The Four Decade Club

My previous two blog postings were about the 996 Major League players who appeared in just one Major League game in their careers. I called this special group of players The Cup of Coffee Club(The CCC). It only seems fitting to go to the other extreme, that is, to present the players who were active in at least four decades. I called this club The Four Decade Club (The FDC). To be a member of the FDC you must have played in at least one game in four different decades. The 29 current members of this club are listed below sorted on their number of seasons. The players with an asterisk are also members of the Hall of Fame.

The Four Decade Club


Two players Minnie Minoso and Nick Altrock played games in five different decades. There is a good chance these two men have accomplished something we will never see again. Minoso died on March 1 of this year. He was the first African-American player for the White Sox when he played his first game in 1949. His nine All-Star appearances earned him the title of Mr. White Sox. In three of the five decades he only played in one season, which accounts for his low total of only 17 seasons. His last game was in 1980 when he was 54 years-old. Altrock had two decades where he only appeared in one season and one decade where he appeared in two seasons. His last game was at the age of 47 in 1924.

Jim O’Rourke and Dan Brouthers, both Hall of Fame players, played all their seasons except for one season in the 1800s. What is interesting to me is that both players only season in the 1900s was in 1904 with the NY Giants. O’Rourke played in one game that season at the age of 54 and Brouthers played in two games in that season at the age of 46. It was that 1904 season that enabled both men to join the FDC. O’Rourke was out of baseball for 11 years before 1904 and Brouthers was out of baseball for 8 years before 1904. There must be a story behind why these two men returned to baseball with the same team in 1904.

The most recent additions to the FDC came in 2010 when Omar Vizquel, Ken Griffey Jr. and Jamie Moyer all joined the FDC.  Of the 29 players in the FDC, Moyer is one of just six whose first year in the majors did not come in one of the final two years of a given decade. Four of those six came prior to 1910, with Nolan Ryan (1966-1993) and Moyer (1986-2012) being the only exceptions since 1910.

Ted Williams is the only member of the FDC to play his entire career for one franchise. On the other hand, Mike Morgan played for the most franchises 12 (1978-2002). Can you imagine moving 12 times in 22 seasons? Sharing a locker room with so many different teammates during the steroid era, he could write a very interesting book.

Here is a statistical breakdown for the 29 FDC members. Of the 29 FDC members nine are in the Hall of Fame. By position we have 11 pitchers, 6 catchers, 4 first baseman, 1 second baseman, 1 shortstop, 0 third baseman and 6 outfielders. What surprised me was in spite of the wear and tear of the catcher position the six catchers represented the second most represented position in the FDC.

Omar Vizquel and Ken Griffey Jr. should both eventually make it into the Hall of Fame. Tim Raines’ voting percentages for the Hall of Fame has been rising steadily from 2008 (24%) to 2015 (55%). Tim is a borderline Hall of Famer.

My All-Star team from the FDC consists of Nolan Ryan pitching, Carlton Fisk catching, Willie McCovey at 1B, Eddie Collins at 2B, Omar Vizquel at SS, no one at 3B, Ted Williams in leftfield, Ken Griffey Jr. in centerfield and Rickey Henderson in rightfield.

In the future l will examine the only 17 active players who debuted during the 1990s, meaning they could join the FDC if they continue playing into 2020.

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