“Veteran” Teams

Veteran’s Day is here, and the VORG is celebrating by highlighting the oldest teams (relative to league-average age) since 1901.  Listed below are the ten teams with the biggest difference between their average age “TmAge” and the league average that year “LgAge” (expressed as “TotDif”).  You’ll notice that though seven of these squads finished over .500, only four made the playoffs and none made it to the World Series,

Ages listed here are AB or IP-weighted calculations taken from Baseball Reference.

In reverse order:

The 2006 Giants had three position starters 39 or older: Barry Bonds (41), Steve Finley (41) and Omar Vizquel (39).  39-year-old Moises Alou also received significant playing time.

The 1983 Angels top four pitchers were ages 40, 36, 37 and 33 (Tommy John, Ken Forsch, Geoff Zahn and Bruce Kison respectively).  Bob Boone (35), Reggie Jackson (37) and Rod Carew (37) were all starters.

The 1960 White Sox were led by staff ace Early Wynn (40) and their closer was 39-year-old Gerry Staley.  Five of the eight regulars were 32 or older, with Sherm Lollar (35) and  Minnie Minoso (34) being the oldest.

The 2004 Yankee squad is the first of three on this top ten list.  Alex Rodriguez was the only regular under the age of 30 (28), while Jon Lieber (34), Mike Mussina (35) and Kevin Brown (39) were #2-4 in the rotation.  The bullpen was headed up by 34-year-old Mariano Rivera with help from Paul Quantrill (35) and Tom Gordon (36).

The 1998 Orioles had every position player at 30 years of age or older, from 30-year-old Roberto Alomar to Harold Baines (39).  The pitching staff was relatively young, with 35-year-old Doug Drabek and 41-year-old Jesse Orosco being the only over-30 men seeing significant use.

This past season’s Yankee squad is next, with a 38-year-old Derek Jeter and a 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez holding down the left side of the infield.  Robinson Cano (29) and Russell Martin (29) were the only under-30 regulars.  Raise your hand if you thought 37-year-old Hiroki Kuroda would lead the staff in innings pitched.

Next up is the 1988 Tigers, with a starting rotation that was durable (top four all eclipsed 200 innings) and a bit long in the tooth (33-year-old Jack Morris, Doyle Alexander at 37, 30-year-old Walt Terrell and Frank Tanana at 34).  Ray Knight (35) and Tom Brookens (34) manned first and third, respectively.

The 1982 Angels had many of the same players as the ’83 squad mentioned previously (Boone, Jackson, Carew, Zahn and Forsch, as examples).  37-year-old Steve Renko was the 4th starting pitcher that season.

The second-oldest team, relatively, is the 1973 Tigers.  At 25, 3B Aurelio Rordiguez was the only starter under the age of 30, though with the exception of 38-year-old Norm Cash, the other starters were 30-34.  Three-fourths of the rotation was on the wrong side of 30 (Mickey Lolich (32), Jim Perry (37), Woodie Fryman (33)).

Finally, the 2005 Yankees are the oldest team relative to league average age.  They are also the oldest team in terms of average age, period.  The outfield was patrolled by two 36-year-olds (Bernie Williams and Gary Sheffield) and a 31-year-old (Hideki Matsui).  Catcher Jorge Posada was 33, and Tino Martinez manned first (37).  41-year-old Randy Johnson and 36-year-old Mike Mussina anchored the staff, with Mariano Rivera (35),Tom Gordon (37) and Tanyon Sturtze (34) leading the pen.



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