"The only way you'll get me out is if I eat my bat" - Paul Konerko / PRESSWIRE

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:

Rk Player OPS+ PA From To
1 Babe Ruth 208 1926 1929 1931
2 Barry Bonds 206 1705 1999 2001
3 Mark McGwire 197 1663 1998 2000
4 Honus Wagner 170 1872 1908 1910
5 Nap Lajoie 169 1551 1909 1911
6 Tris Speaker 167 1788 1922 1924
7 Chipper Jones 165 1611 2006 2008
8 Paul Konerko 159 1452 2010 2012
9 Hank Aaron 159 1913 1968 1970
10 Edgar Martinez 158 1958 1997 1999
11 Roberto Clemente 157 1578 1969 1971
12 Gavvy Cravath 157 1743 1915 1917
13 Stan Musial 156 1916 1955 1957
14 Ty Cobb 156 1843 1921 1923
15 Willie Mays 154 1811 1965 1967
16 Jack Fournier 154 1598 1924 1926
17 Mickey Mantle 153 1493 1966 1968
18 Mel Ott 153 1513 1943 1945
19 Manny Ramirez 152 1781 2006 2008
20 Mike Schmidt 152 1934 1984 1986
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/27/2012.

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:

Rk Yrs From To Age
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
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/27/2012.

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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