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Baseball's four decade club

Jan 22, 2010, 11:20 AM EDT

I heard someone say the other day that if they remade “Back to the Future” today, Marty McFly would only go back to 1980. I’m not sure anything has made me feel as old as that in some time, but this comes close:

As soon as Vizquel steps onto the field in 2010, he will become one of
a select few MLB players to play in four separate decades . . .Vizquel, Jamie Moyer and Ken Griffey Jr. are all under contract for
next season, making them all but locks to join the club. Two others
searching for contracts — John Smoltz and Gary Sheffield — are likely
to do the same.

An Ohio State sweatshirt I wore just yesterday joined the four-decade club this month as well.  I’ve driven a car and kissed a girl and drank a beer in four different decades too. I still call Griffey “Kid” sometimes.

I think I’m going spend a lot of the day staring out a window wondering where time has gone.

  1. Jeff V. - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    2011 is a new decade 2010 is the last year of the current decade.

  2. Eli - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    I still think of Griffy as “The Kid” too. I was 11 in 1995, thrilled to be at Yankee Stadium for the playoffs, ALDS game 1. I liked Jr. but I LOVED the Yankees. I don’t think I could have asked for a better game to go to. I will never forget his swing. So effortless, the ball just shot off like a rocket. Those home runs he hit are etched in my mind. The Yankees even took the game anyway.

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Yeah, but do you consider 1980 to be part of the 70s? 1950 as part of the 40s?

  4. Jeff V. - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    Nope but to me they are seperate issues. The 40’s are 40-49 but the fifth decade would be 41-50.

  5. YankeesfanLen - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    Oh, great, first I have to identify myself as an Old-to-Middle” School guy, then you have to tag me “old and decrepit” for being well beyond when 1980 (phillies mysteriously won) was not just a few years ago.
    Six decade club, indeed! Where’s Old Gator? On the phone with Veeck?

  6. Jonny5 - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    My oldest car is 5 decades old.. Pops oldest car is 8 decades old.. Man I love the old ones, they’ll never make ’em like they used too. Damn I sound like you old guys now….. LOL!!!

  7. KR - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    “Nope but to me they are seperate issues. The 40’s are 40-49 but the fifth decade would be 41-50. ”
    Exactly. But no one refers to decades with ordinal numbers like that, saying “the 90s” is far more common, so that’s what people mean by “the decade”.
    Centuries are different, since everyone says “20th century” or “21st century”, so “the century” indeed begins in 1901/2001/2101. But no one says “201st decade”.
    Did people argue this in 1990? I think this argument keeps coming up now because people remember the 2000/2001 thing with the century and are trying to apply it to decades, too, even though people refer to decades and centuries differently.

  8. Jonny5 - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Tomato ——- tom ato. Who gives a fluck? Is the sky really blue? We could start a debate on that with more merit…….

  9. tbliggins - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    The pity I feel for Craig in this post is his admitting to wearing an Ohio State sweatshirt. The humanity.

  10. Jeff V. - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    I brought it up in ’90 when folks called Rick Dempsey a four decade player. Rick did eventually make it, he played from 69-92.
    It is just one of many little things that irk me.

  11. Bongo - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    New decade begins at year 0. 2000 was the first year of the new millenium, hence the decade begn then.

  12. Richard Dansky - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    It still fits. Give the man props for that.

  13. Rays fan - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    In “Back to the Future II” Marty McFly went forward in to to 2015, only 5 years away. Hey! Where are all the flying cars?!
    Also, the future Hill Valley showed a news report of the Cubs defeating Miami in the World Series. Such poor Nostradamus’s–that’ll have to be a NLCS.

  14. Rick - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    JeffV. Your straining at a knat and swallowing a camel.

  15. Jeff J. Snider - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    I am tired of the decade debate. It came up when George Brett led the league in batting average in 1990, becoming the first player to lead the league in three different decades (1977 and 1980, also). I was only 13, but even then I knew that anyone who thinks 1990 is in the 1980s is a moron. KR nailed it and said basically what my first sentence links to — 2000 was the beginning of a new decade, and even a new century, but NOT the beginning of the 21st Century.

  16. Chris - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    it starts from inception
    you start counting from zero not one, common mistake.

  17. chris - Jan 22, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Technically, Craig didn’t specify that the sweatshirt still fit. But I like his articles, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt (even if he is an Ohowihateohio State fan).

  18. John Willumsen - Jan 22, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    Hey man, from what you’ve said you’ve got a beautiful family and now you’ve got a dream gig. I’m a 22 year old bachelor working in a cubicle. Sure, I’m gonna pick up and fly out west and climb a mountain and do some white water rafting in a couple months, and sure I can drop everything right now and move to somewhere in Asia and not worry about leaving my responsibilities behind, but hey, let’s face it, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. And from where I stand, there’s a big part of me that looks forward to putting all this behind me. So I say thank the years for bringing you to where you are and leave it at that.

  19. dlf - Jan 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Junior Griffey was the first player younger than me in the Show. (Do they still call it “The Show” or am I showing my age?) I wonder who will be the last.

  20. D-Luxxx - Jan 22, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    By that logic I’ve lived in 5 different decades. Not to bad for a 31 year old.

  21. TimberLee - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Some things make a guy realize how time has flown. For me, I remember being astounded when I realized that Maris held the single-season HR record longer than Ruth did. I was around for the whole Maris-to-Bonds era and I had to actually do the math to convince myself it was longer than from 1927 (pre-history, for crying out loud) to 1961.
    Life as measured by baseball….

  22. will - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    If you’re going to be pedantic about dates, please be pedantic about spelling as well. It’s etc. not ect., an abbreviation of et cetera.
    As for decades, centuries, and millennia, I’m of the school that they start with 1 and end with 0. The Gregorian calendar started with 1 AD, not 0. But I don’t really see why people get so worked up about it, it’s hardly that serious.
    And then there are people who argue modern decades don’t necessarily have to be 10 years, and are divided up by cultural changes. The early 1960’s look more like the late 1950’s than they look like 1968. 1980 feels like part of the 70’s and so forth.

  23. Rays fan - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Sorry, had to laugh–You wonder who the player last in MLB will be that’s younger than you?! (You had to have meant the last player older than you. For me it’s easy–Jamie Moyer, he’s already the only one left that’s older than I am.)

  24. len jacobs - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    You forgot Minnie Minoso- he too played in 4 decades.
    Gotta think he was was the first to do so!

  25. MOE ALLEN - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:46 PM


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