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Raul Ibanez is chasing history at 41 years old

Jul 13, 2013, 10:02 AM EDT

Raul Ibanez Getty Getty Images

Raul Ibanez‘s incredible season continued last night against the Angels, as he went 3-for-4 with two home runs, a double, and three RBI as part of an 8-3 win.

Ibanez, who turned 41 last month, now has 24 home runs through just 71 games this season. And the power surge is putting him in some pretty select company for his age.

According to Baseball Reference, only six players (Barry Bonds did it twice) have hit more home runs in a season in their 40s. Darrell Evans is at the top of that list, as he hit 34 with the Tigers in his age-40 season in 1987. Only two players (including Bonds twice) have hit more in their age-41 season or later, with Ted Williams (29 home runs in 1960) leading the way. If Ibanez stays healthy, he has a legitimate chance to surpass all of them.

  1. jayscarpa - Jul 13, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    He’s no Travis Hafner!

    • turdfurgerson68 - Jul 13, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Another ‘brilliant’ move by Cashman in not resigning Ibanez:

      Ibanez’ salary: $2,750,000

      Hafner: $2,000,000

      Overbay: $1,250,000

      Who would you rather have, Yankee fans?

      Defend this Cashman apologists.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 13, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        I’m NOT a Yankee fan or a fan of Cashman. I’m a Cubs fan.

        But it doesn’t take much to defend this actually. One shouldn’t expect a career year in several categories in a players 40+ season. Not only career yrs for the player, but historic for all time regardless of one’s age.

        Ibanez had NEVER had a season with a slugging percentage of what he has right now. He won’t finish where he is currently at, .576%, but if he did, it would be the best of his 18 yr career, when he is 40+ yrs old.

        No GM should expect a player to produce his best slugging percentage of his career when he is 40+ yrs old.

        Ibanez OPS is currently .889 and this would be his 2nd highest OPS ever.

        In 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 & 2010, Ibanez averaged over 30 at bats for each home run he hit. In 2011, it was a HR for every 28.75 at bats.

        His best season ever was in 2009 when he hit a home run for each 16.62 at bats.

        Currently, Ibanez is hitting a HR for each 12 at bats.

        Forget historic for his age, that is historic for all time. I know Ibanez hasn’t averaged this for his career, but few do. If any player did average 12 HR’s per at bat, it would rank him 3rd all time behind Mark McGwire at 11.76 and Babe Ruth is in 2nd at 12.10.

        Now those two averaged that for their career, Ibanez obviously hasn’t, but still for a 40+ yr old player in his 18th season to be averaging one home run for every 12 at bats, when he has only had one season in his previous 17 yrs where he averaged less than 20 at bats per each home run…

        I mean any GM would have to believe that a player with his track record, age etc… was one to let go. For Ibanez to come back and haunt Cashman would require him to defy incredible odds.

        Don’t forget that Ibanez only batted .240 last year for the Yankees. Also, his on base percentage was only .308% last year for the Yankees too.

      • turdfurgerson68 - Jul 14, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        Sure, but at least he’s not injury-prone…like Hafner.

        Why go outside the organization; I’m sure he would have returned to the Bronx.

  2. The Common Man - Jul 13, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Darrell Evans did that for the Tigers. Dwight Evans also hit 34 homers that year for the Sox, but was only 35.

    • D.J. Short - Jul 13, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      My bad. I might still be asleep right now.

  3. aceshigh11 - Jul 13, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Dude’s ‘roided up out of his mind.

    (I figured I’d make that baseless assertion before someone else does)

    • paperlions - Jul 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      Luckily, a blogger suggested that his performance was suspicious many years ago, ensuring that the main stream media will never accuse him of juicing for the rest of his life after they lambasted the blogger for being suspicious….and then the mainstreamers went out and started openly accusing just about anyone that starts hitting a lot of HRs.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 13, 2013 at 4:52 PM

        I was just wondering if Jerrod Morris now has cover to be suspicious of Ibanez. Or are career years from 27 year-olds still more suspicious than career years for 41 year-olds?

      • paperlions - Jul 13, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        I have no idea how the media or fans decide who to be suspicious of. Ibanez’s career high in HR is 34, which he did at age 37…his next highest was 33, which he did at age 34…and his 3rd highest is 24, which he did at ages 30 and 41….all seasons that are typically past a player’s prime.

