As far as Kevin Sharp was concerned, it truly was a Kodak Moment for
at IMG Academies baseball program in Bradenton,
“Last spring I saw Jamie (Moyer) and the two boys (Dillon and Hutton)
walk onto our field. Karen (Mrs. Moyer) followed with the stroller and five
kids. I said, ‘Wow! It looks like the Brady Bunch.’’'
That was the introduction Sharp, who is head baseball coach, had to the
Moyer family, which wound up moving from Seattle (Wash.)
last fall so that the oldest boys – Dillon, a junior shortstop, and Hutton, a
freshman second baseman – could concentrate on baseball and follow their dreams
for the future.
Jamie, still a standout pitcher at age 46 for the world champion
Philadelphia Phillies, told MaxPreps, “We were kind of looking at IMG for
something to do on a short spring training day (the Phillies train at nearby Clearwater). We were
nosing around the soccer area (Hutton also is a standout soccer player) and
Dillon saw the baseball facilities. He kind of blurted out, ‘I’d like to play
college baseball’ and our second guy said, ‘Me, too.’’’
Not long after that visit, Dillon gave up his chance to be the starting
football quarterback (last fall) at Seattle O’Dea and Hutton passed on a
promising soccer career. It was to be baseball or bust from then on.
Sharp revealed that Jamie Moyer, “wasn’t exactly sure how good his boys
were. He said, ‘You have to tell me how good my sons are.’ He needed to see how
they compared with the best in the country.”
“So far the boys have done very well,” Jamie noted. “They’ve worked
very hard and done well on their grades. The cool thing is going to school with
kids from all over the world. It’s a good culture to be raised in. Our goal for
them is to go to college and play baseball. If the skill level takes them
beyond, so be it.”
Another big plus for Jamie, in particular, is that after years of being
in pro ball during his boys’ baseball season, he was able to watch more than a
dozen of their games this spring before heading to Philadelphia.
"I’ve probably seen them play
more this year than in their whole lives,” he said happily. “Both have a strong
desire to succeed and have learned the game in a lot of ways. I never really
pushed them (to play). I tried to motivate them but never push them. It’s just great to see them happy.”
Karen, who was a talented basketball player, understands the value of
playing in Florida
weather. She told MaxPreps, “My son (Dillon) was rained out of most of the
baseball season (all but 10 games) as a sophomore and he was frustrated. We
decided to move rather than to board them. It’s proven well worth it for many
“We had a really busy life in Seattle.
Moving to Florida
has simplified that. Jamie is home during spring training (commuting 45 miles
most days). It’s convenient to go to games and practices. A lot of times we
have all the kids over for meals.”
When they were small, Dillon and Hutton would drive Karen crazy playing
ball with anything they could find – including rolled-up socks. “I always
screamed, ‘No balls in the house!’ ’’ she admitted. “One thing I didn’t
encourage,” she added, “was for them to pitch. Someone would say (brag) that
they hit a home run off Jamie Moyer’s kid.”
Though Dillon and Hutton did some spot pitching in Little League, they
basically played the infield – and they also played many other sports along the
“Like Jamie, they always were a step ahead,” says paternal grandfather
Jim Moyer. “They always played something – they whipped me in golf. They are
Just 20 months apart, Dillon and Hutton both say they felt no pressure
at all to play sports, but just took to them naturally, loving every minute of
it. Their favorite sport was whatever was in season at the time.
Dillon summed it all up nicely when he said, “I’ve been around it all
my life. It’s what I know.” Hutton added, “Ever since we were born, we have
loved every sport.”
Surprisingly, one of their earliest favorites was ice hockey while
growing up in South Bend, Ind. One of Dillon’s first idols, in fact,
was NHL superstar Wayne Gretzky, who once came to their house for dinner. Later
on they followed the likes of Cal Ripken, Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr.
As they reached school age (kindergarten, first grade) they began
realizing that dad was more than dad, because other students would talk to them
in somewhat awed tones. The result was that, “People looked up to us and we
were leaders to them,” Hutton related. “He’s still dad, but it’s really cool to
see him on TV.”
Asked about pressure of being Jamie Moyer’s son, Dillon replied, “I
don’t feel any. There probably is some, but I guess I’m just used to it. I just
feel baseball runs in our blood. After seeing them win the World Series, it’d
be hard to pick anything else.”
Hutton agrees: “There’s no pressure. I hope to do the same thing he
(Jamie) did and win a World Series title. We’re a little advanced on the mental
After first watching Dillon work out, Sharp recalled, “When I saw his
athleticism, I knew he was going to be my starting shortstop right away. Our
shortstop was a fifth-round draft pick and he (Dillon) filled that role very
admirably. He’d still be our shortstop if he hit a buck-35 (.135).
