Dave Martinez and I got called up together from Des Moines. That's a story in itself. We were in Omaha, finishing up a series. Jim Colborn was the pitching coach and Larry Cox was our manager. I went out and got on the bus, and Jim came out to the bus and said, "Jamie, come here." You have to know Jim Colborn a little bit. Very dry humor, a different type of person, but a great guy. He looks at me with this question mark on his face, and says, "Do you think you're ready to pitch in the big leagues?"
And I said, "I don't know. Do you?"
He said, "I don't know. Do you think you're ready to pitch in the big leagues?"
I said, "I don't know."
I'd been playing, total time at this point, two years in professional baseball.
He said, "Well, they want you there tomorrow."
And I said, "Yeah, right."
He says, "No, go talk to Larry. He wants to talk to you."
So I went back in the clubhouse and Larry says, "Yeah, they called you up and they want you there tomorrow." So now, my head is just spinning. He says, "By the way, they're going to call Dave up."
I think, what a coincidence. We were roommates, not only on the road but in Des Moines together. So, we take a bus back to Des Moines and pack the apartment the whole night and we had maybe an hour of sleep. We get up the next day, and the trainer says, "Don't worry, you'll have a ticket at the airport. Just go to the ticket counter, get your ticket and get on the plane."
So, we go to the airport and no tickets. Fortunately, I had gotten the phone number of somebody in case we had a problem, so I called and they came to the airport. They finally got the tickets and we made the flight. Now, Dave's got all this baggage and I've got all my baggage, and we weren't smart enough to take two separate cabs. So, we tried to put everything in one cab. We had to tie the trunk down, the backseat was full, I'm in the front seat, we had bags on our laps. We pull up to Wrigley Field to the players' lot across from the firehouse and we have all of our stuff and it's BP time. We were late, but it was the first flight we could get out. We walk up to the gate and they say, "What are you guys doing?"
"Can you tell us how to get to the clubhouse?"
"Well, I can't let you in."
"We were just called up from Des Moines."
"Well, who are you?"
"Dave Martinez and Jamie Moyer."
"Well, I can't let you in. Nobody said you could come in."
So, we finally talked our way in and unloaded the cab and just set our bags in the parking lot. We get inside and guys were out on the field. My locker was up toward Yosh [Kawano's] room, and I got dressed quick and went out on the field and didn't get much done. We went back in the clubhouse, and one of the first memories I have of being on the team was going out for the national anthem -- I was late -- and we had to be in the dugout at a certain time. So, I'm standing there, and I took my hat off and put it over my heart and my hand is just quivering. And Leon Durham was standing beside me, and in the middle of the national anthem he goes, "Don't worry, kid. We've all been that way." It was just like a ton of bricks fell off my shoulders. That's a fond memory I have of him saying that. I was just so nervous -- and rightly so. I think most people are when they come to the big leagues for the first time. I didn't know anybody. I never had been in a big city, never had been in a big league camp.
Note: Martinez made his big league debut for the Cubs on June 15, 1986, starting in center field against St. Louis and went 0-for-3. Moyer made his Major League debut the next day and beat the Phillies and Steve Carlton. Moyer gave up four earned runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings and picked up the win in a 7-5 decision. In December 1988, Moyer was part of nine-player deal with Texas, as the Cubs acquired closer Mitch Williams. The lefty did return to the Cubs in January 1992, but was released in March that year. The Cubs did offer him a coaching job at that time but Moyer turned it down. As he says, "I've always believed I could pitch."