  4. trublazer - Jul 13, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    ROIDS!!!! b

    • sabatimus - Jul 13, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      Cf “baseless assertion” above.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 13, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        Baseless? Well I’m not saying he is on roids. I’ve never heard from others, in a book etc… where he has been connected to steroids (doesn’t mean he hasn’t been connected to them and I’ve just missed it).

        But, strictly looking at his numbers this year, one might think roids could be in play, again it doesn’t mean they are.

        This is his 18th MLB season, he is 40+ yrs old.

        If he ends the season with his current slugging percentage, it will be the HIGHEST slugging percentage of his career.

        Now, normally players don’t hit for their highest slugging percentage ever in their 18th MLB season when they are 40+ yrs old.

        In 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 & 2010 seasons, he averaged over 30 at bats per every home run he hit. In 2011, he averaged 28.75 at bats per every home run he hit.

        His best season ever and only one below 20 at bats per home run was in 2009 when he averaged 16.82 at bats per each home run he hit.

        Right now, he is averaging a home run every 12 at bats!

        I know this isn’t what he’s done throughout his career.

        He is hitting a home run in about half the at bats it normally takes him to hit a home run in his previous 17 big league seasons.

        People, one may not say that this isn’t strange. To be slugging so well, to be hitting home runs at a pace he’s NEVER done before in his 18th MLB season, when he is 40+ yrs old…

        Again, I’m not saying he is on roids. I’m just trying to offer some points that might lead some to think he COULD be. I hope he isn’t.

        But to simply say it’s a baseless assertion doesn’t hold up in light of the facts, the numbers he’s putting up in his 18th season while being 40+ years old.

      • paperlions - Jul 13, 2013 at 5:11 PM

        Using that logic, every elite performances after 35 is sufficient to justify PED suspicions…including Aaron (career high in HRs at age 37), Musial (slugged over .500 at age 41), and Mays (career high in HR at 34 and career high OBP at 39)…even though they were good, there is plenty to suspect that they must have been on something to continue to hit with so well and with so much power at such advanced ages.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 13, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        paperlions

        No, it isn’t actually. First, there is a difference at 40+ yrs of age than being 35 to 40.

        But beyond that, simply having elite production at 35 and older doesn’t mean one automatically needs to be connected to PED’s.

        If they have produced at that level and they are simply maintaining it or fluctuating slightly above or below it, then NO, performing at an elite level at that age when they’ve done so before would make me think they are NOT on roids.

        But, when a player who is 40+ yrs old begins hitting home runs at a rate that is TWO TIMES better than he has done in his previous 17 seasons (a home run every 12 at bats vs. every 24 plus at bats), it makes me think something might be up.

        When a player in his 18th season who is 40+ yrs old has his HIGHEST slugging percentage ever, well then I think roids/PED’s might be in play.

        Again, this doesn’t mean that he is using PED’s.

        And it’s different if he had slugged at the percentage he is now for several seasons, or close to it, prior to this season.

        It’s the context of the elite performance past 35 yrs old. If it happens in a vacuum outside of all his other stats, like career highs happening after one is 35, well it invites suspicions.

        If one is consistently producing these numbers and they produce them into their late 30’s, no suspicions.

        If they’ve never produced these numbers and they only begin to produce them AFTER their age 35 season(s), then one may rightly have suspicions.

      • paperlions - Jul 13, 2013 at 11:44 PM

        The point is that seasons that now cause people to hurl baseless accusations have ALWAYS happened in baseball.

        You also don’t appear to know what baseless means. Hitting a lot of HR, in and of itself, is not a legitimate basis for suspicion. In the absence of any other basis, the suspicions are baseless.

  5. Jason Lukehart - Jul 13, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    6 more home runs for Ibanez to become the oldest ever to hit 30.

  6. Brian Donohue - Jul 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Nice to see this, because he’s such a pro. I watched vid of one of those recent HRs — a monster shot that must have gone 450. It was way gone from the crack of the bat — Ortiz or Cano would have been standing, posing, strutting toward 1b, flipping the bat, etc. Ibanez dropped his bat and ran toward first as if he’d just hit a slow roller towards third. Only after it was well over the wall (and bouncing around a friggin’ restaurant in the mezzanine) did he go into his trot. What a pro — I hope he hits 50 by October.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 13, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      I like showboating. I think it’s great. I mean, everyone’s got his own style. It’s hard to imagine me, as a professional athlete, doing that stuff. But I like that some guys do.

      A sport can use a couple villains to go along with the heroes.

