June 27, 2013

Who are the best old hitters in Twins history?

twins best old hitters

Last week I wrote about the best young hitters in Twins history, using OPS to highlight the most productive seasons by players at ages 20 (Butch Wynegar), 21 (Tom Brunansky), 22 (Kent Hrbek), 23 (Joe Mauer), 24 (Hrbek), and 25 (Harmon Killebrew). I'm going to focus on the other side of the age spectrum today, examining the best old hitters in Twins history. Let's start with the 35-year-olds ...

AGE 35              YEAR      PA      OPS
Kirby Puckett       1995     602     .894
Harmon Killebrew    1971     624     .850
Tony Oliva          1974     494     .739
Terry Steinbach     1997     489     .696
Vic Power           1963     578     .682
John Roseboro       1968     435     .611

Those are the only six 35-year-olds in Twins history to log 300 plate appearances, led by Kirby Puckett in the strike-shortened 1995 season. In what was his final season he hit .314/.379/.515 with 23 homers and 39 doubles in 137 games. Defensively he'd shifted to right field, but Puckett remained a force offensively with an OPS that was 60 points above his career mark. He smacked his most homers since 1988 and set career-highs with 56 walks and a .379 on-base percentage.

And adjusting for the offensive levels of the two eras Killebrew's age-35 season was arguably even more productive than Puckett's despite lower raw numbers. Puckett edged Killebrew by 44 points of OPS, but the league average was .771 in 1995 compared to .681 in 1971. Killebrew split time between third base and first base while hitting .254/.386/.464 for the league's 10th-best OPS and led the AL in both RBIs (119) and walks (114).

Tony Oliva joins Puckett and Killebrew as the only other Twins who were above average at 35, hitting .285/.325/.414 in league that hit just .258 with a .371 slugging percentage as a whole. Terry Steinbach was well below average while hitting .248/.302/.392 in 1997, but his modest .696 OPS was just slightly below the AL average for catchers and he caught 116 games in his first of three seasons with the Twins. Oh, and he doubled his career-high with six steals.

AGE 36              YEAR      PA      OPS
Harmon Killebrew    1972     532     .817
Tony Oliva          1975     515     .722
Terry Steinbach     1998     465     .720
John Roseboro       1969     406     .654

Only four 36-year-olds in Twins history topped 300 plate appearances and all of them were also on the age-35 list, led by Killebrew hitting .231/.367/.450 with 26 homers and 94 walks in 139 games. Those may not stand out as huge raw numbers, but in 1972 he ranked third in the league in both homers and walks while placing among the AL's top 10 in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.

Just like the previous season Oliva remained a slightly above average bat, hitting .270/.344/.378 in a league that hit just .258/.328/.379 in 1975. Steinbach was actually better at 36 than he was at 35, upping his OPS by 25 points and catching 119 games. John Roseboro made his name with the Dodgers, but after a decade in Los Angeles he moved on to the Twins for two seasons and, like Steinbach, was remarkably durable for a mid-30s catcher.

AGE 37              YEAR      PA      OPS
Terry Steinbach     1999     380     .748
Harmon Killebrew    1973     290     .698

For the young hitters lists the cutoff was 300 plate appearances, but because there aren't nearly as many old hitters I've reduced the minimum to 200 plate appearances for age 37 and up. And even then Steinbach and Killebrew are the only 37-year-old regulars in Twins history. Steinbach again raised his OPS, going from .696 at 35 and .730 at 36 to .748 at 37. He wasn't as durable, but still started 96 games behind the plate and posted a career-high .358 on-base percentage.

Killebrew was a shell of his former self in 1973, as major knee problems limited him to 69 games and he managed just five homers, although he still walked 41 times and posted a .352 on-base percentage. Oliva fell too short on playing time in 1976 to make the list, but he played his final season at age 37 and was a below-average hitter for the only time in his career, struggling for 67 games before calling it quits.

AGE 38              YEAR      PA      OPS
Harmon Killebrew    1974     382     .672
Jamey Carroll       2012     537     .660

Killebrew is technically the most productive 38-year-old in team history, but it wasn't pretty. He was healthy enough to play 122 games in 1974, but hit just .222/.312/.360 with 12 homers in his final Twins season before moving on to the Royals for one last forgettable season. Meanwhile, in basically matching Killebrew's age-38 production Jamey Carroll set a career-high with 537 plate appearances and also drove in the most runs of his career.

