At this point, this raises the question of how much does Moyer need to accomplish in the 2010s to be the greatest 47-and up pitcher of all time.
By even making it to 47, he will pass several pitchers on the all-time oldest pitchers list as several pitchers called it a career at 46. When he makes his first pitch this year, he will be the sixth pitcher in history to pitch in the big leagues at 47 and older. He will join the company of:
A hall of fame pitcher who is in despite what he did after turning 47, not because of what he did. His age 47 year was respectable 11-11 4.32 era 96 ERA+ respectable but not all star worthy. However, his age-48 year the bottom fell out as he went 7-13 6.30 era 72 ERA+ with 3 different teams. An example of being able to use the knuckleball to extend a career deep into middle age.
Another 47+ pitcher, another knuckleballer (and another Hall of Famer). Wilhelm had a bit more success going 6-5 with a 3.40 era 127 ERA+ and 13 saves in his age 47 year. In limited duty in his age 48 season he was effective going 0-1 2.70 era 122+ before retiring after struggling in his age-49 year.
The first non-knuckleballer and non-hall of famer to make it to 47. Although he is in the unique pitch category, as he was one of the last pitchers legally allowed to throw the spitball. Like Wilhelm, Quinn enjoyed some success after his 47th birthday, leading the NL in saves in his age 47 and 48 seasons.
1 game, 2 innings in his age-47 season.
Pitched 1 game, 3 innings at age-58.
What will Moyer's likely place in history be?
Looking at historical precedent, a pretty good shot to re-write the record books in some areas. Two of the five pitchers (Altrock and Paige) are on the list due to single appearances.
Versus the other three pitchers, Moyer is the only one not to have a specialty pitch that is known for being difficult to hit, although he has a really slow fastball.
It's unlikely he'll be an all-star at this point of his career (like Wilhelm) although it is conceivable he could have the best starting pitching season for a 47-year old (Niekro had a respectable season but Moyer is still capable of pitching at an average to slightly above average level).
A close look at the numbers provided by Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster indicate he could have a solid season. His decreased strike percentage is a cause for concern but his hr/f rate was the highest in 5 years indicating he could give up less homers and thus improve on his disappointing 2009 numbers. Either way, it should be fun to see Moyer strive to make some history in the new decade.