MLB Notebook: Moyer bonds generations
On Sept. 12, 1901, right-hander Joe (Iron Man) McGinnity started both ends of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics. McGinnity's mound opponent in the first game of the twin bill was southpaw Eddie Plank, who was on his way to finishing his rookie season with 17 victories.
A decade later, on Aug. 20, 1911, Plank made a start against St. Louis Browns lefty Earl Hamilton, and he helped lead the eventual World Champion A's to one of their 101 victories on the season.
By 1921, Plank was out of the Majors and in the record books as the winningest left-hander in Major League history, with 326 victories, but Hamilton was still twirling a baseball. On Aug. 22 of that season, Hamilton picked up his 96th career win, beating the Boston Braves, 10-8. The final pitcher for the Boston team that day was southpaw Johnny Cooney, who would go on to claim 34 victories in a career that began on the mound and ended in 1944 as an outfielder.
On April 19, 1942, Cooney was in center field for the Braves, affording him an interesting perspective as a southpaw named Warren Spahn made his Major League debut and pitched two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief.
Twenty-three years later, on Sept. 27, 1965, after 363 victories, Spahn made his final Major league start, going 4 1/3 innings before being lifted in the top of the fifth. In the bottom half of that same inning, another left-hander named Steve Carlton made his penultimate appearance of the season, pitching a scoreless inning of relief and fanning two, to give him a career total of 20 strikeouts.
Carlton would, of course, make his way past 300 victories, and on June 16, 1986, stood only 26 strikeouts away from becoming the second pitcher in history with at least 4,000. On that June day, Carlton picked up a pair of K's, with his first coming in the second inning. Carlton's 3,975th career strikeout victim was a 23-year-old pitcher named Jamie Moyer, who was making his Major League debut and starting a career that has now spanned 25 seasons with 267 wins.
From Plank to Hamilton to Cooney to Spahn to Carlton to Moyer: an unbroken chain capturing the entire modern era of baseball, featuring six southpaws, and producing 1,434 victories.
At 49 years and 141 days old, the Rockies' Moyer became the second-oldest pitcher to make a start, behind only Satchel Paige (59 years and 80 days) on Sept. 25, 1965. In that game, Paige went the first three innings for the Athletics, and allowed one hit in three scoreless innings, striking out one.
Moyer took the loss in his first Major League appearance since July 20, 2010, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings.
Before Moyer's start Saturday, Phil Niekro (48 years and 179 days) had been the second oldest, behind Paige. In this start, Moyer surrendered a home run to Jordan Schafer to lead off the game. Schafer, who is more than 23 years younger than Moyer, hit the 512th home run allowed by the veteran left-hander, extending Moyer's Major League record.
A game after dueling for 16 innings in the longest Opening Day in the modern era, the Blue Jays defeated the Indians, 7-4, in 12 innings. This two-game storyline marked just the fourth time since 1901 that a pair of teams opened up the season against each other and played at least 12 innings in each of the first two games, and the first since the Red Sox and Orioles went 12 innings in the 1969 opener and 13 innings in Game 2.
Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez allowed two runs on one hit in seven innings pitched. Jimenez's effort followed Justin Masterson's Opening Day line of allowing two hits in eight innings. The two outings marked the first time in the live-ball era that a team's starters in its first two games of the season each went at least seven innings and allowed no more than two hits.
The Tigers -- behind two homers from No. 3 hitter Miguel Cabrera and two more from cleanup hitter Prince Fielder -- beat the Red Sox, 10-0. The last time Detroit got multi-homer games from both their Nos. 3 and 4 hitters was on July 4, 1968, when Jim Northrup (batting third) and Norm Cash (batting cleanup) did it.
Fielder's multi-homer effort came in his 1,000th career game and was his 23rd career contest with at least two homers. Those 23 through a player's first 1,000 games tied Fielder with Chuck Klein, Roger Maris, Reggie Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, Vinny Castilla, Todd Helton and Mark Teixeira for the 21st most since 1918. Ralph Kiner had the most, with 34.
In his first appearance with the Tigers, Octavio Dotel pitched 1 1/3 third innings of scoreless relief and struck out three. With the appearance, Dotel set a new Major League record by appearing with his 13th different franchise. Dotel has pitched for the Astros (302 games), White Sox (134), Athletics (60), Pirates (41), Blue Jays (36), Cardinals (29), Royals (24), Dodgers (19), Mets (19), Yankees (14), Braves (9), Rockies (8) and Tigers (1).
Playing in his fourth Major League game, the Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes homered for the third time.
Since 1918, Cespedes is the third player to hit a homer in three of his first four Major League games. The other two: Mike Jacobs and Trent Oeltjen.
Since 1918, Cespedes is the third player, joining Enos Slaughter and Coco Laboy, to have at least one extra-base hit in each of his first four Major League games.
1918-2012: Most multi-hit games
Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 for his 908th career multi-hit game. Since 1918, Jeter's 908 are the 10th most.
Paul Konerko, playing in his 2,000th career game, went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Konerko, the 227th player to play in at least 2,000 contests, owns a career 121 OPS+ -- tying him with George Davis, Heinie Manush, Al Oliver, Ron Cey, Dave Parker and Dale Murphy for 98th among this group of 227.
Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon reached base safely five times (three hits and two walks) and stole three bases in Los Angeles' extra-innings victory over the Padres. Gordon is the first Dodgers shortstop to reach base safely at least five times and also steal at least three bases since Davey Lopes in 1975.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.