Major League Baseball is the oldest professional sports league in the U.S., but as with most high-level professional sports, the wear and tear of an athlete’s body often lead to a relatively early retirement in their late 30s or early 40s for those who find success in the Bigs.
We scoured each major league roster to see who’s who among the oldest players – those tough guys who continue to suit up despite their “advanced” age, and how some are still making an impact on their team.
Withstanding the Test of Time
The oldest current player in Major League Baseball is none other than veteran pitcher Bartolo Colón, age 44. He’s currently playing in his 20th season in the Big Leagues, is a four-time All-Star, and won the American League Cy Young Award in 2005 with the Angels. He’s taken the mound for 10 MLB teams (he currently resides on the Twins’ roster) and was 42 when he became the oldest player to hit his first home run.
He’s followed by Ichiro Suzuki, who is currently playing for the Miami Marlins at age 43. While he’s playing in his 17th MLB season, he spent the first nine years of his professional career playing in his home country of Japan. He became a popular fixture in the Mariners’ outfield and has since played in two other clubs. In August 2016, he notched his 3,000th hit while a Marlin, making him the 30th member of the 3,000 club.
Atlanta Braves pitcher R.A. Dickey comes in third at age 42 and has found playing time on several teams during his 15-season tenure. Dickey earned an All-Star spot in 2012, as well as the National League Cy Young Award that same year playing for the Mets. The following season, he was awarded a Gold Glove in Toronto.
Koji Uehara, age 42, is No. 4 on our list. He made his Major League debut in 2009 at age 34 for the Baltimore Orioles (similar to Suzuki, he played professional ball in Japan before signing with an MLB team) and currently toes the slab for the Chicago Cubs. He was an All-Star for Boston in 2014 and has a career (MLB) ERA of 2.64.
Fernando Rodney (40) is No. 5 on our list and is also an MLB pitcher. Playing in Arizona in his 15th MLB season, Rodney is a three-time All-Star Select and was in the running for the 2012 AL Cy Young Award, coming in fifth.
Carlos Beltrán, age 40, is No. 6 and has a long line of career highlights and commendations, including Rookie of the Year (1999 with the Royals), a nine-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove, and a two-time Silver Slugger recipient. He’s played for seven teams and currently lines up for the Houston Astros.
During the 2017 MLB season, the two oldest All-Stars weren’t really all that “old,” as Justin Smoak, playing for the American League, was 30, and Max Scherzer, playing for the National League, was 33.
Justin Smoak was a high draft pick in 2008 (No. 11 overall) and spent his first stint in the majors in Texas, then found his way to Seattle for a five-season stop before heading north to the Toronto Blue Jays. His batting average is currently nudging .300, and he has an impressive 34 homers to date this season. As his stock continues to rise, he may continue to appear in the Midsummer Classic and notch yet another “oldest” designation in seasons to come.
Max Scherzer was also a high draft pick – he was selected 11th overall in 2006 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Scherzer, a righty pitcher, has played for several teams as well. After two seasons in Arizona, he headed to Detroit for five seasons before flying east to the Washington Nationals, where he remains today. He’s won the Cy Young Award twice – once in Detroit in 2013 and once in Washington in 2016. He’s also appeared in five consecutive All-Star contests, and barring injury, will likely continue to enjoy that honor for many more years.
The Oldest From Each Team
The Minnesota Twins, of course, have the oldest ballplayer on the roster (Bartolo Colón), while at the other end of the spectrum, the San Diego Padres have the youngest “oldest” player on their roster (Clayton Richard, who is only 33).
Some of the older guys have been highlighted above, but there are plenty of accolades sprinkled among the remaining list. Some of these fellas are household names, while others are flying a bit under the radar.
Victor Martínez, for example, is a 38-year-old slugger for the Detroit Tigers. This five-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger continues to mash balls, although his batting average may be a bit lower than he’s used to.
Albert Pujols, age 37 and the oldest player on the Angels roster, recently joined a very exclusive club – the 600 homer club – a feat so rare that only eight other players have accomplished this in MLB history.
Chase Utley, age 38 and the oldest player on the Dodgers roster, is a six-time All-Star, has a World Series ring from the 2008 Phillies, and has brought home four Silver Slugger awards.
Jose Reyes, age 34 and the oldest player on the Mets roster, has earned four All-Star appearances and a Silver Slugger award.
The teams toward the end of this list have younger rosters overall. The Padres, mentioned above, have the youngest team, with an average age of 26.9. The Tampa Bay Rays, whose oldest player is only 34, is also quite young, with an average age of 27.9, similar to the Red Sox and White Sox.
The Oldest With the Mostest
No matter which MLB team you root for, there is something to be said for a veteran presence in the clubhouse. The good news is that not only are these older guys still contributing to their teams but also you can find all the fan gear you’ve ever wanted at Fanatics.com.
The Top 10 Oldest Players in the MLB
- Bartolo Colon (44) Minnesota Twins
- Ichiro Suzuki (43) Miami Marlins
- R.A. Dickey (42) Atlanta Braves
- Koji Uehara (42) Chicago Cubs
- Fernando Rodney (40) Arizona Diamondbacks
- Carlos Beltran (40) Houston Astros
- Joaquin Benoit (40) Pittsburgh Pirates
- Jason Grilli (40) Texas Rangers
- Victor Martinez (38) Detriot Tigers
- Peter Moylan (38) Kansas City Royals