These players combined for 28 calls to the All-Star Game, 17 Silver Bats and almost 300 Victories Over the Replacement (WAR) according to Baseball-Reference - all without mentioning a great number of glorious moments and fantastic feats.
At the end of 2018, Venezuelan Víctor Martínez, Joe Mauer, Chase Utley and David Wright hung the spikes and put an end to their illustrious careers. Let's take a close look at these five fabulous players, and a statistic that illustrates how special each of them is.
Highlighted stat: WAR 51.1 after 30 years of age
The aging curve in baseball is a cruel thing. Just ask other players included in this list. But Beltre mocked her. After reaching the majors when he was just a teenager, Beltre already had a strong career built at 30 years of age, including a campaign in which he almost won the MVP trophy in 2004, followed by five difficult years - and perhaps underestimated - in Seattle. But Beltre enjoyed a rebirth in Boston in 2010, which spanned his eight seasons in Texas, where he established himself as a star and a fan favorite. Combining an above-average bat with a luxury defense in the hot corner, Beltre's 51.1 of WAR over the past nine years occupy third place in MLB in that stretch, behind Mike Trout and Robinson Cano. Only seven position players in history have accumulated more value between 31 and 39 years of age, and each of them is a legend in the game: Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Honus Wagner, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Tris Speaker and Nap Lajoie. Of all of them, only Bonds has played after 1973.
Outstanding statistics: 172 of OPS + in 2014
As a catcher, V-Mart's lifetime numbers are not far behind Mauer's (see below), as he had an offensive line of .295 / .360 / .455 over 16 seasons for the Indians. , Red Sox and Tigers, combining almost 250 homers with more than 400 doubles. However, Martinez ended up spending more time as first baseman / BD, especially after losing all of 2012 due to a knee injury. The recovery was slow, but in 2014 and at 35 years of age, Martinez showed all his potential on the plate. He finished with the second best batting average (.335), OBP (.409), slugging (.565) and OPS + of all major leagues, which was one of the most productive offensive seasons in history for a player of his age. Martinez led the league with 28 intentional walks and struck out only 42 times, the only batter since Bonds in 2004 to have less than 45 strikeouts and hit at least 30 homers.
Outstanding statistics: .388 of OBP in his career
The first overall selection in the 2001 Draft played all of his 15 seasons for the Twins, his home team. Unfortunately, injuries lessened his career a bit, as a commotion he suffered in 2013 forced him to move from catcher to a first base / BD role. But as a catcher, Mauer was one of the best hitters in the history of the Big Top, winning three batting titles, being named the AL MVP in 2009, and becoming the face of the franchise. That season of 2009, in which Mauer had offensive numbers of .365 / .444 / .587 (171 of OPS +) with 28 homers, is one of the best offensively speaking for a receiver in MLB history. Of the 234 players who have been in catcher for at least 500 games for life since the integration era (1947), Mauer ranks second in batting average (.306) and OBP, and eighth in OPS + ( 124).
Outstanding statistics: 87.5% success trying to steal a base
Utley's career is not distinguished by having scintillating numbers, as he played his first full major league season when he was 26 years old, dealt with injuries, and retired with fewer than 2,000 hits, 300 homers and 200 scammed bases. In contrast, Utley knew how to be a useful player every time he played. He never won a Gold Glove, but consistently exhibited a stellar defense, received 204 career strokes that helped him finish with a .358 OBP, and was one of the most efficient and valuable runners of all time, thanks in part to his success rate trying to swindle a base that leads all players with at least 100 attempts for life. Put all that together, and Utley's 65.4 WAR makes him one of the top 10 middlemen since the integration, just behind Craig Biggio.
If Wright had been able to do something similar to what Beltre did in his thirties, he would have retired as one of the best third basemen in history. Unfortunately, serious back injuries truncated his career, and Wright saw action in only 211 games starting at age 31, including two games at the end of 2018 that served him goodbye to his only team at Citi Field. While he was healthy, Wright had a trajectory say Hall of Fame. His 47.2 WAR up to 30 years of age is among the top 10 in his position. The Captain finished his career with an offensive line of .296 / .376 / .491. Among the third basemen with at least 5,000 plate appearances since 1920, only Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, Chipper Jones and George Brett have produced a higher OPS +.