Tim Wakefield’s 44th Birthday Reminds Us of Over-40 Athletes Who Ignore Father Time


Aug 2, 2010

Happy birthday, Tim Wakefield.

The All-Star pitcher and one of the game's most likable guys turns 44 on Monday, but he's not the only baseball player to be playing on the other side of 39.

There are nine players at least 40 or older currently in the big leagues with Jamie Moyer — although on the DL — taking the cake at 47 years old.

  • Jim Edmonds (40) and Trevor Hoffman (42) are both on the Brewers roster.
  • Omar Vizquel (43) is on the White Sox roster.
  • Takashi Saito (40) is on the Braves' roster.
  • Mariano Rivera (40) is on the Yankees' roster.
  • Brad Asmus (41) is on the Dodgers' roster.
  • Matt Stairs (42) is on the Padres' roster.
  • Jamie Moyer (47) is on the DL for the Phillies.
  • Arthur Rhodes (40) is on the Reds' roster.

Baseball fans remember Julio Franco surprising them year in and year out. He played 55 games as a 48-year-old first baseman in 2007. After turning 40, Nolan Ryan had four seasons with more than 200 IP, had an ERA over 3.72 just once, struck out more than 1,400 batters, and threw two no-hitters.

You can even field an over-40 All-Star club with active old-timers in 2007, which could be the ultimate year of the 40-plus ballplayer.

  • Craig Biggio (41) at catcher (he caught two innings that year)
  • Jeff Conine (41) at first
  • Jeff Kent (40) at second
  • Vizquel at short,
  • Franco at third
  • Barry Bonds (42) in left
  • Kenny Lofton (41) in center
  • Moises Alou (40) in right

As for pitchers, you have either Roger Clemens (44) or Randy Johnson (42) on the hill and can expect John Smoltz (40), Greg Maddux (41), David Wells (44), Kenny Rogers (42) and Tom Glavine (41) out of the bullpen.

Speaking of Clemens, he captured 61 wins in five years over the age of 40 and struck out more than 750 batters.

But baseball isn't the only platform for aging athletic wonders. Gordie Howe was 51 in his final campaign when he put up 41 points in 80 games for the Whalers. He even had three seasons of at least 100 points after his 40th birthday.

Warren Moon was selected to the Pro Bowl as a 41-year-old thanks to a 25-touchdown, 3,700 passing yard seasons. He went on to play five seasons after turning 40.

Jerry Rice notched more than 1,200 receiving yards at 40 and added another 850 yards a year later. 

George Foreman was fighting people — literally — past the age of 40, as he went 12-3 in his seven years of boxing after hitting the magical number.

So while Wake, a knuckle baller, may seem like a spring chicken to some of these athletes, one has to wonder if No. 49 can ever toe the Fenway Park rubber at age 49.

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