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Tampa Bay Rays haven’t had a starting pitcher over the age of 30 since 2007!

Posted by Andy on September 19, 2011

I heard an amazing nugget from Peter Abraham this morning. The Rays have now gone 753 games since they last used a starting pitcher over the age of 30. Here are their most recent games with a starter over 30:

Rk Player Age Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc
1 Jae Weong Seo 30.000 2007-05-24 TBD SEA W 13-12 GS-5 ,W 5.0 13 7 6 1 1 0 84 53 15
2 Mark Hendrickson 32.002 2006-06-25 TBD ATL L 1-4 GS-8 ,L 8.0 8 4 4 2 5 1 94 67 53
3 Mark Hendrickson 31.362 2006-06-20 TBD ARI W 8-5 GS-7 ,W 7.0 9 4 4 3 2 0 110 66 42
4 Mark Hendrickson 31.356 2006-06-14 TBD DET W 5-1 GS-9 9.0 3 1 0 3 8 0 123 72 84
5 Mark Hendrickson 31.351 2006-06-09 TBD KCR L 2-4 GS-8 ,L 7.1 6 4 4 3 4 0 103 62 51
6 Mark Hendrickson 31.345 2006-06-03 TBD TOR L 2-6 GS-7 ,L 6.1 8 3 3 2 4 1 114 79 47
7 Mark Hendrickson 31.339 2006-05-28 TBD BOS L 4-5 GS-6 ,L 5.2 8 5 5 3 2 0 109 68 32
8 Mark Hendrickson 31.334 2006-05-23 TBD TOR L 1-4 GS-6 ,L 6.0 8 2 2 3 3 1 106 64 48
9 Mark Hendrickson 31.329 2006-05-18 TBD CHW W 5-4 GS-7 ,W 7.0 7 4 4 3 3 2 104 63 47
10 Mark Hendrickson 31.324 2006-05-13 TBD TOR L 1-8 GS-7 ,L 7.0 5 5 5 3 5 1 106 66 49
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/19/2011.

Can you name their last starter over the age of 30 before Hendrickson? Here's a list going a ways back. It was Hideo Nomo, preceded by John Halama, preceded by Todd Ritchie, preceded by Paul Abbott.

By doing a Pitching Game Finder and a little manual addition, I found which teams have the fewest starts by a 30+ year old pitcher since 2007:

Tampa Bay: 1
Pittsburgh: 40
Oakland: 60
Florida: 87
Minnesota: 115

And here are the teams with the most starts by a 30+ year old pitcher:

Houston: 426
Los Angeles (N): 396
St. Louis: 393
Atlanta: 377
New York (A): 376

59 Responses to “Tampa Bay Rays haven’t had a starting pitcher over the age of 30 since 2007!”

  1. MLB 2011 GDT: Week 24 Says:

    [...] Rays haven't had a starting pitcher over the age of 30 since 2007...753 games "Sports do not build character. They reveal it." -- Haywood Hale Broun, journalist [...]

  2. Johnny Twisto Says:

    James Shields turns 30 in December, though there's no guarantee he'll still be a Ray next season.

  3. Eric Says:

    And since we're talking *over* 30, we can remove Seo, since he pitched on his actual birthday! Btw, who's their pitching coach, Jerry Rubin?

  4. BSK Says:

    Without doing all the math, my hunch is that the top 5 over-30 start teams have a much better record than the bottom 5. NY, StL, and Atlanta are perennial contenders, with the Dodgers also having made the playoffs recently. On the flip side, Pittsburgh and Oakland have not been particularly competitive recently, Florida has flirted with competiveness, and the Rays and Twins (this season aside) have been successful. I wonder if there is any strong correlation between pitcher age and team success.

  5. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    I thought the 1960s Orioles might have had a similar streak, but they usually had a Robin Roberts, Moe Drabowsky or Mike Cuéllar occupying a spot in the rotation alongside all the kids. In 1967 they had one September start by 31-year-old John Buzhardt, and in 1968 they had no starts by a 30-or-older pitcher.

  6. John Autin Says:

    Well, Joe Maddon is from the "don't trust anyone over 30" generation, after all.

    He sure does trust his young guys, though. Look how he put Matt Moore in for 3 IP against Boston this weekend, just his 2nd game in the majors. Or how he broke in Hellickson last year in the middle of a pennant race.

  7. Larry R. Says:


    Or perhaps Pete Townshend.

