MLB Has Phased Out Every Player From The 20th Century

Pitcher Fernando Rodney #56 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 19, 2019 in Mesa, Arizona.
Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Major League Baseball is back, and fans from all over are excited for the dozen-plus games which will take place throughout the day. While the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners opened the season with two official games last week — which were played abroad in Tokyo, Japan — baseball aficionados have a lot to look forward to today, including Bryce Harper’s debut for the Phillies.

Opening Day aside, CBS Sports has pointed out a rather interesting tidbit of information regarding the ages of MLB players. At the start of Opening Day 2019, there are no players remaining from the 1990s, which means that the MLB has officially phased out every single athlete that started their career in the 20th century. Last year, Dominican player Adrián Beltré — who made his MLB debut on June 24, 1998, for the Los Angeles Dodgers — retired at the age of 39. Beltré is one of only 31 players who has ever reached the historic milestone of 3,000 hits, and at the end of his career, he had a batting average of 0.286, with 477 home runs and an RBI of 1,707.

Similarly, Dominican-born Bartolo Colón remains the oldest active MLB player, though he is not on any current roster, having entered free agency last year. Colón has set a few noteworthy records of his own. In 2016, he became the oldest MLB player to hit their first career home run (at the age of 42), and he also holds the record for most career wins by a Latin American pitcher.

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So, who’s the most tenured player in the league? At the time of writing, Los Angeles Angels’ first baseman Albert Pujols holds that record, having made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals back in April of 2001. On the other end of that spectrum, Oakland Athletics reliever Fernando Rodney holds the record for the oldest active player. While Rodney didn’t make his professional debut until 2002 (he was 25-years-old at the time), he was born in 1977 and is currently 42-years-old.

Oddly enough, this isn’t the only age-related piece of trivia to surface on Opening Day. As CBS Sports notes, the Toronto Blue Jays have brought on 19-year-old Elvis Luciano. While he is by no means the youngest player to have ever played in an MLB game — that honor goes to Joe Nuxhall, who pitched part of an inning back in 1944 when he was 15-years-old — Luciano is the first MLB player to have been born in the current century. He was born in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, on February 15, 2000.