Derek Jeter has been in the news lately for a myriad of reasons—underproduction, injury, and when his date with destiny (3000 hits) will come.
You see, Derek Jeter is an aging ballplayer, but not just any aging ballplayer. Jeter is an aging baseball star, a perennial champion, and a likely first ballot Hall of Famer.
Jeter isn't some old curmudgeon role-player who can be forced out of the game. For better or for worse, Jeter's place among baseball's elite has earned him the prerogative to decide for himself exactly when he'll hang up his cleats.
The line between banking on past accolades and actual ability and production is often walked by aging stars. It's universal to sports, not just baseball.
Often times, it's impossible to guess when superstars will hang it up for good and how many bridges they'll burn on the way to retirement. Luckily enough, you have me, who was kind enough to take a handful of baseball players closest to qualifying for AARP and (accurately?) predict how the rest of their careers will shake out.
**Note: Retirement year indicates the final year in which a player will play.