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The Oldest Pair of Starting ________ in a Game

Posted by Raphy
Years ago when I was a child, I remember it being a  big deal that the American League featured two 42 year old catchers, which was remarkable durability for a position that is extremely rough on the bodies of its players. Recently,  a discussion  in the comments section about chronologically challenged opposing  pitchers piqued my interest and I though it might be interesting to identify the games featuring the oldest tandem of starting players at each position. It took me 20 years to realize, but Boone-Fisk was more than just a big deal for catchers, it was a big deal for any position. In fact, since 1919, catcher is the only position other than pitcher for which two players, both 42 or older have started in the same game.

Using the PI game finder, which limits us to games since 1919 we can find the oldest pair of starters at each position for a given game. For our purposes, "oldest" will be defined as the highest age which was reached by both players in the game (as opposed to the sum of their ages).



Jamie Moyer44.245PHIW 12-4 GS-7 ,W 6.284436112272450.040

David Wells44.062SDPL 4-12GS-5 ,L 4.1777213795020-0.401
Close Calls:  While this was the only game with two 44 year old starting pitchers, the 2007 season  featured the only 4 games since 1919 in which both starting pitchers were at least 43 years old.  Randy Johnson mixed it up along with Moyer and Wells for part of that season.



Bob Boone42.290KCRL 0-3 32000000100-0.018

Carlton Fisk42.253CHWW 3-0 33000000001-0.116

Close Calls:  The last of four 1990 meetings as opposing starters  by the 42 year old catchers.

First Base
05/10/2003 SFG@ATL


Andres Galarraga41.326SFGL 3-6 44120012000.233

Julio Franco44.260ATLW 6-3 4401000001-0.032

Close Calls: The last of six match-ups by the duo as 41+ year-olds.

Second Base
08/16/2007 HOU@LAD


Craig Biggio41.245HOUL 2-6 440200000000.029

Jeff Kent39.162LADW 6-2 431330021000.177

Close Calls: The last of 4 matchups by the elderly second basemen.

Third Base
07/04/1986 CHC@SDP


Davey Lopes41.062CHCL 1-2 100000000010.061

Graig Nettles41.318SDPW 2-1 33010000000-0.004

Close Calls: The latter of 2 games on consecutive days.

08/29/1948 CHW@PHA


Luke Appling41.149CHWW 7-2 5312000020

Skeeter Webb38.299PHAL 2-7 5512100000

Close Calls: Appling and Webb both started the first game as well, but by the time second game had rolled around both players were older. Other games that featured 38+ year old shortstops included Rabbit Maranville/Dave Bancroft (2) and Jimmy Austin/Terry Turner.

Left Field
05/09/2007 NYM@SFG
55Moises Alou40.310NYMW 5-3 44010000000-0.116
56Barry Bonds42.289SFGL 3-5 420000002100.046
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/29/2011.

Close Calls: The last of a three game series involving the two quadragenarians. Other games included  a matchup between Willie McGee and Rickey Henderson in 1999, as well as one between McGee and Otis Nixon that same year.

Center Field
07/17/1998 MIN@OAK


Rickey Henderson39.204OAKL 7-8 5401000011010.080

Otis Nixon39.189MINW 8-7 6603000101100.108
Close Calls:  There have been 9 games in which both starting center fielders were at least 39 years old. In addition to the Henderson/Nixon game above, Kenny Lofton and Steve Finley matched up 3 times in 2006, and Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb did it 5 times in 1927.

Right Field
07/16/1991 BAL@CAL


Dwight Evans39.255BALL 1-2 44000000001-0.149

Dave Winfield39.286CALW 2-1 33000000001-0.063

Close Calls:  There have been 19 games in which both starting right fielders were at least 39 years old. This includes 2 games with Willie McGee and Tony Gwynn in 1999,  5 games with Dwight Evans and Dave Winfield in 1991, a single game with Lee Lacy and Reggie Jackson in 1987 and 11 games from 1934. Those 1934 games involved Babe Ruth pitted against Sam Rice 9 times and twice against Bing Miller. Ruth rarely finished those games (or many others) in his last season for the Yankees. (Check out this 1934 see-saw battle.  It must have been something.)

Designated Hitter
09/18/1992 TEX@TOR

Player Age Tm Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS WPA

Brian Downing 41.345 TEX L 0-13 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -0.001

Dave Winfield 40.351 TOR W 13-0 4 3 2 2 0 0 1 3 1 0 0 0 0.154

Close Calls:  While no game has featured two starting DHs that were both at least 41 years old, there have been 32 games with both players past their 40th birthdays including the following pairings: 
Ken Griffey, Matt Stairs.  2008 Matt Stairs / Frank Thomas (2),  Rafael Palmeiro/ Ellis Burks , Rickey Henderson / Harold Baines , Wade Boggs / Paul Molitor  (3),  Molitor / Eddie Murray(4),  Andre Dawson/Dave Winfield,  Winfield/ George Brett (4), Winfield/Brian Downing (3), Winfield/Carlton Fisk, Downing/DaveParker(6),  Darrell Evans/Reggie JacksonRico Carty/Carl Yastrzemski (2),  Hank Aaron/Frank Robinson (2)

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