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Meet the oldest man one of the oldest men in minor league baseball

Apr 19, 2011, 11:30 AM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day Getty Images

Andy Tracy is the oldest player is one of the oldest players in minor league baseball.* Affiliated minor league baseball anyway. Jose Canseco stunts and never-say-die stories like Oil Can Boyd who knock around the independent leagues are their own, often wonderful thing. But Tracy is a company man, still toiling for the Reno Aces in the Arizona Diamondbacks system. Other than a half-season’s look for the Expos back in 2000, he’s had nothing but cups of coffee.  He’s my age, and I’m ancient, but he’s still playing ball.

Ryan O’Hanlon has his story today over at The Good Men Project. And Tracy sounds like a good man. Like Crash Davis wanting no mention of his minor league home record in the Sporting News, the Oldest Player in the Minors is not normally the sort who would want attention drawn to the fact that he hadn’t made it. And as O’Hanlon notes, other minor league old timers he wanted to interview declined.

But not Tracy. He’s realistic about his place in the world and seems to be content with it. And seeing someone doing something he loves, content with it no matter how most of us tend to measure success in that world, is a pretty cool thing.

Good stuff. Check it out.

*My bad. According to the article — and as pointed out by several readers — Tracy is merely one of the oldest men. I shall read more good next time.

  1. shaggylocks - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Are you intentionally leaving out his age?

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 19, 2011 at 12:00 PM

      Craig’s playing coy, so we don’t know how old he is. He mentions up there that they’re the same age. But Wikipedia has Tracy as 37 as of December 2010.

  2. Old Gator - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Crash Tracy, eh? This is a terrific story in its own quiet way. There’s a good novel and surely a movie in this guy’s story. But as a literary being, I want to know where the dark side is hiding.

  3. xnumberoneson - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Andy Tracy has a great story. However, for the sake of accuracy, he is not the oldest player in the minors. Raul Chavez of the Buffalo Bisons is 38. The article describes Tracy as the oldest American position player in the minors, which suggests that there might be a pitcher older than Tracy somewhere.

  4. xnumberoneson - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Indeed, Marc Kroon of the Fresno Grizzlies turned 38 this month.

  5. marshmallowsnake - Apr 19, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    I feel for these guys that never make it past AAA much…and then linger in the minors. It has to be scary, when all you know is baseball, and you wonder what you will do outside the game once the time comes. Sort of like being in jail for a period of time, and then being released…what do you do? (obviously not the same thing…)

    I think some players hold on too long because of this. I can see why Major Leaguers do it…with a great minimum salary, but I never really understood staying on in the minors where it is a much different life style (but still better than punching a clock I guess),

    Anyway, hopefully Andy gets a call from the big league club…Lord knows the D’Backs are not going to be that great this season.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 19, 2011 at 1:24 PM

      He was among the September callups last season for the Phightins. And I want to say he came up before then for a parking validation, but I’m not sure.

    • jwbiii - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:53 PM

      If their AAA team makes the playoffs, I imagine these guys thinking, “This bleepin’ bush league series is costing me $2,000 a day!”

  6. genericcommenter - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    How does the salary work for a September call-up? Pro-rated minimum- approx 1/6 of $414,500? If so, I imagine a $69 grand yearly bonus being a decent incentive.

    Then I guess there’s always a (very slight) chance one of these guys could pull a Darnell McDonald ( though he did have that $1 mil+ bonus to start him out) and parlay 10 seasons in AAA into a year or two of $400,000+ MLB checks. Though that probably applies more to guys in their late 20s and early 30s. These late 30s guys are probably blocked.

    It looks like Tracy spent 4 out of 6 months in 2000 and half of 2001 on the mlb roster, and had 3 Sept. call-ups since then. So at least he hasn’t been completely toiling for minor league bucks. I’m sure a lot of these guys really really love the game. I would.

    Plus, it’s not like every 37 year old is a doctor, or a lawyer, or even a basement blogger. Many are doing much worse than playing AAA ball with the possibility of coffee.

  7. mikedi33 - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Actually got a ring and a ride in the parade in 2008 with the phils.

  8. uuddlrlrbastart - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Looking at his minor league stats, he’s obviously no superstar, but 50-60 XBH and 50-60 walks has to translate pretty well. I always wonder how someone like this couldn’t get a bench job or DH job. Meanwhile, Jeff Francoeur is still roaming the earth. Well, Kansas City, but close enough.

  9. jwbiii - Apr 19, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Happy 38th birthday, Willis Otanez!

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