  8. kds Says:

    Actually you maybe should remove Seo from that list. He was born in Korea, so when it was May 24th there it was not yet May 24th on this side of the International Date Line. (Depending on the time of day. So, what time was he born?)

  9. Artie Z Says:

    @4 - The teams with pitchers in the bottom 5 (fewest starts by 30+ year old pitchers) tend to be small market teams (or at least perceived to be small market teams), while those in the top 5 tend to be from larger markets.

    I would guess that some of this has to do with payroll, as pitchers under 30 typically cost less than those over 30 (especially those that larger market teams might deem as valuable).

  10. Thomas Court Says:


    I guess we have to find out what time of the day Seo was born... and THEN adjust for for the time difference for being born in South Korea. I am sure the international date line comes into play. Seo might have started his game for the Rays before he turned 30, or after. The game started at 3:10 in the afternoon, and was witnessed by just over 9,000 people.

    Interestingly, Seo got the win in a wild game. Seo's performance was worse than any of the six performances listed for Mark Hendrickson in which MH was credited with the loss.

  11. John Autin Says:

    Young pitching is the new on-base percentage.

  12. kds Says:

    @6 JA, I don't think he was quite that generation. Born in 1954 he was only 15 when the '60s ended, younger than all the campus radicals, and the musicians they listened too. They may have said, " Don't trust anyone over 30", but that would have been imitating their elders, who first widely expressed that thought.

  13. Andy Says:

    @7, Quite seriously, I do not care for that joke.

  14. ctorg Says:

    Quick and dirty analysis: Correlation between average pitcher age and winning percentage for all teams in the years 2006-2010 (150 team years): .3765.

    That's statistically significant, and it's not surprising. Older pitchers make more money and can be had by richer teams, who have a better chance of winning than poorer teams.

  15. Andy&Mandy Says:

    13, from My Generation : "I hope I die before I get old". What's offensive about that?

  16. Timothy P. Says:

    @7 Sick, but funny.

  17. Timothy P. Says:

    @15 Pete Townsend is a pedophile.

  18. Johnny Twisto Says:

    He sure does trust his young guys, though. Look how he put Matt Moore in for 3 IP against Boston this weekend, just his 2nd game in the majors. Or how he broke in Hellickson last year in the middle of a pennant race.

    And David Price.

    Of course, I guess it could be argued he has no choice, since Tampa Bay as yet has not spent the money to keep its veterans around. (Though historically they haven't had many worth keeping.) Still, I love Maddon.

    I'm disappointed to see how much TB's attendance has dropped off this season. Is that just because all the "experts" said they had no chance to compete this year? Their attendance was up to 9th in the AL last season, up 34% from '07, and almost all those gains have vanished. This team is not a fluke. This is four straight seasons of strong play, and while they have a lot of tough decisions to make, they should be good for at least the next few seasons as well. It would have been nice if they could have started getting bigger crowds, so they'd feel comfortable spending on a big free agent or two to complement all their cheap talent. Bad timing that this run has occurred in these economic times (and Florida's been harder hit than much of the country).

  19. Brent Says:

    1985 Royals had all starts from guys under 30 (Leibrandt and Black were 28, as was Steve Farr, who started 3 games). It looks like Larry Gura started on August 19, 1984 and then Royals went until April 12, 1986 with Dennis Leonard.

    And with Seo starting on his 30th birthday and then not again for the Rays and no one doing it since, it makes it feel like the Rays have a creepy "Logan's Run" thing going for their starting pitchers.

  20. scott Says:

    Last start after the All-star break was Hendrickson in 2005.

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  22. houdini Says:

    Man, that is a great article, thanks.

    The Rays don't spend enough - once players are available for free agency, we generally say goodbye.

    Plus, our farm system is kicking them out left and right... price, hellickson, cobb, moore, etc. We have to move the older players along or shift them to the bp like sonnanstine just to make room.

    Again, awesome read!

  23. Phil Gaskill Says:

    @ 5,

    Moe Drabowski spent three years with the Orioles ('66-'68), during which time he made three whole starts and appeared in another 129 games that he didn't start.

    @ Over-30 joke discussants: What was meant at the time was "Don't trust anybody who's over 30 *right now*" -- that is, right then, in the late '60s, whatever year it was then. It wasn't "Don't ever trust anybody who *ever* gets to be over 30, like for instance me."

  24. Phil Gaskill Says:

    Drabowsky, sorry.

