Just Tell Me I Can't

How Jamie Moyer Defied the Radar Gun and Defeated Time


By Jamie Moyer

By Larry Platt

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An extraordinary — and surprising — memoir from Jamie Moyer, who at age 49 became the oldest pitcher to ever win a game in the major leagues.

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.


  • "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

  • 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.

    -- Library Journal
  • A fascinating look at one man's improbable athletic journey, offering insight into one of sport's most cerebral positions.

  • A fascinating look at one man's improbable athletic journey, offering insight into one of sport's most cerebral positions... This is an appealing story of a sportsman with a good heart and a strong mind.

    -- Publisher's Weekly

On Sale
Sep 2, 2014
Page Count
288 pages

Jamie Moyer

About the Author

Jamie Moyer is now fifty-one years old, and by all accounts he has now finished his big league career, although he occasionally is still asked if he might return to the mound. 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 New York Times Magazine, GQ, New York, Men’s Journal, and many others.

Learn more about this author