Just Tell Me I Can't: How Jamie Moyer Defied the Radar Gun and Defeated Time

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Overview

Long-time fans of the National Pastime have known Moyer's name for more than 25 years. That's because he's been pitching in the bigs for all those years.

With his trademark three pitches - slow, slower, and slowest - the left-handed Moyer is a pinpoint specialist whose won-lost record actually got better as he got older — from his 20s to his 30s and into 40s. He's only a few wins shy of 300 for his amazing career.

But this is where the book ...

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Just Tell Me I Can't: How Jamie Moyer Defied the Radar Gun and Defeated Time

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Overview

Long-time fans of the National Pastime have known Moyer's name for more than 25 years. That's because he's been pitching in the bigs for all those years.

With his trademark three pitches - slow, slower, and slowest - the left-handed Moyer is a pinpoint specialist whose won-lost record actually got better as he got older — from his 20s to his 30s and into 40s. He's only a few wins shy of 300 for his amazing career.

But this is where the book takes an unusual turn. Moyer was just about finished as a big leaguer in his mid-20s until he fatefully encountered a gravel-voiced, highly confrontational sports psychologist named Harvey Dorfman. Listening to the "in-your-face" insights of Dorfman, Moyer began to re-invent himself and reconstruct his approach to his game. Moyer went on to become an All-Star and also a World Series champion.

Yogi Berra once observed that "Half of this game is 90% mental." And Moyer's memoir proves it.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"It was a dream come true to be drafted by a pro team and have the opportunity to play." In season after season, pitcher Jamie Moyer's dreams kept coming true. In fact, in twenty-five major league seasons (1986-2012), the small-town Pennsylvania boy kept winning, pleasing fans, and eventually setting age records. His success didn't come by overpowering hitters. In fact, announcers joked that this right-hander had three pitches: slower, slower, and slowest. But the hurler who once confessed that he looked at every season as a spring training invite finally hung up his glove more than a quarter century after he had begun. An inspiring autobiography of a mild-mannered, can-do guy.

Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
Whether you love baseball or don't know the infield from the outfield, this unusual memoir—told in the third person—is nevertheless riveting. Pitcher Moyer entered the record books in 2012 at age 49 as the major league's oldest pitcher to win a game. Despite myriad disappointments and nasty injuries over the course of his career, he keeps coming back—and seems only to improve with age: he won more games in his forties than twenties. His success is largely attributed to his mental discipline, a quality he learned to hone from his mentor, the late Harvey Dorfman, who validated the role of sports psychology in baseball. In many ways, Moyer's story testifies to the importance of mental discipline in baseball. The story is made lucid with the help of co-author Platt, former editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, who lived with the Moyer family during the writing process. Together, the two cover the wins and the losses, plus the development of the Moyer Foundation's Camp Erin, the largest collection of child bereavement camps in the country. This is an appealing story of a sportsman with a good heart and a strong mind. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"With his nearly singular combination of competitive will and pitching guile, it seemed as if Jamie Moyer's big league career would never end. Now that it finally has, I have only one regret: There goes the last active player whose IPod playlist might be similar to my own."

— Bob Costas

"Just Tell Me I Can't" has it all. It is loaded with grit and heart and soul. It is written with sweet smoothness and insight. It is also the best book I have ever read on the psychology of that complex and marvelous creature called the pro athlete."

—Buzz Bissinger, author of Father's Day, Three Nights in August and Friday Night Lights

"Fascinating. Once the mind breaks out of its prison, anything, anything is possible: even a 49-year-old, throwing no harder than the kid who lives down your block, pitching in the bigs! Ahhh, but how the mind makes that escape and how it yearns to pass that secret on, that's a book in itself . . . the book laying in your lucky hands."

— Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated

"Jamie was a great competitor and a guy who persevered despite being told 'you can't' time and again. That competitive spirit and belief in himself coupled with a tough stubbornness resulted in a remarkable career that we can all learn from."

— Cal Ripken, Jr.

"Pitching isn't about who throws the hardest. It 's about who can keep the ball in front of the outfielders the best. Jamie Moyer spent a quarter century doing just that, and 'Just Tell Me I Can't' shows how someone who threw 80 miles per hour became the 34th winningest pitcher in baseball history."

— Greg Maddux

From the Publisher
"With his nearly singular combination of competitive will and pitching guile, it seemed as if Jamie Moyer's big league career would never end. Now that it finally has, I have only one regret: There goes the last active player whose IPod playlist might be similar to my own."

-- Bob Costas

"Just Tell Me I Can't" has it all. It is loaded with grit and heart and soul. It is written with sweet smoothness and insight. It is also the best book I have ever read on the psychology of that complex and marvelous creature called the pro athlete."

