Preston: The oldest players to make their MLB debut
From SABR member J.G. Preston at The J.G. Preston Experience on September 14, 2013:
Jim Morris attracted a fair amount of attention when he made his major league baseball debut with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999, and even more when the story of his life became a movie starring Dennis Quaid (“The Rookie”) in 2002. A promising young pitcher who was drafted out of junior college as a 19-year-old, Morris gave up on his playing career in 1989 because of arm problems, went to college (and played football, leading the NCAA’s Division II in punting and earning Little All-America honors in 1992) and was a high school teacher and coach before his players encouraged him to give pro ball another shot — at age 35. The Devil Rays, in their second year of existence, signed him to a minor league contract and brought him to the big leagues that September.
On his website Morris refers to himself as “The Oldest Rookie” (although he has nothing on Quaid, who was 47 when he portrayed Morris in the movie). No doubt Morris put the words in quotation marks because he knows he wasn’t actually the oldest man to reach the major leagues; in fact, an older rookie reached the majors the year after Morris. Using Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index feature, I find 27 players who were at least 36 years old when they played in their first major league game, going back to 1916. The complete list is at the end of this post.
This page was last updated September 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm MST.