  25. John Autin Says:

    @12, Kds -- With all due respect, campus radicalism was going strong well into the '70s. My eldest sister was born the same year as Maddon, and was part of a thriving radical movement at the U. of Michigan.

  26. John Autin Says:

    @18, JT -- It does seem like a shame that Rays' attendance has never reached even 1.9 million, after their inaugural year.

    They do have 6 more home dates, so the drop-off this year might wind up as "only" 250K or so, from 1.86mm to maybe 1.60mm.

    I'm not well versed in their attendance issues, but it seems possible that they just won't ever draw 2 million in that stadium in that location. Pretty crummy job by MLB with that particular expansion, IMO.

  27. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @25/ John Autin "@12, Kds -- With all due respect, campus radicalism was going strong well into the '70s..."

    Yes, it's a seldom acknowledged convention, but the philosophical mindset that we refer to as "THE SIXTIES!!!!" lasted till at least 1974. In some aspects it's still around today.

    @17/ Pete Townshend (literally) kicked Abbie Hoffman off the stage when the Who were performing at Woodstock, so he'll always be all right by me.

  28. kds Says:

    @25,27. Hate to give up my age, but in a small way I was a '70s campus radical. (Both high school and college.) My memory is none of the people I agitated with would have said they didn't trust anyone over 30 seriously. It only would be said with an ironic eyeroll. But when you have The Brookings Institute, "Budget of the United States", as a high school text book, you're radicalism does not tend toward doctrinaire ideologism.

  29. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    @18: The reason Tampa's attendance is so low is the location of the ballpark. It's not the same as the problems in Miami with the Marlins. Driving from the north side of Tampa to St. Pete is an hour drive at a minimum (the normal drive time is the same it takes to drive from Lansing to see a Tiger's game). Simply put the 'ballpark' is in a horrible location that requires crazy traffic to get through (which is why they have altered start times so much this year)... maybe not as bad as Atlanta traffic, but still insane.

    Attendance is proven to rise when teams win more or less. When it consistently fails to rise and a good product is on the field, the location of the product has to be looked at as the culprit.

  30. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    @26: IAs a Central Florida Rays fan (driving distance to games 2.5 hours) the location is very disappointing (Raymond James where the Bucs play, in Tampa is a 70 minute drive as a quick FYI).

    In the same breath though, the Rays may not be in existence given that MLB essentially gave Tampa/St. Pete a team because the stadium was built for an expansion MLB team. With no stadium, there's quite probably no team.

    It was a crummy job by MLB as it relates to expansion, but at least I have the good fortune of watching every Rays game with one of the best PBP guys in the game (Staats).

  31. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    The traffic isnt that bad. OUT of Tampa, yes.
    But once over the bridge it's no problem.

    But yes, "Tampa Bay" is a huge sprawlopolis, and unless you are living in St Pete, it is an annoyingly long drive. And even on the hottest, most disgustingly humid day it is more appealing to be in the pool or sipping a drink by the gulf than to sit in that moronic dome.

    If Tampa Bay wants attendance, they need to provide $5 tickets for Seniors and an armada of shuttle buses to go get them.

    I know all this because I went to college there, along with Steve Balboni and Brian Sabean.

  32. Doug Says:

    Teams to have consecutives seasons with no starts by 30+ year-olds.
    - 4 years, Rays (2008-11), Expos (1971-74)
    - 3 years, Senators (1956-58)
    - 2 years, Orioles (2004-05), Expos (2003-04), Marlins (2002-03), Blue Jays (1981-82), Astros (1971-72), Royals (1969-70), Athletics (1968-69)

    Note that this list is from PI seach based on pitcher's age at June 30. So, does not account for:
    - PI age 30 pitchers who make a start before their birthday, but not after
    - PI age 29 pitchers who make a start after their 30th birthday occuring after June 30

  33. Doug Says:


    One more.

    Cardinals (1978-79).

  34. Doug Says:


    Last one.

    Senators (1914-15).

  35. Ted Says:

    amazing! thats crazy
    and you have to go back to 2001 to find a pitcher on that list that wasn't hendrickson or didn't end in a vowel.

  36. Andy&Mandy Says:

    17. No, Pete isn't a pedophile. Get your bloody facts straight.

    "A four-month police investigation, including forensic examination of all of his computers, established that Townshend was not in possession of any illegal downloaded images."