Mike Redmond's limited action as a backup catcher keeps him from appearing on any of these lists, but he spent ages 34-38 with the Twins and hit .294/.337/.352 for them after turning 35. Only six players in Twins history logged more plate appearances than Redmond after age 35 and his .690 OPS is plenty solid for a catcher. In fact, Redmond's adjusted OPS+ was the exact same as Steinbach's post-35 mark.

AGE 39              YEAR      PA      OPS
Jim Thome           2010     340    1.039
Paul Molitor        1996     729     .858
Jim Dwyer           1989     254     .794
Otis Nixon          1998     500     .705

When the Twins signed Jim Thome for just $1.5 million in 2010 he was supposed to fill a limited role as a bench bat and occasional designated hitter, but instead he turned in one of the best age-39 seasons of all time. Thome hit .283/.412/.627 with 25 homers and 60 walks in 340 plate appearances for a 1.039 OPS that's the fourth-highest age-35 mark in MLB history, one spot ahead of Babe Ruth and trailing only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams.

Not only is his 1.039 OPS in 2010 the best mark by any Twins hitter after age 35, no one else has even cracked .900. And regardless of age his 1.039 OPS in 2010 is the highest in Twins history for all hitters to play at least 100 games, with only Killebrew twice and Mauer and Rod Carew one apiece joining Thome in the 1.000 OPS/100 games club. Not bad for a guy who signed for $1.5 million and began the season behind Delmon Young in the line for playing time.

Thome's age-39 season is so amazing that it overshadows an incredible age-39 season by Paul Molitor, who batted .341 with a league-leading 225 hits in 1996. Molitor signed with the Twins after three seasons in Toronto and joined the 3,000-hit club in September, missing just one game while setting a career-high with 113 RBIs, tying a career-high with 41 doubles, and stealing 18 bases. Molitor is the only 39-year-old in MLB history to top 200 hits or 110 RBIs.

Otis Nixon looked 39 years old for his entire career and had one of his best seasons as an actual 39-year-old, hitting .297 with a .361 on-base percentage and 37 steals in 110 games during his one-season stay in Minnesota. Nixon broke his jaw in April when Royals shortstop Felix Martinez kicked him in the face during a double play, yet still managed the second-most steals in MLB history for a 39-year-old behind Rickey Henderson.

AGE 40              YEAR      PA      OPS
Jim Thome           2011     242     .827
Paul Molitor        1997     597     .786

Here's how ridiculous Thome's age-39 season was: He lost more than 200 points from his OPS the next year and still had one of the most productive age-40 seasons ever. Thome hit .243/.351/.476 with 12 homers in 240 plate appearances for an .827 OPS that tops the Twins' age-39 list ahead of his lone competition in Molitor. And then Thome was even better after being traded to the Indians in August, hitting .296/.390/.479 in 22 games back where his career started.

Molitor was also very good as a 40-year-old, hitting .305/.351/.435 in 135 games to join fellow Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Sam Rice, Luke Appling, and Henderson as the only players in MLB history to bat .300 at age 40. Thome and Molitor are the only Twins to get regular playing time at 40 and the only other hitters in team history to see any sort of game action at 40 are Jim Dwyer, Ruben Sierra, and Elmer Valo, who combined to bat .179 in 144 trips to the plate.

AGE 41              YEAR      PA      OPS
Dave Winfield       1993     594     .767
Paul Molitor        1998     559     .718

Three seasons before Molitor notched his 3,000th hit in Minnesota fellow St. Paul native Dave Winfield signed with the Twins and did the same at age 41. And he was hardly just a novelty act, hitting .271/.325/.442 with 21 homers in 143 games in 1993. Winfield joins Williams, Bonds, and Darrell Evans as the only 41-year-olds with 20 homers. Molitor managed a nice-looking .281 batting average at age 41, but his .718 OPS in his final season was below the AL average of .771.

