From SABR member Graham Womack at The National Pastime Museum on April 5, 2017:
When Joe Nuxhall made his Major League Baseball debut in 1944 at age 15, getting battered for five runs in two-thirds of an inning in relief, there was a silver lining.
It took eight years but Nuxhall returned to the Majors, making two All-Star appearances, winning 135 games, and pitching until 1966. Nuxhall remains the youngest player in modern MLB history, and, of course, this headlined his New York Times obituary in 2007. But it was far from his greatest achievement.
Other players weren’t as lucky. According to Baseball-reference.com, 23 men since 1871 played their last game in the Majors prior to their 18th birthday. It hasn’t happened since 1963 for many reasons, chief of which, perhaps, is that baseball has gotten much more careful —as development costs have increased significantly—in how it treats prospects.
The names Jim Derrington, Dave Skaugstad, and Alex George might be known to few people beyond family and friends, though they comprise a unique club. These three men, all in their 70s, are the only living people to have their entire MLB careers before age 18.
Originally published: April 5, 2017. Last Updated: April 5, 2017.