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Losing It Semi-Quickly In Mid-to-Late 30′s Since 1973

Posted by Steve Lombardi on May 3, 2011

Via Play Index, I worked up a list of all batters since 1973 to have a season where they qualified for the Batting Title and were between the ages of 34 and 36 in that season and where they also had an OPS+ of 120 or better.  Then, once I had that "set" of batters, I asked Play Index to tell me which of these batters then had a season where they qualifed for the Batting Title and were between the ages of 35 and 37 in that season where they had an OPS+ of 90 or less.

Here's that list:

Rk Player OPS+ Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Ray Durham 64 2007 35 SFG NL 138 528 464 56 101 21 2 11 71 53 6 75 2 0 9 18 10 2 .218 .295 .343 .638 *4
2 Tim Wallach 67 1993 35 LAD NL 133 522 477 42 106 19 1 12 62 32 2 70 3 1 9 10 0 2 .222 .271 .342 .612 *5/39
3 Sal Bando 83 1979 35 MIL AL 130 543 476 57 117 14 3 9 43 57 3 42 3 6 1 17 2 0 .246 .330 .345 .674 *5D/341
4 Davey Lopes 87 1980 35 LAD NL 141 625 553 79 139 15 3 10 49 58 2 71 1 9 4 8 23 7 .251 .321 .344 .665 *4
5 Derek Jeter 90 2010 36 NYY AL 157 739 663 111 179 30 3 10 67 63 4 106 9 1 3 22 18 5 .270 .340 .370 .710 *6/D
6 Dave Kingman 90 1986 37 OAK AL 144 604 561 70 118 19 0 35 94 33 3 126 3 0 7 16 3 3 .210 .255 .431 .686 *D/3
7 Steve Finley 91 2001 36 ARI NL 140 548 495 66 136 27 4 14 73 47 9 67 1 2 3 8 11 7 .275 .337 .430 .767 *8/1
8 Paul O'Neill 92 2000 37 NYY AL 142 628 566 79 160 26 0 18 100 51 2 90 0 0 11 17 14 9 .283 .336 .424 .760 *9/D
9 Dave Parker 92 1987 36 CIN NL 153 647 589 77 149 28 0 26 97 44 13 104 8 0 6 14 7 3 .253 .311 .433 .744 *9/3
10 Bill Robinson 92 1978 35 PIT NL 136 552 499 70 123 36 2 14 80 35 8 105 5 2 11 7 14 11 .246 .296 .411 .707 *7589/3
11 Jeromy Burnitz 94 2005 36 CHC NL 160 671 605 84 156 31 2 24 87 57 3 109 3 1 5 12 5 4 .258 .322 .435 .757 *9/8
12 Bret Boone 94 2004 35 SEA AL 148 658 593 74 149 30 0 24 83 56 2 135 3 2 4 18 10 5 .251 .317 .423 .740 *4
13 Andre Thornton 94 1985 35 CLE AL 124 514 461 49 109 13 0 22 88 47 1 75 0 0 6 14 3 2 .236 .304 .408 .711 *D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/3/2011.

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Some of these guys bounced back to have some decent years after that down year.  Can Derek Jeter do the same?  Looking at his stats so far this year, he's already in a hole.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 at 6:09 pm and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

23 Responses to “Losing It Semi-Quickly In Mid-to-Late 30′s Since 1973”

  1. I think you meant an OPS+ of 95 or less, right? A lot of those guys are over 90.

  2. First thing I thought of was Raul Ibanez but his ages don't match up. His OPS+ at age 37 was 132, his OPS+ this year, at age 39, (with a lot of season to play of course) is 24.

  3. Malcolm Says:

    Leave it to Dave Kingman to hit 35 homers and still have an OPS under .600...

  4. Malcolm Says:

    Err, make that .700.

  5. Random Sports Guy Says:

    Dave Parker had a decent season.

  6. @Random Sports Guy: Not so much. That was 1987 -- everybody was hitting better than .253/.311/.433 that year.

