KRISTIE RIEKEN,AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — When 50-year-old Roger Clemens pitches for the Sugar Land Skeeters on Saturday night, he’ll join a line of athletes who competed when they were closer to their getting their AARP cards than being in their physical prime.
Here’s a look at some of them.
Jamie Moyer: It’s unclear if Clemens has signed with the independent league Skeeters in hopes of resuscitating a major league career that ended in 2007 after 24 seasons. But he may have gained inspiration from Moyer, who became the oldest starting pitcher to win a major league game earlier this season, when he did it at 49 for the Colorado Rockies. He was the fifth man since 1965 to play a major league game after his 49th birthday, and the first since Julio Franco appeared in a game for Atlanta in September 2007.
Moyer, who will turn 50 on Nov. 18, went 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 10 games for the Rockies before he was released. But his lackluster performance and advanced age didn’t stop the Orioles and Blue Jays from signing him to minor league deals. He was released by both teams before appearing in a major league game for either.
Nancy Lieberman: The Hall of Famer broke her own record as the oldest player to appear in a WNBA game when, at 50, she signed a seven-day contract and played one game for the Detroit Shock in 2008. She played nine minutes and had two assists and missed her only shot in Detroit’s 79-61 loss to the Houston Comets.
She had previously been the oldest woman to play in the WNBA when she played for the Phoenix Mercury in 1997 at age 39. Lieberman led Old Dominion to two national titles and won a silver medal as part of the U.S. Olympic team in Montreal in 1976.
Gordie Howe: Howe made his NHL debut in 1946 when he was just 18. His last full season didn’t come until 1980 when at 52 he played in all 80 games for Hartford Whalers and scored 15 goals. But Mr. Hockey wasn’t done just yet. The Detroit Vipers of the IHL signed Howe to a one-game contract in 1997. At 70 years old he played one shift for the Vipers to become the only hockey player to appear in a professional game in six different decades.
Dara Torres: Torres won three silver medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 at age 41. She had already retired twice when she became the oldest swimmer to ever earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing and was the first one to compete in five Olympics. Now 45, she narrowly missed making the London Olympic team.
George Blanda: The deceased Hall of Famer was a quarterback and kicker. He signed with the Chicago Bears in 1949 and spent the next 26 seasons playing professional football in both the NFL and AFL. He was 48 when he played his last game on Jan. 4, 1976, for the Oakland Raiders, and remains the oldest player to ever appear in an NFL game. He kicked a field goal and made an extra point in that 16-10 loss to Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game.
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