    There's a big difference between research and actually getting off with or to images of children. Gary Glitter is a pedo. Pete isn't.

  37. Andy&Mandy Says:

    #3 referenced a 60's radical Jerry Rubin, who has no ties to pedophilia, but would have been the type not to trust those over 30 at that time.

    #7 carries on by suggesting Pete Townshend, well known for the lyric "hope I die before I get old". Obviously that has a more logical reference to this story than any garbage about being a pedophile.

    #13 and #16 seem to have pedophilia as a high priority in their lives, because they both immediately assume that #7 was talking about that, when it seems pretty obvious that the reference would have been to "My Generation".

    It's really up to #7 to confirm or deny, but regardless it's pretty sad that 13 and 16 automatically assume Pete is a pedo, when they clearly don't have their facts straight. I mean, if anyone looks like a pedo, it's got to be Andy.

  38. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Teams to have consecutives seasons with no starts by 30+ year-olds.
    - 4 years, Rays (2008-11), Expos (1971-74)

    The Expos' streak of games started by under-30 pitchers reached 646: the last five games of the 1970 season and all of the 1971-74 seasons. Dave McNally, by then well into his 30s, started the opening game of the 1975 season for the Expos.

  39. Andy Says:

    Amazingly, I agree with what's at 36, despite the fact that he's a troll.

  40. Andy&Mandy Says:

    39, you agree with 37 as well then?

  41. Timothy P Says:

    @36 Research? Ok, forgot Pete was a professor, or a college student, or a law enforcement officer, or an investigative journalist, and he was doing a service to his fellow man to help inform us of the dangers of kiddie porn.

  42. Timothy P Says:

    @36 I'm still looking for the other "research" Pete has done on other hot button issues of the day

  43. Timothy P Says:

    You know Andy, I'm big on free speech and I like to call people that disagree with me idiots, and I don't like the idea of banning someone but! Calling someone a pedophile might be one of the worst insults ever hurled at another stranger on the internet.

  44. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It's not surprising Timmy puts such limits on those who can do valid research.

  45. Timothy P Says:

    @45 I understand Twisto, that doing research is not limited to those professions, but in your heart you have to think maybe ole Pete's barrister found a legal technicallity that saved Pete from jail. Are you able to point to other research done by Pete?

  46. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Does one have to research multiple subjects for any of it to be valid research?

  47. Johnny Twisto Says:

    BTW Timmy, you never told us how your big date went.

  48. Timothy P Says:

    @47 Oh my date with Large Marge? Went great, spent a fortune on appitizers though.

  49. Johnny Twisto Says:

    How does she like her steaks cooked?

  50. Timothy P. Says:

    Marge likes her steaks rare, she usually can't wait that long to dig in, she's always hungry.

  51. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Does she enjoy the soothing baritone stylings of Lou Rawls? And does she get along with your cat?

  52. Carroll B. Merriman Says:

    I found your page and my computer shut down after a "critical update." Thankfully, I remembered the title and came right back to it. I enjoyed reading your great article.

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  54. Jeff Says:

    Just to makes sure we stay completely off-track, I'm going to say this: I remember when the Townshend thing went down, and I remember him saying that it was research into his own backstory. Between the rock opera Tommy and songs like I'm a Boy, it seemed to him that many of his songs had a backstory of child abuse. Whether sexual (Uncle Ernie) or gender confusion (Put this wig on, little boy), he wondered if there was something in his childhood that he'd repressed. I believe that he wassaying that he was looking at these images to see if they shocked a long-buried memory to the surface (which definitely can happen).
    Again, this is his story. Is it true? Likely not. But without knowing the extent or content of the images he was looking at, I cannot judge him or put a damning label on him like pedophile.

  55. Ben Says:

    Why must every mention of Mark Hendrickson turn into a debate about the alleged pedophilia of rock stars?

  56. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Why would Hendrickson be so tall if not to peek into the bedrooms of small children?!?

  57. Andy Says:

    Maybe it's because of Tanyan Sturtze's sad 2002 performance for TBD at age 31, leading the league in losses, earned runs, hits and walks.

    But I actually think 28 year old Victor Zambrano was worse for the Rays the next season in 2003, completing the "Golden Zambrano" to lead all AL pitchers in walks, wild pitches and hitting batters. Has anyone else done that in the same season?

  58. Eric Says:

    Phil Niekro would have in 1979 if only his little brother had thrown one fewer wild pitch!

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