A few days, 2X2L asked if any player played at age 39 and not at age 38 like Miguel Tejada plans on trying. I finally got around to the challenge and found the top 10 players, ranked by plate appearances, who played in their age 39 season but not in their age 38 season.
Here is the top ten (only 42 players ever achieved the feat, mostly pitchers changing to the N.L.) and a little about some of the players.
William Ellsworth "Dummy" Hoy - The reason he missed his age 38 season was because he playedfor the White Sox before they joined with the National League. That fact may be the least interesting thing about Hoy's life. He was the first deaf player to play in the majors, has been close to making it into the HOF, and a documentary has been made about him. I can't do his story any justice so go read about it elsewhere.
Andres Galarraga - Spent his age 38 season recovering from cancer.
Jimmy Ryan - He missed his age 38 season because he was playing in the Pioneer League. He owns a couple of notable feats. He is the first and only player to pitch in a game and hit for the cycle during it. Also, he is one of the few players to have punched more than one reporter.
Roger Connor - The Hall of Famer and one time career HR record holder didn't play in his age 38 because the FanGraphs database is acting funky with his ages.
Fred Tenney - The originator of the 3-6-3 didn't play because he was a player-manager for the Lowell Tigers.
Bill Dickey - He didn't play in his age 37 and 38 seasons because he was serving in the Navy during WWII.
Rollie Hemsley - He also didn't play in his age 38 season, like Dickey, because he was serving in the Navy. He had an alcohol problem and eventually sobered up with the help of AA. He became the first AA member to break their anonymity on a national level.
Spud Davis - Spud had his career broken up because off WWII, but not because he had to serve. Instead, he was retired and a coach at age 38. Because of the shortage of players, he was brought back as a player to help fill the roster.
Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins - These two made the list because they changed leagues. They moved from the A.L., where pitchers didn't have to hit, to the N.L. where they did.
Not really one player took the same route Tejada looks to take back to the bigs. Besides the top 10, here are the other 32 players:
|Tom Carey||1946||Red Sox||3||5||0||0||0||0.200||0.200||0.200||0.0|
|Curt Schilling||2006||Red Sox||31||2||0||0||0||0.500||0.500||0.500||0.0|