Cubs Blew Second Chance With Moyer

By Chris Rewers on Saturday, May 8, 2010

When 47-year-old Philadelphia left-hander Jamie Moyer pitched a two-hit, complete-game shutout in the Phillies' 7-0 victory over Atlanta on Friday, he became the oldest hurler in major league history to pitch a complete-game shutout. It was Moyer's 234th major league victory since the Cubs traded him to the Texas Rangers on Dec. 5, 1988.

That trade - which sent Moyer, outfielder Rafael Palmiero, and pitcher Drew Hall to the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Mitch Williams and Steve Wilson, and infielder Curtis Wilkerson - was made during the tenure of general manager Jim Frey. Lesser known is the fact that in 1992 Moyer rejoined the Cubs as a non-roster player in spring training, but that he was released by GM Larry Himes near the end of camp.

A 23-year-old Moyer debuted for the Cubs on June 16, 1986. Moyer worked into the seventh inning to best Hall-of-Famer Steve Carlton in the Cubs' 7-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Moyer went 7-4 in his rookie season and followed up with a 12-15 effort in 1987. During the Cubs 1987 All-Star Break Special on WGN-TV, teammate Rick Sutcliffe marveled at Moyer's ability to retire hitters.

"The guy's fastball couldn't break a window pane," Sutcliffe said with a laugh.

But Moyer's soft-tossing style, according to George Castle in The Million-To-One Team (Diamond Communications, Inc., 2000). did not sit well with new Cubs manager Don Zimmer in 1988. Moyer went 9-15 with a respectable 3.48 ERA in '88, but was considered expendable.

After his trade to Texas, Moyer went 6-15 in two seasons with the Rangers before being released. He signed with St. Louis, but went 0-5 with the Cardinals in 1991. He was released following the season.

Moyer signed a non-roster, free-agent contract with the Cubs and went to their Mesa camp in 1992.

But he was released by Himes on March 30 and asked if he would be interested in becoming a minor-league pitching coach.

Moyer declined. He still thought he had a few more wins left in his left arm. He signed a minor-league contract with the Tigers and went 10-8 in '92. His journey continues.

The Cubs rotation to open 1992:

* Greg Maddux

* Danny Jackson

* Mike Morgan

* Frank Castillo

* Shawn Boskie

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