  7. Wow. Kingman at 37 still hit 35 homers. With Ibanez, his tailspin was weird. He had that great first half and then an atrocious second half. Almost like someone said to him, "Um, Raul, you know you're 37 years old." Or did he lose more than just his quick reflexes?

  8. One difference between Jeter and all those guys:

    Jeter's going to the HOF. None of those guys are.

    That doesn't mean he's going to bounce back, of course.

  9. Dan - Mea Culpa! I think I should have said less than 95.

  10. @Carl

    Hey, now, don't say that. Finely's WAR is far better than guys like Maranville, Schoendienst, Hafey, Mazeroski, George Kell, or Lloyd Waner, and surely you'd never say any of those guys don't belong in the HOF, would you...?

  11. Hand-searching, it appears couple of these names don't quite match the title of the blog.

    Wallach's bad season (age 35, OPS+ 67) came before his good season (36, OPS+ 127).

    And Davey Lopes had the kind of finish that Jeter wants. At 35-37, Lopes looked done: his best OPS+ was 90. But then from 38-42 he had a total of 1536 PA, and his lowest OPS+ was 108, at which point he stopped.

  12. Wilbratte! Says:

    if paul o'neill has that season at any other time other than the height of the steroid era...

  13. I wonder how many of these guys just had off-years? Wallach and particularly Parker bounced back with decent seasons in their later 30s.

    And I think we need a whole new branch of mathematics to deal with the strange statistics and ratios that Dave Kingman's career creates.

  14. drew weaver Says:

    As I recall, Dave Kingman hit more homers (100) from 84-86 than anyone in MLB...yet still could not find employment in 1987.

  15. Pete R - good catch! Thanks!

  16. basmati Says:

    What's the odds Jeter is an all star again in 2011?

  17. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @14/ drew weaver Says: "As I recall, Dave Kingman hit more homers (100) from 84-86 than anyone in MLB...yet still could not find employment in 1987."

    Drew, that might have had something to do with the whole "collusion" situation between the 1986 and 1987 seasons. See: Tim Raines, Rich Gedman, Kirk Gibson, Andre Dawson, etc...

  18. @14 - I know he was the only American Leaguer to hit 30+ in all three years. But his BA dropped ~20-30 points each year as well - IIRC (didn't look it up) .253, .235, .210.

  19. [...] Losing It Semi-Quickly In Mid-to-Late 30′s Since 1973: Steve Lombardi of B-R found players who were good in the their mid-30s… until suddenly they weren’t. [...]

  20. I thought for some reason Kingman retired, but my memory might be faulty. Perhaps he did elect to retire, but it was due to collusion because he couldn't get an offer he found acceptable, so he elected to retire. Too bad. I had hoped he stick around as a DH for a couple more seasons to eclipse 500 HRs, eliminating the "automatic entry" to the HOF for 500 HRs. The steroids era seems to have accomplished it a few years later.

  21. @20, Adding to my own note. It appears Kingman did sign with his old team, the San Francisco Giants, for the 1987 season, playing 20 games down in AAA before retiring. I still to think there might have been some issue around collusion that might have led to him having to take a minor league deal, but it's not mentioned in his Wikipedia entry.

  22. dukeofflatbush Says:

    I remember in 1988 Dale Murphy falling off the map. He hit 20 less HRs and 70 points in average in just one year, but he was only 32.

  23. DoubleDiamond Says:

    @7 Are you referring to Ibanez's 2009 season (his first with the Phillies)? He got off to a great start, up among the league leaders in all three triple crown categories. But then he got hurt, and when he returned, he really went into a tailspin.

    He had an zero-for-35 string that was broken two nights ago. All five of his hits in the past two games have been for extra bases - 4 doubles and a home run. The home run, a "justifiably solo" shot (my nickname for a homer that leads off an inning, as this one did, or immediately follows another one), broke a mid-game 0-0 tie and started the Phillies on the way to a 7-4 win. (Three of the Nationals' four runs scored on a 3-run homer with two out in the 9th. The other one scored on a two-out, full-count hit capping an at-bat in which a 2-2 pitch that the radio announcers thought should have been strike 3 but was called ball 3.)