PHILADELPHIA -- Only eight pitchers have won 20 or more games in a season after they turned 39.
Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer is the most recent hurler to accomplish the feat, winning 21 for the Mariners in 2003 when he was 40. This weekend, however, Moyer may have some company.
The Yankees' Mike Mussina, 39, who has 19 wins, will take the ball Sunday in New York's season finale. The right-hander has gotten close to 20 wins -- finishing with 19 while with the Orioles in 1995 and '96 -- but has never reached the 20-win plateau.
Moyer had a front-row seat for Mussina's 19-win campaign in '95, when both he and Mussina pitched for Baltimore.
"I wish Mike the best," Moyer said. "He's never had a 20-win season. He's worked for it this year."
Moyer, 45, is often asked about his own longevity and how he has been so successful on the mound as the Major League's oldest player. The left-hander has been the Phillies' most consistent starting pitcher, leading the team with 15 wins. Between early June and late August, Moyer reeled off 14 consecutive starts in which he allowed three earned runs or fewer.
Twenty-game winners after age of 39
|If Mike Mussina is able to secure his 20th victory on Sunday, he would become the oldest pitcher to do so since Jamie Moyer won 21 games at age 40 for the 2003 Mariners, and he would also be the oldest first-time 20-game winner. Only eight pitchers have won 20 games after their 39th birthday.|
|Phil Niekro ||ATL||1979|
|Warren Spahn ||MIL ||1960, '61, '63 |
|Pete Alexander||STL ||1927|
|Eddie Plank||STL ||1915|
|Cy Young||BOS||1907, '08|
The veteran lefty barely flinches, however, when the question of his age comes up.
"To me, it's a responsibility to be a starting pitcher and give our team a chance to win," Moyer said. "When I'm sitting in my rocking chair in five or 10 years, maybe I'll look back on this stuff. I'm proud to have the opportunity to wear a uniform and I cherish this."
Still, Moyer appreciates everything Mussina had to go through to reach the verge of the 20-win plateau. Moyer recalled how Mussina struggled in 2007 and at one point was dropped from New York's rotation.
"To see where he's come full circle, I tip my hat to him," Moyer said. "To me, that just shows the kind of person he is and the kind of perseverance that he's had. For him, you can't write the script any better."
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.