  7. bmoreravens1012013 - Jul 13, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    People talk about C.D. using. I was just talking about this dude, who beat my Orioles in the wildcard game last year. He imo , is definitely taking something but yet once again, the writers and baseball in general is giving him a pass. It’s disgusting because if anyone is juicing , its this guy. He is hitting better than in his whole career and on pace for damn 50 homeruns at the tender age of 41!!!! You have got to be kidding me. Maybe because he’s in Seattle but regardless its disgusting that nobody(and I mean nobody) is bringing it up. What a disgrace to single out Chris , (which I don’t believe is juicing and its not because im an o’ s fan) but yet we hear nothing about Colon(caught already but having historical year), certain pitchers such as Max Scherzer(not accusing him but hey let’s not pretend pitchers are exempt from this crap), or Raul . And if Chris is taking something than I would feel like he is a cheater as well. But he always had power– just not the plate discipline and being able to play everyday — and he is in his prime(he’s27). These “reporters ” need to learn the lessons of the past and start digging and raising questions for all dudes playing out of their mind, not just Chris.

    • theinconvienenttruth - Jul 13, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Just stop talking

      -Fellow O’s fan

    • sabatimus - Jul 13, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      I didn’t read this.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      We don’t hear anything about Bartolo Colon? Good lord, everyone thought Colon was using. And then he was caught. And now it’s all anyone talks about when his name comes up.

    • garyog1222 - Jul 13, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      They are asking the question. He is being tested. He is eating Kale, grass fed cows and gluten free food. If he fails a test, I am done with MLB. He’s one of the good guys. I hope!

  8. bmoreravens1012013 - Jul 13, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Btw, he hit in the 30 range only twice in his career. His highest was 34 I believe and he was 34 and 36 years old when he had his best years. Check his stats and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

  9. joeyb3878 - Jul 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Ibanez has always been in great shape physically. He also is very streaky. I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt as far as the steroid accusations. He will cool off in the second half.

  10. garyog1222 - Jul 13, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Sportsfan18,
    Great post. As a Mariners fan, it was a great unexpected surprise. He was brought in to play 3 or 4 days a week and mentor our young guns. He was my favorite Mariner for years and I am happy for him and the young players who get to learn from him. I am hoping the M’s will let him our rookies learn from him for the rest of the year instead of trading him for a “prospect”. We have enough of them…..
    What do you think of Smoak? Would the A’s keep him? Is he moneyball? He has a low average, high on base percentage with lots of walks.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 13, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      I know Smoak and Ackley have hit poorly but I don’t follow the Mariners that closely so I had to look up Smoak’s career stats.

      His career OBP is .315%. While there is fluctuation each year in both the Amer and Natl leagues with respect to the average on base percentage, it is generally around .330%.

      This means that Smoak’s career on base percentage is below the average on base percentage in the American League.

      Based off of that, I don’t think the A’s would want him. But, on the other hand, sometimes it takes certain players a few years to catch on and begin to perform well in the big leagues.

      Smoak is having his best hitting season this year. His OBP is very good right now at .360% and he is hitting over .260 right now as well. The average batting averages are usually around .253 or so.

      But, beyond simply hitting or producing better than league average, there are league averages to consider at the position one plays.

      He plays 1st base and the average 1st baseman produces better than what he is currently producing this year.

      He is still only 23 yrs old so one shouldn’t give up on him yet, especially since he’s having his best offensive season to date. His slugging percentage is tied right now for his career high and his OPS and batting average right now are both career highs.

      He needs to hit for more power though. With continued improvement, maybe he could get himself into the conversation of a Adam LaRoche. I don’t think he’ll ever be a top flight 1st baseman though, but LaRoche has done alright for himself… but Smoak still has a ways to go to get to LaRoche’s level…

  11. garyog1222 - Jul 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    I am 41 and I can still hit a ball like 250 yards. That’s like 750 feet! Lol. Go Mariners! ( very weakly ). Raul is a good guy.

  12. 13arod - Jul 14, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    The yanks said that the reason they let him go was because he wanted to start and the yanks didnt want him to start

    • wolfmagic2012 - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      Good reason to let him start in Seattle then! Talk about dividends!

  13. wolfmagic2012 - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    If Raul wishes to stay in Seattle, he should stay. He’s chasing history and Seattle has far too little of that. I don’t have a problem with trading Guti, Ackley or Saunders. Probably can’t get anything for Bay, Ryan, Montero. Keep Endy please, all he does is hit well. I think Jack Z’s run is done. We do not appear to be 1 or 2 years out of contention – we’d have to be at .500 for that. We need pitching and a couple big bats. Don’t trade Kuma or Saunders…

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