Mariano Rivera was about to become the oldest player in Baseball, but Jamie Moyer made his way back from elbow surgery and landed a spot on the Colorado Rockies rotation, putting him back at a familiar spot – The Oldest player in Major League Baseball. Omar Vizquel landing a spot for the Blue Jays messed it up for him as well.
Moyer, who will turn 50 after the end of the season, is one of only 29 players to play baseball through four different decades, is still a starter racking up 4020 innings since 1986, 40th all-time. Unlike Rivera, who’s career is filled with titles and accolades, Moyer has one All-Star appearance in 2003 and a World Series title from 2008.
Number 9 – Jose Contreras, Philadelphia Phillies – 40
Contreras began his MLB career in 2003 with the New York Yankees after defecting from Cuba. He was a starter for his first 7 seasons in the league, playing for the Yankees, Rockies and White Sox. He made his official, permanent move into the bullpen once he signed for the Phillies, going 6-4 with a 3.44 ERA over the last two seasons, averaging 8.9 strike outs per nine innings. He’s a one time All-Star and a World Series Champion (2005, White Sox).
Number 8 – Henry Blanco, Arizona Diamondbacks – 41
Born in Caracas, Venezuela on August 29, 1971, Blanco will begin his 15th season in MLB and his second with the Arizona Diamondbacks behind Miguel Montero. Blanco hit 8 home runs with 12 RBIs last season in 112 plate appearances, continuing his impressive numbers in base steals caught.
Number 7 – Jason Giambi, Colorado Rockies – 41
The mentor instead of the slugger, Jason Giambi will begin his 18th MLB season in 2012, continuing his enjoyable road with the Colorado Rockies (according to him) which began in 2009. With 428 career home runs, Giambi is 7th among active players and 42nd all-time. He had a three home run game last May, the second oldest player to accomplish the feat. He is a five time All-Star and the 2000 AL MVP.
Number 6 – Darren Oliver, Toronto Blue Jays – 41
At 41, Oliver is still getting nice contracts to strengthen bullpens around the league, starting 2012 playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, his ninth teams during his (at the moment) 19 year career tour. Oliver played for the Texas Rangers over the last two seasons, helping them reach two World Series, even getting a win in 2011, which wasn’t enough to beat the Cardinals in 7 games.
Number 5 – Jim Thome, Philadelphia Phillies – 41
Jim Thome is getting sentimental at his old age, making returns to his old ball clubs. After playing for the Indians in 2011, Thome returns to the Philadelphia Phillies, who he played for in 2003-2005. Thome, returning to the NL, is hoping he can find substantial playing time in a league without a DH. He hit 15 home runs in 2011, reaching the 600 milestone, currently putting him at 604, 8th All-Time and second among active players.
Number 4 – Takashi Saito, Arizona Diamondbacks – 42
Saito will begin his 7th MLB season in 2012 with his fifth team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, returning to the NL West where he began his American episode, with the Dodgers in 2006. Saito, an All-Star in 2007, had a good postseason with the Brewers in 2011, pitching in two games, not allowing any runs in 7 innings.
Number 3 – Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees – 42
If it wasn’t for Jamie Moyer returning from his injury… Rivers is at least the elder statesman with the Yankees and after last season, reaching 603 career saves, the all-time leader in saves, putting his final mark on the greatest closer of all-time title. Rivera will begin his 17th season playing for the Yankees in 2012, with 12 All-Star games and 5 World Series titles behind him.
Number 2 – Omar Vizquel, Toronto Blue Jays – 44
Omar Vizquel will begin his 24th season in Major League Baseball, landing a spot on the Toronto Blue Jays roster after two seasons with the Chicago White Sox. Vizquel is the second best hitting shortstop in history behind Derek Jeter and is one of the few players to get a hit in four different decades. He is a three time All-Star and an 11-time Gold Glove winner.
Number 1 – Jamie Moyer, Colorado Rockies – 49
Moyer sat out 2011, recovering for Tommy John surgery. Moyer signed with the Rockies on January 18 on a minor-league contract, but has made quite an impression through spring training, winning him the number 2 spot on the rotation, according to the team. The Rockies didn’t even exist when Moyer began his career in 1986, a career spanning 4 different decades, one of only 29 players with that accomplishment. If he earns a win in 2012, he will be the oldest baseball players to do so.