--Buzz Bissinger, author of Father's Day, Three Nights in August and Friday Night Lights

"Fascinating. Once the mind breaks out of its prison, anything, anything is possible: even a 49-year-old, throwing no harder than the kid who lives down your block, pitching in the bigs! Ahhh, but how the mind makes that escape and how it yearns to pass that secret on, that's a book in itself . . . the book laying in your lucky hands."

-- Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated

"Jamie was a great competitor and a guy who persevered despite being told 'you can't' time and again. That competitive spirit and belief in himself coupled with a tough stubbornness resulted in a remarkable career that we can all learn from."

-- Cal Ripken, Jr.

"Pitching isn't about who throws the hardest. It 's about who can keep the ball in front of the outfielders the best. Jamie Moyer spent a quarter century doing just that, and 'Just Tell Me I Can't' shows how someone who threw 80 miles per hour became the 34th winningest pitcher in baseball history."

-- Greg Maddux

Library Journal
When Larry Platt (Only the Strong Survive: The Odyssey of Allen Iverson) spoke with pitcher Jamie Moyer, baseball’s oldest active player (he’s currently 50!) about coauthoring a memoir, Moyer responded that he didn’t just want some self-obsessed, career chronology. So the successful results here, narrated by Platt rather than Moyer, are more a journey discovering critical points of challenge in a player’s life; they reveal the psychology behind a star player’s ups and downs and what it takes to maintain competitive drive for 30 years. Moyer doesn’t pretend he could have done this alone; his success story is as much about the stoic philosophy of psychologist Harvey Dorfman (The Mental Game of Baseball) as it is revealing of Moyer’s own character.
VERDICT Guided by Dorfman’s maxims as chapter headings, sports journalist Platt places Moyer’s life and career against the mind game of baseball, in the process achieving a rarity among sports memoirs: a non-ego-driven celebration of an all-star athlete. For all fans of the game and especially those interested in sports psychology. —BM

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Platt (Only the Strong Survive: The Odyssey of Allen Iverson, 2002, etc.) tells the story of how Moyer turned a below-average career into the stuff of legend, becoming, at 49, the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win a game. Released from the Texas Rangers in 1990 at the age of 28, Moyer's career might well have been over. Instead, he went on to pitch for six more big-league clubs, win a World Series with his hometown Philadelphia Phillies and rise to No. 35 on the all-time wins list with 269. With a sub–90 mph fastball even in his prime, Moyer's success is a slap in the face to the number-crunching statisticians manning professional baseball's front offices. As the book's title suggests, much of that success is credited to his never-say-die attitude and determination to prove doubters and naysayers--of whom there are many--wrong. Equally as much, if not more, is attributed to his mastery of the mental game, learned through his relationship with baseball psychology guru Harvey Dorfman. Though the book is presented as a memoir by Moyer, it is narrated entirely by Platt, who was there to witness the pitcher's struggles as he attempted to come back yet again following a 2011 injury that should have ended his career. There's more than enough drama in Moyer's unique story to overcome the book's slightly confusing chronology, and the subject comes across as one of professional sports' all-too-rare truly good guys. But the real value here is in the portrait of the mind of an elite pitcher, revealing the inner structures of the game in a way that will deepen even a casual fan's understanding and enjoyment. A fascinating look at one man's improbable athletic journey, offering insight into one of sport's most cerebral positions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455521586
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Pages: 276
  • Sales rank: 698,003
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jamie Moyer turned 50 this past fall, and by all accounts, he has now finished his big league career.. He started pitching in the majors in 1986.

Larry Platt served for years as the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, and has written for the NY Times Magazine, GQ, New York, Men's Journal and many others.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    Excellent account of struggle, perseverance and the search for perfecting your skills

    Even if you're not a baseball fan, but most especially if you are, you will appreciate Jamie Moyer's tenacity when it comes to perfecting his craft and searching for the mental toughness needed to succeed in the game of baseball and the game of life. I thoroughly enjoyed all the wisdom that he shared even in the face of constant adversity. His "old school" attitude is what's missing in today's superstar athletes. There's no "I" in team...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    Informative, insightful and inspiring! Moyer provides an inform

    Informative, insightful and inspiring! Moyer provides an informative retrospective on memorable teams (Mariners & Phillies) from the mid 1990s - late 2000s, insights into the art of pitching plus living an inspired life through helping others. His approach to his craft reminds the reader that patience, persistence and hard work are the foundation of success. Moyer's charitable outreach to children facing grave illness is very touching and heartwarming. Finally, his valedictory pitching feats in the minor leagues is a stirring tribute to the timeless attraction of baseball to all generations.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Great story, not a great telling of it.

    I'm not a sports fan, but I enjoy stories of the determined soul who pursues their dream, even if it is playing ball. This is an enjoyable tale with a likeable star, though the book jumps around and is really spare on baseball stories - especially when you consider Jamie Moyer had a 25 year career in the game. I heard Moyer on the radio, so I'm at a loss to understand the disconnect between the great story he tells, and the way it comes across in the book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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