30 Greatest Seasons By Pro Athletes Over 40

brady 560x315Age is just another number for some professional athletes.

Last year, Tom Brady reminded us all that age is not a factor as long as you keep your mind and body in the right shape. It is not an easy task and not every single athlete has the willpower, or the natural ability, to play sports past the age of 40, but some of them can, and do.

Since as far back as we can recall, professional athletes have shocked the world with their incredible fortitude and amazing strength to overcome the obstacles caused by time. From the Olympics to the LPGA, pro athletes have shown us that defying father time is an exciting endeavor.

Let’s take a look at the 30 greatest seasons by a professional athlete over the age of 40, going all the way back to 1951. Enjoy.

30) 2008: Dara Torres, Olympics (41)

  • Olympic Events: 50m Freestyle, 4x100m Freestlye Relay, 4x100m Medley Relay
  • Results: Three Silver Medals, one in each event

Dara Torres 560x415

29) 1951: Babe Didrikson, LPGA (40)

  • Stats: 9 LPGA Tour Wins, Inducted into the Hall of Fame of Women’s Golf

Babe Didrikson 560x438

28) 2018: Tiger Woods, PGA (42)

  • Stats: 18 Events, Tour Championship Winner (80th Career Win), 2nd in Fedex Cup, 7 Top 10’s, 12 Top 25’s

Tiger Woods 560x426

27) 1989: Nolan Ryan, MLB (42)

  • Position: Pitcher
  • Team: Texas Rangers
  • Stats: 32 Starts, 16 Wins, 6 CG, 2 SHO, 5.1 WAR, 239.1 IP, 3.20 ERA, 301 SO, 98 BB, 11.3 K/9
  • Awards: All-Star Selection

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26) 1987-88: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA (40)

  • Position: Center
  • Team: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Stats: 28.9 MP, 5.3 WS, 14.6 Points, 6.0 Rebounds, 1.2 Blocks, 53.2 FG-%
  • Final Result: NBA Finals Champion
  • Awards: All-Star Selection

Kareem Abdul Jabbar 560x315

25) 1968-69: Jacques Plante, NHL (40)

  • Position: Goalie
  • Team: St. Louis
  • Stats: 1,104 Saves, 18 Wins, .940 Save %, 1.96 GAA, 5 Shutouts
  • Awards: Vezina Trophy

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24) 2014: Adam Vinatieri, NFL (42)

  • Position: Kicker
  • Team: Indianapolis Colts
  • Stats: 50-50 Extra Points, 30-31 FG (96.8%), 140 Points
  • Awards: 1st Team All-Pro

Adam Vinatieri 560x315

23) 1975-76: John Bucyk, NHL (40)

  • Position: Left Wing
  • Team: Boston Bruins
  • Stats: 36 Goals, 47 Assists, 83 Points, 151 Shots, 23.8 Shot %
  • Final Result: Lost in NHL Playoff Semi-Finals

John Bucyk 560x373

22) 1983: Bobby Allison, NASCAR (45)

  • Stats: 6 Wins (Richmond, Dover, Pocono, Darlington, Richmond, Dover), 18 Top 5’s, 25 Top 10’s
  • Final Result: Won the Winston Cup

Bobby Allison 560x388

21) 1927: Ty Cobb, MLB (40)

  • Position: Outfield
  • Team: Philadelphia A’s
  • Stats: 4.4 WAR, 104 R, 32 Doubles, 7 Triples, 5 HR, 93 RBI, 22 SB, .357 AVG, .440 OBP

Ty Cobb 560x315

20) 1993-94: Robert Parish, NBA (40)

  • Position: Center
  • Team: Boston Celtics
  • Stats: 26.9 MP, 4.0 WS, 11.7 Points, 7.3 Rebounds, 1.3 Blocks, 49.1 FG-%

Robert Parish 560x519

19) 2005-06: Dominik Hasek, NHL (41)

  • Position: Goalie
  • Team: Ottawa Senators
  • Stats: 1,112 Saves, 28 Wins, 0.925 Save %, 2.09 GAA, 5 Shutouts
  • Final Result: Lost in Conference Semi-Finals

Dominik Hasek 560x315

18) 1930: Sam Rice, MLB (40)

  • Position: Outfield
  • Team: Washington Senators
  • Stats: 4.7 WAR, 121 R, 207 H, 35 Doubles, 13 Triples, 73 RBI, 0.349 AVG

Sam Rice 560x350

17) 2015-16: Jaromir Jagr, NHL (43)

  • Position: Right Wing
  • Team: Florida Panthers
  • Stats: 27 Goals, 39 Assists, 66 Points, 143 Shots, 18.9 Shot %
  • Final Result: Lost in First Round of Playoffs
  • Awards: Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Jaromir Jagr 560x373

16) 2003-04: Karl Malone, NBA (40)

  • Position: Power Forward
  • Team: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Stats: 32.7 MP, 4.3 WS, 13.2 Points, 8.7 Rebounds, 3.9 Assists, 1.2 Steals, 48.3 FG-%
  • Final Result: Lost NBA Finals

Karl Malone.jpg 560x373

15) 2010-11: Dwayne Roloson, NHL (41)

  • Position: Goalie
  • Team: New York Islanders/Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Stats: 1,458 Saves, 24 Wins, 0.914 Save %, 2.59 GAA, 4 Shutouts
  • Final Result: Lost in Conference Finals

Dwayne Roloson 560x420

14) 2005: Roger Clemens, MLB (42)

  • Position: 2005
  • Team: Houston Astros
  • Stats: 32 Starts, 13 Wins, 1 CG, 7.8 WAR, 211.1 IP, 1.87 ERA, 185 SO, 62 BB
  • Final Result: Lost World Series
  • Awards: All-Star Selection

