In professional sports, youth is king.
Most pro athletes' careers are over before age 30 and only a handful of athletes can maintain their level of play into their 40s. In either case, it is an inevitable reality that once a player hits the big 3-0 he is living on borrowed time and his numbers will start to decline.
Usually, this decline is swift and decisive. In rare cases, where aging players can stay in shape, avoid injuries and make critical adjustments in their game, they can slow that decline to something much more gradual and graceful, allowing them to stay competitive far beyond the average athlete.
Curiously enough, MLB teams have a long history of handing huge contracts to players whose best years are probably behind them. I spent some time musing on that very subject last year on Bleacher Report.
Don't get me wrong. When an athlete is able to remain at the top of his game well into his 30s, or even into his 40s, he should be celebrated because it doesn't happen that often. That is, unless he has done so by using PEDs, which continue to stain the reputation of MLB. In such cases, those tainted athlete deserve to be suspended and vilified.
From youngest to oldest, let's have a look at the oldest players in the majors for the 2013 season and see how they've been doing.