“You can’t describe the intangibles he brings. He made at least seven
great plays (this spring). He’s a very old-school type of player. He controls
the bat very well, is a situational hitter and plays great defense.”
Last fall the Moyer brothers actually were teamed as a slick
double-play combination during four weeks of intrasquad games.
Coach Sharp explained, “We had four teams and played our own in-house
World Series. They are mirror images. They played on the same team as if they
were Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker (former Detroit Tigers middle infielders).
They were seamless. We work six days a week with that seventh day off. Dillon
and Hutton always come back to the ball park. It just never stops for them.
Their social life revolves around baseball. They are mature beyond their
Sharp loses his team leader through graduation, but he emphasizes, “I
can’t wait until next year. (Dillon) will take that role and run with it. He’ll
be our leader by example. He’s the most mature kid I’ve ever met.”
Adds IMG baseball director Ken Bolek, “Dillon is the type of player
that you can build a team around, because he has accountability. He’s very
heady and extremely consistent. He’s shown some power lately. We did some
things with his hitting – changed his bat angle. He’s hit two home runs and two
balls off the wall since then. He hits to the entire field, so he’ll have a
Dillon batted a fancy .377 this spring with a .534 on-base percentage.
He had four doubles, two home runs, scored 33 runs and drove in 15 from the
leadoff spot. He also drew 22 walks and struck out just 12 times in 77 at-bats.
He runs the 60-yard dash in 6.8 seconds and has great instincts on the basepaths.
Hutton, who is 5-foot-5 and 110 pounds, played on the JV team this
spring. A switch hitter, he batted a solid .290, drove in 10 runs, walked eight
times and scored eight times in 31-at-bats. He fanned only three times.
“As he matures into his body, he can play any of the infield
positions,” Sharp predicted. Hutton isn’t worried, because he anticipates a big
growth spurt sooner or later. His dad was only 5-9, 145 pounds as a high school
senior and he grew to be 6-0, 180.
“We all anxiously await his growth spurt,” laughed Bolek, who
affectionately has nicknamed him ‘Hulk.’ “He’s very athletic and doesn’t allow
the game to overpower him. A couple times he wanted to revert to batting
right-handed, but we told him to make a decision and stick with it.”
The brothers remain close, but love to needle each other. When Dillon
hit his first home run, the family was in Philadelphia,
prompting Hutton to ask, “What Little League field was it on?”
Dillon tells Hutton “Oh, you’re tiny – you can talk to me when you grow
up.” Then Hutton (a 4.2 student) can ask his older brother about his grades (he
has only a 3.5 average). And so it goes.
The Phillies’ surprise World Series championship last fall will
continue to send sweet vibes through the Moyer family for years to come. First
of all, they won the crown on the very day that Jamie and Karen were
celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. Jamie never again will
have a valid excuse to forget his anniversary!
Hutton related, “Dad thanked grandpa (Moyer) ‘for all those ground
balls in the backyard and all the time you spent with me.’ That’s the happiest
I’ve ever seen him. That was one of the best highlights of my life because I
could see why we play and what we play for. It makes us want to play twice as
Adds Dillon, “It was really good to see my dad finally win and get a
ring. Just seeing it and celebrating with the players - it’s my dream to,
hopefully, some day do it, too.”
Still, their immediate future is tied to college. You can call it
“Karen’s Credo” if you wish. “Mom says,” Hutton related, “unless you’re the
first pick in the first round (of the Major League draft) you have to go to
Now, that’s real pressure! Or, maybe it’s none at all.
Maternal grandfather Digger Phelps, who had a great run as Notre Dame’s
basketball coach and now works for ESPN, is cautious about any professional
predictions and, of course, stresses the value of an education.
Phelps told MaxPreps, “I hate to put pressure on kids that age. You
don’t know until they both mature. Their next phase is what they’re doing now.
I’ve seen a lot of recruits (fail to reach expectations) and so there are a lot
of red flags put up. They’re really good kids and have their own sense of
“Are they going to be like the Boone family (three generations of Major
League players)? We’re not trying to do that.”
Summer plans will send Dillon to Philadelphia
to play for national power Tri-State Arsenal. Hutton will return to Seattle, where the family
still owns a home, and play for a 16-under team.
And all the time, the third boy, five-year-old McCabe, will be honing
his skills in several sports. Karen swears, “He’s the best athlete in the
family. He’s all lefty (like his father). He’s tough, very focused and he hates