Former MLB pitcher aids new baseball team

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Former MLB pitcher aids new baseball team

Jamie Moyer instructs BJU pitcher Henry Wallach during practice. Photo: Lindsay Shaleen

Jamie Moyer, former MLB pitcher and World Series winner, came to BJU for a week in January to assist Bruins baseball coach Brent Casteel in training the University’s baseball team for their upcoming inaugural season.

At the end of Moyer’s stay on Jan. 30, Casteel hosted an event in the DFH for young baseball teams and their coaches from schools in surrounding states to learn from Moyer’s successful 25- year pitching career. “I was a kid just like a lot of these kids are,” Moyer said. “Follow your dreams and you never know what can happen.”

Casteel contacted teams through FieldLevel, a recruiting network between college coaches and high school coaches, to invite them to the event. Casteel said training the Bruins and speaking at the event for local teams gave Moyer another opportunity to give baseball back what it gave to him. “[Moyer] just loves baseball,” Casteel said. “So it’s a great opportunity for him to come do exactly what he loves to do: bring the game and give it to someone else.”

Henry Wallach, sophomore Bruins pitcher, said the first day Moyer came to train with them Moyer spent an hour just talking to them before practice. “Everything he said was important, new knowledge pouring in,” Wallach said. “I have pages of notes back in the dorm.”

Adrian Lasval, freshman first baseman, said Moyer shared much more than just his experience pitching. “[He knows] the little things; things that I would have never thought of as a first baseman,” Lasval said.

Jamie Moyer speaks in the DFH to a crowd of middle school and high
school baseball teams and their coaches. Photo: Heath Parish

“I think he helped every position in some way,” Josh Crane, senior Bruins pitcher, said. “He worked with us individually, he worked with the whole team, and just being able to talk to him, ask him tons of questions about his professional career and just apply them to our own personal lives too has been awesome.”

Casteel and Moyer were in the same professional baseball draft in 1984 and played their first and third seasons together for the Chicago Cubs. Moyer pitched for eight MLB teams over 25 years and achieved at least one win over every team in the league. By the time he retired, he was the oldest active player in the MLB at 49 years old and had appeared in MLB games in four different decades.

“You have to be willing to deal with failure or setbacks,” Moyer said. “Usually we learn the most when we’re in those situations if we’re willing to listen and take a step back and evaluate. To me, you learn more when you’re failing.”

Moyer had a variety of obstacles to overcome over the course of his career. When he was 16 he narrowly avoided having his leg amputated after an injury he sustained from sliding into base got infected. As he grew older during his career, he had trouble with his elbow and needed to recover from pulled groin muscles.

Jamie Moyer instructs BJU pitcher Henry Wallach during practice. Photo: Lindsay Shaleen

Moyer also explained during the event that because he always had a low pitching speed at early-mid 80s, he had to work hard to learn how to succeed by perseverance and training. “Sometimes it’s hard to get up and work when nobody else is working,” Moyer said. “Find a way to get better. When you’re sleeping, somebody else is working out. Somebody else is training. Somebody else is getting better.”

Moyer stressed the importance of using your mindset as a tool, saying that changing his mental discipline changed his entire career. “I can do this,” Moyer said. “That was one of my phrases, ‘I can do this.’ I worked on it for the rest of my career, and my career changed.”

Coach Harold Shepard from Pisgah High School in Canton, North Carolina, came to the event with three other coaches from PHS. “I was excited because it was an opportunity to make contact with coach Casteel and also Jamie Moyer, because I am a Phillies fan,” Shepard said.

After a Q&A session and signing several baseballs in a giveaway, Moyer spoke with individual guests, including giving advice to Gabriel Swarms, a North Moore High School student from Robbins, North Carolina, on how to better throw a change-up pitch. After attending this event and learning more about the opportunity, Swarms said he would be interested in attending BJU to play for the baseball team in the future.