This past season, Miguel Cabrera turned 30 and passed the 350 home run and 1200 RBI milestones, while maintaining a career OPS+ above 150. Only four other players have done the same.

Player HR RBI OPS+ WAR From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Jimmie Foxx 429 1520 169 79.7 1925 1938 17-30 1710 7293 6116 1355 2049 346 102 1104 935 .335 .437 .635 1.073
2 Albert Pujols 408 1230 172 81.0 2001 2010 21-30 1558 6782 5733 1186 1900 426 15 914 646 .331 .426 .624 1.050
3 Mel Ott 369 1386 158 80.2 1926 1939 17-30 1864 7808 6544 1332 2061 359 63 1135 566 .315 .419 .558 .977
4 Hank Aaron 366 1216 157 80.0 1954 1964 20-30 1656 7216 6510 1180 2085 351 79 603 655 .320 .376 .567 .943
5 Miguel Cabrera 365 1260 154 54.7 2003 2013 20-30 1660 7126 6218 1064 1995 412 14 799 1201 .321 .399 .568 .967
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/2/2013.

After the jump, more on Cabrera and what might lie ahead for him.

If you’re wondering about the age 30 cutoff. only one other player (Frank Robinson) gets added if the criteria are extended to age 31. So, it is indeed an exclusive group.

Player HR RBI OPS+ WAR From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Jimmie Foxx 464 1625 170 86.5 1925 1939 17-31 1834 7858 6583 1485 2217 377 112 1193 1007 .337 .439 .640 1.079
2 Albert Pujols 445 1329 170 86.4 2001 2011 21-31 1705 7433 6312 1291 2073 455 15 975 704 .328 .420 .617 1.037
3 Frank Robinson 403 1225 156 76.9 1956 1967 20-31 1786 7651 6582 1248 2004 375 59 856 963 .304 .392 .563 .955
4 Hank Aaron 398 1305 158 87.8 1954 1965 20-31 1806 7855 7080 1289 2266 391 80 663 736 .320 .376 .567 .943
5 Mel Ott 388 1465 157 85.4 1926 1940 17-31 2015 8455 7080 1421 2216 386 66 1235 616 .313 .418 .551 .969
6 Miguel Cabrera 365 1260 154 54.7 2003 2013 20-30 1660 7126 6218 1064 1995 412 14 799 1201 .321 .399 .568 .967
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/3/2013.

With Foxx and Ott flaming out relatively early, only Aaron turned in a second half of his career that really was close to half of his career (of 9 retired players to reach 300 home runs before their age 30 season, only Aaron also reached 300 home runs afterwards). That said, all of Cabrera’s predecessors in our study group turned in somewhat similar performances over their next 3 seasons.

Rk Player HR OPS+ From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB SO SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Hank Aaron 115 157 1965 1967 31-33 463 1996 1773 339 533 100 5 325 199 274 62 13 .301 .368 .557 .925
2 Jimmie Foxx 90 159 1939 1941 31-33 403 1765 1469 323 467 88 22 329 283 262 10 15 .318 .429 .592 1.020
3 Albert Pujols 84 137 2011 2013 31-33 400 1764 1577 239 447 98 0 268 153 189 18 3 .283 .348 .505 .853
4 Mel Ott 76 150 1940 1942 31-33 451 1945 1610 296 467 77 3 262 309 179 17 .290 .408 .483 .891
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/2/2013.

It’s what happened after age 33 that separates Aaron from this group. Here are their performances, age 34-37.

Rk Player HR OPS+ From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB SO SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Hank Aaron 158 168 1968 1971 34-37 596 2486 2164 382 654 111 11 419 296 230 47 16 .302 .385 .583 .968
2 Mel Ott 66 144 1943 1946 34-37 411 1591 1298 231 348 52 6 212 264 151 10 .268 .397 .470 .867
3 Jimmie Foxx 15 96 1942 1945 34-37 204 618 549 73 130 24 1 73 65 114 1 0 .237 .320 .366 .686
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/2/2013.

Both Cabrera and Pujols have started to show some infirmities. And, it’s hard not to suppose that the bulk both are carrying has something to do with that. Just for comparison, here is what the other 3 players in this group looked like around the same age.

Hank Aaron 1964Mel Ott 1941Jimmie Foxx 1938

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those are images of Aaron and Foxx on cards published in their age 30 seasons (or identified with that season), and for Ott in his age 32 season. The left-to-right ordering of the photos also appears to be the players’ order in waist size. Aaron, in particular, looks like there’s hardly an ounce of fat on him (though it’s hard to be sure with the baggy uniforms, Ott’s physique was probably not so sleek as depicted by the illustrator, as evidenced by this photo of Ott flanked by teammates in spring training of Ott’s age 30 season).

Bill James’ career projection tool knows numbers (but not BMI). Here are its career home run projections after age 30 and age 33 seasons.

Rk Player Age 30 Age 33 Actual
1 Jimmie Foxx 692 642 534
2 Albert Pujols 665 603
3 Mel Ott 553 567 512
4 Hank Aaron 571 658 755
5 Miguel Cabrera 615
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/2/2013.

Finally, the same projections for other members of the 600 HR club.

Rk Player Age 30 Age 33 Actual
1 Barry Bonds 511 585 763
2 Babe Ruth 517 716 714
3 Willie Mays 531 652 660
4 Alex Rodriguez 701 743 684
5 Ken Griffey 710 538 630
6 Jim Thome 536 627 612
7 Sammy Sosa 693 742 609
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/2/2013.

Really close with the age 33 projections for the Babe, Willie and Jim Thome. A-Rod’s total in the Actual column is his career projection today (just 30 more than his current career total).

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