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13) 1980: Jack Nicklaus, PGA (40)

  • Stats: Won U.S Open and PGA Championship

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12) 1993-94: Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR (43)

  • Stats: 10 Wins, 37 Top 5’s, 46 Top 10’s, 4 Poles
  • Final Result: Back-to-Back Winston Cup Championships

Dale Earnhardt 560x363

11) 1970-71: Jacques Plante, NHL (42)

  • Position: Goalie
  • Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Stats: 1,224 Saves, 24 Wins, 0.944 Save %, 1.89 GAA, 4 Shutouts
  • Final Result: Lost in Quarter-Finals
  • Awards: All-Star Selection

Jacques Plante 560x408

10) 2016: Matt Bryant, NFL (41)

  • Position: Kicker
  • Team: Atlanta Falcons
  • Stats: 56-57 Extra Points (98.2%), 34-37 FG (91.9%), 158 Points
  • Final Result: Lost Super Bowl

Matt Bryant 560x373

9) 2002-03: John Stockton, NBA (40)

  • Position: Point Guard
  • Team: Utah Jazz
  • Stats: 27.7 MP, 9.0 WS, 10.8 Points, 7.7 Assists, 2.5 Rebounds, 1.7 Steals, 48.3 FG-%
  • Final Result: Lost in First Round of Playoffs

John Stockton 560x373

8) 2002: Jerry Rice, NFL (40)

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • Team: Oakland Raiders
  • Stats: 150 Targets, 92 Receptions, 1,211 Yards, 7 TD, 75.7 Yds/Game
  • Final Result: Lost Super Bowl XXXVII

Jerry Rice 560x373

7) 2009: Brett Favre, NFL (40)

  • Position: Quarterback
  • Team: Minnesota Vikings
  • Record: 12-4
  • Stats: 4,202 Yards, 33 TD, 7 Int, 107.2 QB Rating
  • Final Result: Lost NFC Championship

Brett Favre 560x315

6) 2004: Randy Johnson, MLB (40)

  • Position: Pitcher
  • Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Stats: 35 Starts, 16 Wins, 4 CG, 2 SHO, 8.4 WAR, 245.2 IP, 2.60 ERA, 290 SO, 44 BB
  • Awards: All-Star Selection

Randy Johnson 560x365

5) 1989-90: George Foreman, Boxing (41)

  • Stats: 10 Wins in 10 Matches (8 by Knockout)
  • Final Result: Those 10 Wins put him in contention for the Heavyweight Title, a match he would fight in 1991 against Evander Holyfield

George Foreman 560x500

There are very few professional boxers that have been able to comeback the way George Foreman has, and he did so multiple times. But his greatest comeback remains when he turned 38 years old and returned to the ring in 1987. He won 24 straight bouts from 1987 until losing to Evander Holyfield in 1991. He changed the way we looked at boxer’s over 40 by making it look easy.

4) 1968-69: Gordie Howe, NHL (40)

  • Position: Right Wing
  • Team: Detroit Red Wings
  • Stats: 44 Goals, 59 Assists, 103 Points, 45 +/-, 58 Penalty Minutes, 15.5 Shot %
  • Awards: All-Star Selection

Gordie Howe 560x371

Gordie Howe played until he was 51 years old. Think about that for a minute. When he was 40, he still had another decade left to play and be a contributor in the process. But when he turned 40, he put together his best season ever, statistically speaking. It set the stage for the rest of his time in professional hockey.

3) 1992: Dave Winfield, MLB (40)

  • Position: Outfield
  • Team: Toronto Blue Jays
  • Stats: 4.1 WAR, 0.290 AVG, 92 R, 33 Doubles, 26 HR, 108 RBI
  • Final Result: World Series Champion
  • Awards: Silver Slugger, AL Babe Ruth Award, Branch Rickey Award, Edgar Martinez Award

Dave Winfield 560x373

At 40 years old, Dave Winfield still had something left to prove and he signed a deal to play for the Toronto Blue Jays for the 1992 season. It turned out to be a great move as he would end up being a major part of their World Series run after having a year that would normally have given him the AL MVP but Joe Carter had a tiny bit better of a year.

2) 2016: David Ortiz, MLB (40)

  • Position: Designated Hitter
  • Team: Boston Red Sox
  • Stats: 5.2 WAR, 0.315 AVG, 79 R, 48 Doubles, 38 HR, 127 RBI
  • Final Result: Lost ALDS, 3-0
  • Awards: AL Hank Aaron Award, Edgar Martinez Award

David Ortiz 560x420

No one thought the Cleveland Indians would end up strolling through the 2016 AL Playoffs like they did before losing the World Series to the Chicago Cubs. The Boston Red Sox ended up being swept in the Divisional round by the Indians after David Ortiz put on a clinic during his final season in the MLB. He had one of the greatest seasons of his Hall of Fame career in 2016 and he did it at the ripe old age of 40.

1) 2017: Tom Brady, NFL (40)

  • Position: Quarterback
  • Team: New England Patriots
  • Record: 13-3
  • Stats: 4,577 Passing Yards, 32 TD, 8 Int, 102.8 QB Rating
  • Final Result: Lost Super Bowl LII
  • Awards: 1st Team All-Pro, AP MVP, PFWA (Pro Football Writers of America) MVP

Tom Brady 560x373

Everyone knew the New England Patriots would win 10 games and make a run in the playoffs but no one expected Tom Brady to lead the way after he turned 40 years old. He was so impressive in 2017 that he ended up winning the NFL MVP award, his third. The season could have been the greatest but those pesky Philadelphia Eagles ruined his plans by upsetting them in the Super Bowl.

Thomas Delatte

Contributor at Gunaxin
I love writing about things I love, who wouldn't? Any ideas or positive comments, hit me up on Twitter.
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