside of South Africa.
Pele, perhaps the greatest soccer player of all time, said Matthews was “the man who taught us the way football should be played.” Enough said.
The International Federation of Football History & Statistics voted Matthews the 11th greatest player of the 20th century (the second best Englishman, one spot below Sir Bobby Charlton). There are two statues of Matthews, one in his hometown Hanley, and another outside Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium, where his ashes are buried at midfield.
Surfing – Kelly Slater
On Wednesday, Slater earned a record 11th Association of Surfing Professionals world title. At 39, Slater has the distinction of being the youngest (20) and oldest world champion in professional surfing history. In his 20-year career, he’s won a record 48 tour events, more than $3 million in prize money, and as we mentioned, those 11 world titles.
He’s also appeared in 10 episodes of “Baywatch,” had his own video game and has dated a healthy stable of beauties. I think he caught Pamela Anderson in between her third and fourth boob job and got to Gisele Bundchen before Tom Brady. Who knows what 40 might bring? He’s far from washed up. He’s currently being linked with Cameron Diaz after her split with Justin Timberlake. Good for Cameron, finally going for someone her own age.
Track and field – John Whittemore
My grandpa competes in Masters swimming events, you know competition for those whose diet consists of pills and soft food. But at 85, he’s still tearing up the pool at the YMCA. I just hope it’s in the genes (though it’s worth mentioning those traits which allowed my uncle to win an Olympic silver medal escaped my genetic makeup). But Grandpa has a ways to go before he catches John Whittemore.
Credited as the world’s oldest athlete before his death in 2000, Whittemore competed all the way up until six weeks shy of his 105th birthday. Again, it was in a Masters event, not the Olympics, but still. He threw the javelin and discus and said at the time, “Where am I?” No seriously, he said, “If I don’t drop it on my foot, I set a world record.”
A former Stanford baseball and tennis player, Whittemore served in both World Wars (Army in WWI; Navy in WWII).