AGE 42              YEAR      PA      OPS
Dave Winfield       1994     328     .746

Winfield is the only hitter in Twins history to appear in a game at age 42 or older and he was still a decent hitter in 1994, batting .252/.321/.425 with 10 homers and 15 doubles in 77 games before the strike ended the season. Unfortunately he didn't call it quits during the strike, instead coming back in 1995 with the Indians and hitting .191 in 46 games to end a Hall of Fame career. Winfield has the ninth-most plate appearances in MLB history after turning 40 with 1,722.

This week's blog content is sponsored by Curt's Salsa, a locally owned salsa company that believes in fresh ingredients and rooting for the little guy. Please support them for supporting AG.com.


  1. Fantastic blog, this blog motivates a good reader to do and write their own blog.
    Shatter Weed

    Comment by Shatter Weed — October 22, 2019 @ 11:26 pm

  2. Marijuana dispensary
    Thanks, you have made a wonderful blog. I love and appreciate your post.

    Comment by Marijuana dispensary — October 24, 2019 @ 8:42 am

  3. CBD for arthritis
    Thanks for sharing this blog. Nice blog I like it. Great job you have done.

    Comment by CBD for arthritis — October 27, 2019 @ 9:44 pm

  4. Cognitive biases
    Nice blog I like it and thanks for sharing this wonderful information. keep up the good work.

    Comment by Cognitive biases — October 27, 2019 @ 9:45 pm

  5. CBD online Canada
    Keep on sharing this blog. It motivates people reading a good and high-quality blog.

    Comment by CBD online Canada — October 29, 2019 @ 11:17 am

  6. FAQ page design
    Nice blog. Thank you for sharing an informative information with us.

    Comment by FAQ page design — October 31, 2019 @ 2:44 am

  7. Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog site, this blog is very useful.
    Vape juice canada

    Comment by Vape juice canada — November 3, 2019 @ 5:07 am

  8. This is surely a great blog. Keep the work like this. Thanks.
    What is the endocannabinoid system

    Comment by What is the endocannabinoid system — November 3, 2019 @ 5:13 am

  9. Brilliant blog. Well organized, extremely helpful and great examples. Thanks.
    Vape store

    Comment by Vape store — November 5, 2019 @ 12:42 am

  10. Downturned eyes
    Wow, I really loved this blog. I really appreciate it. Thanks for sharing this blog.

    Comment by Downturned eyes — November 7, 2019 @ 8:20 am

  11. Marijuan myths
    Thanks, you have made a wonderful blog. I love and appreciate your blog.

    Comment by Marijuana myths — November 7, 2019 @ 8:24 am

  12. I like this website. it’s very nice information and this is a great blog just what I needed.
    Greening out

    Comment by Greening out — November 8, 2019 @ 9:38 pm

  13. You’re a smart cookie. I like your style.
    rockstar OG

    Comment by rockstar OG — November 12, 2019 @ 8:35 pm

  14. Downturned Eyes
    I love reading this blog, it’s represented as a good writer and motivates people to read and write their own blog.

    Comment by Downturned Eyes — November 13, 2019 @ 10:37 pm

  15. What is the endocannabinoid system
    Writing and sharing a good blog represented as a good people who wants to share nice meaning on a blog.

    Comment by What is the endocannabinoid system — November 13, 2019 @ 10:41 pm

  16. This blog is fantastic, lots of people are looking for this site. Thanks for sharing.
    Best strains for creativity and focus

    Comment by Best strains for creativity and focus — November 18, 2019 @ 4:10 am

  17. OMG! What a nice blog.
    rockstar tuna

    Comment by rockstar tuna — November 20, 2019 @ 3:45 am

  18. Thank you for the great article and thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    Comment by Indica — November 20, 2019 @ 6:09 am

  19. Take good care of our health as well as others.
    online dispensary

    Comment by online dispensary — November 21, 2019 @ 6:17 am

  20. You’re someone’s reason to smile. Just keep sharing.
    blue hawaiian

    Comment by blue hawaiian — November 22, 2019 @ 1:12 am

  21. shatter
    The tips and strategies were really good.

