Once upon a time, Moyer a Tigers product

Once upon a time, Moyer a Tigers product

CLEVELAND -- Twenty years ago Thursday, Jamie Moyer signed with the Tigers. Doesn't ring a bell? That's because he wasn't the big league pitcher he is now, and he never made it to Detroit.

Twenty years later, it's the stuff of legend, because 1992 was the last season Moyer pitched without appearing in the Majors.

The left-hander was a 29-year-old finesse pitcher looking for a job after the Cubs released him at the end of Spring Training. The Tigers were looking for pitching depth at Triple-A Toledo after an injury opened a spot in the Mud Hens rotation. They called Moyer, who was waiting for a shot somewhere but took a shot in Toledo, not far from his then home in South Bend, Ind.

Moyer went 10-8 with a 2.86 ERA in 21 games, 20 of them starts, for the Hens. That included five complete games. He told the Toledo Blade's John Wagner years later that he learned lessons from that stint that helped him down the road, as well as picking up some much-needed confidence.

He did not earn a roster spot. With Frank Tanana still pitching in Detroit, the Tigers were reportedly reluctant to add another finesse lefty to their rotation. Both were gone by season's end.

Moyer signed with the Orioles that winter and went 6-0 at Triple-A Rochester to earn his opportunity in Baltimore. The rest is history.