My friend wants an old dog.

She doesn’t have the energy or space for a young pup—they’re demanding, unpredictable, and they pee on stuff. She wants the companionship without the hassle, and there is something reassuring in the mellowing progression of years.

Unless, of course, the old dog dies, which is an impending and unsettling certainty. Old dog today, dead dog tomorrow.

The same holds for old baseball players. They’re reliable, levelheaded, and resourceful—generally more insightful and candid than younger counterparts. There’s a lot to like about old baseball players. Until they die, or the baseball equivalent thereof.

All of which motivates me to honor these elder statesman before time whisks them away. Drawing inspiration from Nathan Palatsky’s list of the 23 best players under 23, I’ve compiled a list of the 20 best players over 35 (trust me, 35 was too many).

For a special treat I’ve included each player’s favorite memory of the 1980s, drawn mostly from my research of that era conducted earlier in the afternoon and of course my prescient knowledge of the likes and dislikes of people I’ve never met.

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