Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The oldest player who ever hit in a game

There’s not much written about it, unfortunately, but later in his life, while coaching for the St. Louis Browns, O’Leary came in to take an at-bat in the final game of the 1934 season ... at nearly 59 years of age. Here’s more from St. Louis Browns Historical Society & Fan Club President Ed Wheatley:

“The last time Charley had stepped to the plate in a MLB game was with the St. Louis Cardinals back in 1913,” Wheatley, creator of the film “A Baseball Legacy: Fans Remember the Browns,” told me. “But in the sixth inning of that September 30th game, he came up as a pinch-hitter for pitcher George Blaeholder and slapped a single. It was his only hit in his only at-bat in the last 20 years and 360 days.”

Nobody was or has been (or likely ever will be) older while standing in a big league batter’s box. It’s also the longest gap between at-bats in Major League history. Only Satchel Paige was older in a big league appearance when he pitched for the A’s at the age of 59.

And not only did O’Leary get a hit, but he also hustled around the bases to score a run. What would’ve been a ridiculous sight in today’s game—tweeted and written about countless times—was nothing more than a line on a box score.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 19, 2022 at 09:44 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: old

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 20, 2022 at 10:12 AM (#6061687)
Imagine a 59-year-old playing today! He would've been born in 1963, while JFK was still alive!

Here's a Born-in-1963 All-Star Team, based on WAR:

1B - Mark McGwire
2B - Bip Roberts
3B - Edgar Martinez (yes, I know, but I had to get Crime Dog's bat into the lineup)
SS - Walt Weiss
LF - Mike Greenwell
CF - Lenny Dykstra
RF - Paul O'Neill
C - Mike Stanley
DH - Fred McGriff
UT - Bobby Bonilla (if we can pay him)

SP - Randy Johnson, David Cone, David Wells, Jeff Fassero
RP - Bryan Harvey, Jeff Brantley, Bobby Thigpen
   2. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: January 20, 2022 at 11:18 AM (#6061699)
Great story!
   3. BDC Posted: January 20, 2022 at 11:25 AM (#6061700)
If they'd have let Minnie Minoso bat in 1990, he would have broken O'Leary's mark; Minoso was 64 at the time.

Elderly pro players were more common BITD. Joe McGinnity batted .313 in the Mississippi Valley League in 1925, at the age of 54 (of course he pitched too, going 6-6 with an ERA of 3.81). But McGinnity had been playing in the minors off and on for many years at that point. A weird thing about the O'Leary at-bat was that he hadn't even batted in the minors since 1917.
   4. Traderdave Posted: January 20, 2022 at 01:57 PM (#6061734)
Was he on the roster? Had he signed a player contract?


Or did the umps just not GAF because it was the '34 Brown?
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 20, 2022 at 02:11 PM (#6061739)
Was he on the roster? Had he signed a player contract?


Or did the umps just not GAF because it was the '34 Brown?


I think most teams (especially awful ones) carried fewer players than the roster max, so I doubt that would be an issue. Also nobody GAF.
   6. Cblau Posted: January 20, 2022 at 09:17 PM (#6061800)
The story leaves out the fact that O'Leary had shaved four years off his age for his playing career, so no one knew at the time that he was 58.
   7. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 20, 2022 at 10:29 PM (#6061805)
He wasn't the only Browns coach or manager to get into that game. Coach Grover Hartley, who was 45, caught the last few innings, and manager Rogers Hornsby, who was 38, pinch hit in the seventh inning. The three of them were the only Browns position players to be used as subs in the game.
   8. kthejoker Posted: January 21, 2022 at 12:47 AM (#6061813)
Jamie Moyer juuuuust missed the 1963 cutoff being born in November of 62 ...but he played MLB ball later than every player on the Born-in-1963 team (and had more WAR than Jeff Fassero, so think he should be (wait for it)

Grandfathered in.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
A triple short of the cycle
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

Newsblog2022 NBA Playoffs thread
(1703 - 11:40pm, May 21)
Last: spivey

NewsblogSeattle Mariners sign Justin Upton
(2 - 11:22pm, May 21)
Last: they sit at the same 57i66135 and eat sometimes

NewsblogWEEKEND OMNICHATTER for May 20-22, 2022
(50 - 10:55pm, May 21)
Last: Tom Nawrocki

NewsblogRoger Angell, Who Wrote About Baseball With Passion, Dies at 101
(42 - 9:48pm, May 21)
Last: I don't want to talk about Rocco

NewsblogFormer Giants fan-favorite infielder Joe Panik retires from MLB
(9 - 9:40pm, May 21)
Last: Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome

Sox TherapyOne Step Forward
(16 - 4:59pm, May 21)
Last: Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - Crowning Champions and Pro-Rel
(130 - 4:56pm, May 21)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogJuan Soto trade rumors: Nationals may be 'motivated' to trade outfielder
(50 - 1:52pm, May 21)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogZach Davies’ estranged wife says MLB pitcher ghosted her for a year
(56 - 12:32pm, May 21)
Last: base ball chick

NewsblogNew York Mets' Max Scherzer out 6-8 weeks with oblique strain
(16 - 12:25pm, May 21)
Last: nick swisher hygiene

NewsblogSports Venues Create Quiet Refuge for Fans with Sensory Needs
(2 - 7:23pm, May 20)
Last: AndrewJ

NewsblogSports teams love crypto. What happens when their sponsor strikes out?
(8 - 6:50pm, May 20)
Last: Tom Nawrocki

NewsblogChris Paddack’s medical red flag killed Mets-Padres deal
(8 - 4:25pm, May 20)
Last: Karl from NY

NewsblogMLB, Not the NBA, Needs Its Own Separate In-Season Tournament
(12 - 12:00pm, May 20)
Last: Buck Coats

NewsblogCardinals To Promote Nolan Gorman, Matthew Liberatore; Tyler O’Neill to IL
(7 - 11:38am, May 20)
Last: JJ1986

Page rendered in 0.2734 seconds
45 querie(s) executed