How Do Players in Their 40s Do?

This post is a followup on the earlier look at the best MLB players in their teens. It looks at the best players from age 40 onward. Here, via Baseball-reference.com, is a list of the top 10 position players (except for pitcher Wilhelm) in career games played after turning 40.

1. Pete Rose 732
2. Cap Anson 677
3. Julio Franco 637
4. Sam Rice 543
5. Carlton Fisk 537
6. Omar Vizquel 525
7. Honus Wagner 503
8. Hoyt Wilhelm 494
9. Luke Appling 470
10. Rickey Henderson 469

The same list, for leaders in times on base after turning 40:
1. Cap Anson 1181
2. Pete Rose 1042
3. Luke Appling 780
4. Sam Rice 711
5. Rickey Henderson 691
6. Carlton Fisk 688
7. Honus Wagner 642
8. Carl Yastrzemski 620
9. Dave Winfield 587
10. Jim O’Rourke 582

The first list has seven Hall of Famers, the second list has nine.

And the top 10 in innings pitched for years 40 and after:
1. Phil Niekro 1977.0
2. Jamie Moyer 1551.3
3. Jack Quinn 1427.7
4. Charlie Hough 1346.3
5. Nolan Ryan 1271.7
6. Cy Young 1226.3
7. Warren Spahn 1163.0
8. Randy Johnson 1013.0
9. Tommy John 1000.7
10. Gaylord Perry 992.0

The top 10 in strikeouts after leaving the 30s behind:
1. Nolan Ryan 1437
2. Phil Niekro 1148
3. Randy Johnson 1004
4. Jamie Moyer 913
5. Roger Clemens 763
6. Charlie Hough 756
7. Hoyt Wilhelm 681
8. Gaylord Perry 533
9. Cy Young 519
10. Warren Spahn 503

The first list of pitchers has five Hall of Famers, the second has six. These lists have much better players than the lists of leaders in pre-20 stats: of course, if you want to play full time in your 40s, it’s a good idea to have established yourself as a markedly superior player. I think the only relatively late bloomers on the batting lists are Sam Rice and perhaps Julio Franco, while the late bloomers on the pitching lists are Moyer and Wilhelm.

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Published in: Uncategorized on June 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Interesting info. I’d like to see home runs and Wins after age 40.
    -Bill

  2. Baseball-reference has lists of all the batting and pitching leaders from 40 onward at http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/leaders_40_bat.shtml and http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/leaders_40_pitch.shtml

    Fisk leads in homers with 72; Niekro in wins with 121, Moyer a full season behind with 105. I wouldn’t have thought it was that much easier to pitch than hit homers in your 40s.


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