Successful baseball is not about getting it right all the time, said major league legend Jamie Moyer. Rather, he attributes his 26-year MLB career to his ability to be consistent as a person, on and off the field.
“We become better people through life experiences,” he said. “We learn from the successes and the failures and baseball is the same way.”
Moyer and Tom McNamara, a scout for the Seattle Mariners, were guest speakers at the West Coast League All-Star luncheon prior to the game Monday, July 20. Players and coaches from the North and South teams were introduced and the guests imparted their knowledge of the game upon the young players.
A question Moyer challenges the All-Star players to ask themselves is if they are All Stars in their communities — off the field — when they think the coaches and scouts are not watching their performances.
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“As a player, as a professional athlete, sometimes I feel I am put on a pedestal,” he said. “But I’m no different from you or the woman who walked in the door with coffee just now. We are all equal.”
Looking back at his own two years of summer league baseball, more than 30 years ago, Moyer can still remember the individuals he played with and the valuable experience he gained bonding over a shared dream with strangers.
“Baseball brings a lot of people together from many walks of life, for many reasons,” he said. “But it creates a memory.”
The most important thing Moyer said an athlete can learn is how to deal with failure.
An example he gives is that in baseball, getting it right one third of the time makes for a good record, but that still means two thirds of the time a player is dealing with failure. It is in dealing with those moments when the hit does not connect, or the catch is missed, or something else entirely out of control happens, that a player learns who they are.
Being yourself, someone your team members can talk to, even when losing, is essential, Moyer said.
The West Coast League is summer ball, meaning the players are coming from all over the country to play together, immediately following their spring collegiate season. This is the closest thing to the hustle of professional baseball a player can experience at this level, Moyer said. It is a busy time, with games nearly every night, but it is then that players need to get in the habit of managing their time efficiently.
Moyer’s advice is to never cut corners in practice, to give one hundred percent to every drill. For himself, his greatest preparation was always running.
As a scout, McNamara agreed that the best thing a player can do is get out there and play baseball every day.
“It’s a game of repetition,” he said. “The more you put into the game, the more the game will give back.”
McNamara spends the entire year studying players, focusing on stats and traveling. Summer leagues give him the opportunity to notice players who are focused on the game and then follow their careers into the fall and the next year. The Mariners have scouts at all the summer All-Star games, he said.
Moyer and McNamara agree that who a person is off the field can be what elevates them to the next level.
A baseball career will not last forever, Moyer said. Players need to feed into their life outside of the sport as well.
Since his retirement from the major league in 2012, Moyer has focused his time and energy into expanding his non-profit, The Moyer Foundation.
Moyer and his wife began the foundation in 2000 to help children in distress due to death in the family or substance abuse in the home. Now, there are centers in every major league city across the country.
Being a role model is something near and dear to his heart and baseball is the platform he loves to work from. Now, the baseball community is recognizing Moyer’s dedicaiton by awarding him the ninth place in the Mariners Hall of Fame.
Moyer, who spent 11 seasons with the Mariners, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at Safeco Field, before the Mariners take on the Rangers, Saturday, August 8.