List of Major League Baseball players who played in four decades

Playing Major League Baseball in four decades is a very rare achievement, attained by only 29 players in the league's history, dating from the 1870s to the present day.


Several qualities are virtually essential. Outstanding skill and durability are paramount, and a player must also have some "generational luck" to have started his career in the later years of a decade, so that if he is still playing 21–24 years later, he is playing in the early years of a fourth decade.[1] For example, Pete Rose started his career in 1963, so he would have had to play 28 seasons to make the list. Whereas Bill Buckner, whose career started in the last year of the 1960s, finished his career in the first year of the 1990s, requiring only 22 seasons to make the list. Most of the players on the list started their careers in the final or second-to-last year of their first decade and finished their careers in the first or second year of their fourth decade (a notable exception is Nolan Ryan, whose 27 seasons played is a major league record). Two players — Nick Altrock and Minnie Miñoso — appeared in major league baseball games in five decades.

Since 1900 (the first year that a player could play in a "fourth decade"), every decade except the 1940s has added at least one player to the list, including the current one (though the 1970s only added Minnie Miñoso, who played three games in 1976 after having been out of the majors for more than a decade).

List of players

The players are listed by primary position played and years spanning their careers. Ten players from the group have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Of the 29 players, 11 were primarily pitchers, six were primarily catchers, six were primarily outfielders, and six were primarily infielders; the group covers virtually the complete range of baseball positions, missing only a third baseman.

dagger Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame
* Player is active
Player Position First season Last season
Brouthers, DanDan Brouthersdagger First baseman18791904
O'Rourke, JimJim O'Rourkedagger Outfielder18721904
Gleason, KidKid Gleason Pitcher / Second baseman18881912
McGuire, DeaconDeacon McGuire Catcher18841912
O'Connor, JackJack O'Connor Catcher18871912
Ryan, JackJack Ryan Catcher18891913
Altrock, NickNick Altrock Pitcher18981933
Collins, EddieEddie Collinsdagger Second baseman19061930
Quinn, JackJack Quinn Pitcher19091933
Newsom, BoboBobo Newsom Pitcher19291953
Vernon, MickeyMickey Vernon First baseman19391960
Williams, TedTed Williamsdagger Outfielder19391960
Wynn, EarlyEarly Wynndagger Pitcher19391963
Miñoso, MinnieMinnie Miñoso Outfielder19491980
Kaat, JimJim Kaat Pitcher19591983
McCarver, TimTim McCarver Catcher19591980
McCovey, WillieWillie McCoveydagger First baseman19591980
Buckner, BillBill Buckner First baseman19691990
Dempsey, RickRick Dempsey Catcher19691992
Fisk, CarltonCarlton Fiskdagger Catcher19691993
Reuss, JerryJerry Reuss Pitcher19691990
Ryan, NolanNolan Ryandagger Pitcher19661993
Henderson, RickeyRickey Hendersondagger Outfielder19792003
Morgan, MikeMike Morgan Pitcher19782002
Orosco, JesseJesse Orosco Pitcher19792003
Raines, TimTim Raines Outfielder19792002
Griffey, Jr., KenKen Griffey, Jr.dagger Outfielder19892010
Moyer, JamieJamie Moyer Pitcher19862012
Vizquel, OmarOmar Vizquel Shortstop19892012


External links

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