Paul Konerko – one of the greatest 34-36 year old players in history
With Paul Konerko reaching 400 career White Sox homers today, it seems like a good time to repeat how amazing he’s been for the last 3 seasons.
Check out the players ranked by highest OPS+ over their Age 34 to 36 seasons, minimum 1450 plate appearances:
OK, seriously. I count at least 12 inner-circle Hall-of-Famers on that list, and the only guys here who are not in the Hall at all are Gavvy Cravath (who wasn’t a full-time player until his 30s), Jack Fournier, Edgar (who is still on the ballot) and three active guys (Egdar, Manny, and of course Konerko.) Pretty damned good company.
Since 1901 there are only 9 guys who, each season from Age 34 to Age 36, qualified for the batting title with an OPS+ of at least 140:
|1||Paul Konerko||3||2010||2012||34-36||Ind. Seasons|
|2||Edgar Martinez||3||1997||1999||34-36||Ind. Seasons|
|3||Paul Molitor||3||1991||1993||34-36||Ind. Seasons|
|4||Mike Schmidt||3||1984||1986||34-36||Ind. Seasons|
|5||Hank Aaron||3||1968||1970||34-36||Ind. Seasons|
|6||Stan Musial||3||1955||1957||34-36||Ind. Seasons|
|7||Babe Ruth||3||1929||1931||34-36||Ind. Seasons|
|8||Tris Speaker||3||1922||1924||34-36||Ind. Seasons|
|9||Gavvy Cravath||3||1915||1917||34-36||Ind. Seasons|
These are all guys from the first list save for Paul Molitor who very consistently was right in the 140s each season.
What am I saying? Konerko’s got a real shot at the Hall of Fame despite a relatively slow start to his career. Two years ago seemed like a fluke. Last year we said it wouldn’t last. Now here here is putting up his 3rd spectacular season in a row, so far the best of the three. If he does it for a couple more years after this, I say he’s going to Cooperstown.
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