List of Major League Baseball players who played in four decades

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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, playing characteristics (throwing and batting orientations), 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 baseman 1879 1904
O'Rourke, JimJim O'Rourkedagger Outfielder 1872 1904
Gleason, KidKid Gleason Pitcher / Second baseman 1888 1912
McGuire, DeaconDeacon McGuire Catcher 1884 1912
O'Connor, JackJack O'Connor Catcher 1887 1912
Ryan, JackJack Ryan Catcher 1889 1913
Altrock, NickNick Altrock Pitcher 1898 1933
Collins, EddieEddie Collinsdagger Second baseman 1906 1930
Quinn, JackJack Quinn Pitcher 1909 1933
Newsom, BoboBobo Newsom Pitcher 1929 1953
Vernon, MickeyMickey Vernon First baseman 1939 1960
Williams, TedTed Williamsdagger Outfielder 1939 1960
Wynn, EarlyEarly Wynndagger Pitcher 1939 1963
Miñoso, MinnieMinnie Miñoso Outfielder 1949 1980
Kaat, JimJim Kaat Pitcher 1959 1983
McCarver, TimTim McCarver Catcher 1959 1980
McCovey, WillieWillie McCoveydagger First baseman 1959 1980
Buckner, BillBill Buckner First baseman 1969 1990
Dempsey, RickRick Dempsey Catcher 1969 1992
Fisk, CarltonCarlton Fiskdagger Catcher 1969 1993
Reuss, JerryJerry Reuss Pitcher 1969 1990
Ryan, NolanNolan Ryandagger Pitcher 1966 1993
Henderson, RickeyRickey Hendersondagger Outfielder 1979 2003
Morgan, MikeMike Morgan Pitcher 1978 2002
Orosco, JesseJesse Orosco Pitcher 1979 2003
Raines, TimTim Raines Outfielder 1979 2002
Griffey, Jr., KenKen Griffey, Jr.dagger Outfielder 1989 2010
Moyer, JamieJamie Moyer Pitcher 1986 2012
Vizquel, OmarOmar Vizquel Shortstop 1989 2012


  1. DiComo, Anthony (January 20, 2010). "Four-decade players a rare breed: Griffey, Vizquel, Moyer set to join exclusive company".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links