    Comment by shatter — November 22, 2019 @ 6:22 pm

  22. CBD Skincare
    Very nice blog. I love reading this fantastic and i can’t wait to share this blog.

    Comment by CBD Skincare — November 22, 2019 @ 8:43 pm

  23. Order Weed Online
    This is really good

    Comment by order weed online — November 26, 2019 @ 6:06 am

  24. cbd oil
    Awesome work. Great job

    Comment by cbd oil — November 28, 2019 @ 6:44 am

  25. Impressive creation. The creativity and motivation, perfectly done. Great job.
    Buy CBD online

    Comment by Buy CBD online — December 4, 2019 @ 8:49 pm

  26. Cannabis tincture
    Awesome work you did

    Comment by cannabis tincture — December 5, 2019 @ 9:34 pm

  27. i want to save this.
    gods green crack

    Comment by gods green crack — December 6, 2019 @ 6:01 am

  28. This excellent website truly has all the info I wanted, This is really a great site.
    CBD oil Canada

    Comment by CBD oil Canada — December 6, 2019 @ 11:46 pm

  29. sour amnesia
    It’s a great opportunity to visit your site. Very useful information.

    Comment by sour amnesia — December 9, 2019 @ 5:49 am

  30. Cbd tincture
    Very good work you did

    Comment by cbd tincture — December 10, 2019 @ 7:43 am

  31. CBD oil Toronto
    Impressive site! It’s very nice, great effort of creating this site. Well done!

    Comment by CBD oil Toronto — December 10, 2019 @ 9:05 pm

  32. Im so amaze, for the first time i see a blog like this. Cheers!

    Comment by romulan — December 11, 2019 @ 8:18 am

  33. Protruding Eyes
    Hi! Just want to say this is awesome

    Comment by protruding eyes — December 13, 2019 @ 6:25 pm

  34. Monolid Eyes
    Perfect post, I will make like this soon

    Comment by Monolid eyes — December 15, 2019 @ 3:29 am

  35. I’m so impressed to this post. I like it.
    Island Sweet Skunk

    Comment by Island Sweet Skunk — December 19, 2019 @ 3:33 am

  36. Thanks for this Blog. So much helpful information. I love this type of blg.
    What is toner

    Comment by What is toner — December 20, 2019 @ 8:59 pm

  37. Great looking site. I value the information on your blog. Cheers!
    Strawberry Cough

    Comment by Strawberry Cough — December 30, 2019 @ 10:15 pm

  38. Weed Yoga
    Hey! You show to us how genius you are! You did a very good post

    Comment by weed yoga — January 3, 2020 @ 6:08 pm

  39. Magnificent creation, i like the way you style and the dedication of creating a blog.
    DIY Sheet Mask

    Comment by DIY Sheet Mask — January 3, 2020 @ 9:13 pm

  40. This is really interesting, I have shared your site to my friends. You are very skilled blogger.
    Double Cleansing

    Comment by Double Cleansing — January 6, 2020 @ 12:14 am

  41. cannabis oil canada
    Fantastic one you did

    Comment by cbd 0il canada — January 8, 2020 @ 3:27 am

  42. Sativa
    This is amazing..

    Comment by sativa — January 10, 2020 @ 5:40 pm

  43. Indica strains
    awesome one!

    Comment by indica strains — January 14, 2020 @ 5:35 am

  44. cbd online
    This is very good one

    Comment by cbd online — January 18, 2020 @ 9:26 pm

  45. How long does CBD last
    I read your blog site your site so nice and very informative post, thanks for sharing this blog site.

    Comment by How long does CBD last — January 20, 2020 @ 9:27 pm

  46. thank you for such a wonderful blog. hope to read more of your creations.online dispensary

    Comment by online dispensary — January 21, 2020 @ 1:58 am

  47. I love your blog site it’s very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog site.
    Editorial Calendar

    Comment by Editorial Calendar — January 22, 2020 @ 4:48 am

  48. I know that this blog was so fantastic the design is so good.
    cannabis cbd

    Comment by cannabis cbd — January 22, 2020 @ 5:23 pm

  49. Great effort to this blog.
    shatter weed

    Comment by shatter weed — January 24, 2020 @ 6:32 pm

  50. every articles is details oriented,love how the site construct. buy weed

    Comment by buy weed — January 25, 2020 @ 12:42 am

Leave a comment