They aren’t as old as Leroy “Satchel” Paige, who played professionally until age 59. Or Charley O’Leary, the shortstop who came out of retirement at the 58 to pinch-hit. But the modern player has a shorter shelf-life than those of yesteryear for many reasons. Today, while many of those over 35 no longer cut it in the majors, there are still some who contribute to their teams. These are the oldest MLB players today.
Currently, five active MLB players are 38 years old: Curtis Granderson, an outfielder for the Marlins; Rajai Davis, an outfielder with the Mets; Pat Neshek, a reliever with the Phillies; CC Sabathia, a starter for the Yankees; and outfielder Nelson Cruz of the Twins. Each has served 14 or more years in the MLB.
Rich Hill, 39 years old
On the injured list since mid-June, Rich Hill will be ready to pitch by early September (hopes the Dodges). The left-hander was chosen in three MLB drafts prior to signing in 2002. He made his first MLB start as a Cub in 2005. With a 65-42 win-loss record and a 3.84 ERA, he’s thrown 993 strikeouts.
The 39-year-old has suffered quite a few injuries. In recent years, he’s had recurring issues with blisters on his pitching hand. He also recently experienced his second injury of the season, a flexor strain. In the final year of his three-year, $48 million contract with Los Angeles, whether he’ll retire or seek another year or more of play is yet unknown.
Albert Pujols, 39 years old
At 39, Albert Pujols is still slugging away. He spent the first half of his career as a Cardinal. Throughout the second half, he’s been with the Angels and will most likely retire there. During his career, which began in 2001, Pujols has garnered his place in MLB history, recently reaching 650 career home runs. This puts him in sixth place on the top home run hitters list.
With 11 more, he’d top Willie Mays’ record, pushing him to fifth. He is the only player in history to have hit 650 career home runs and 650 doubles.
Fernando Rodney, 42 years old
Fernando Rodney’s debut came in May 2002 for the Detroit Tigers. Following the retirement of pitcher Ichiro Suzuki, Rodney, 42, is the most senior active MLB player. The right-handed reliever signed with the Nationals to Triple-A ball in early June of this year. He was called up by the end of the month.
Known for throwing a purposeful fluctuating fastball, his pitches continue to clock as high as 99 miles per hour, despite his age. Oh, about that tilt to his cap; he wears it that way in honor of his dad, a Dominican fisherman, who died just days prior to Fernando’s debut in the majors.
Bartolo Colon, 46 years old
With all due respect, there is one player who does not want to retire, is a free agent, but remains yet unsigned this season. Bartolo Colon, now 46, debuted with the Cleveland Indians in 1997. He’s bounced all over, having pitched for 10 different franchises.
The “Big Sexy” had his last stint as a Texas Ranger in 2018. He has a lifetime win-loss record of 247-188 having thrown 2,535 strikeouts. The latest team rumored to consider him was San Francisco, who were at risk of losing, but as of yet still have Madison Bumgarner on their payroll.