May 17, 2006

Ask SpoFi: Prime/Peak Age -- As a baseball junkie, I know that in baseball a player is generally considered to be in his prime in his age 27 year (or some span including that, like 26-28). I am curious as to what are considered the peak/prime ages in other sports (both U.S. and non-U.S. sports, and including variations by positions -- e.g., running backs v. quarterbacks in American football) and have been unable to find any clear-cut answers online. Any thoughts?

posted by holden to navel gazing at 10:13 AM - 12 comments

I think running back (and maybe the NFL overall) is more a question of playing time than age. I've heard 4 years quoted as the average career for an NFL RB; I would imagine it's not all that strongly correlated to age, but I am talking out of ass and this would get deleted from AskMetafilter.

posted by yerfatma at 11:35 AM on May 17

If you're a goalie in the NHL - the best peaking age is: Martin Brodeur.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:38 PM on May 17

I think the NHL might see players peaking earlier in the coming years due to the changes to the game. Not by alot, but I could see the 'peak' mean shift downwards by up to 2 years.

posted by garfield at 01:56 PM on May 17

I always thought it was 28-32 when it came to baseball. I'm sure someone could could prove me wrong using stats. It seems players are staying better longer.

posted by justgary at 02:11 PM on May 17

I would think that it's because, for most of them anyway, there is no such thing as an "offseason" anymore.

posted by NoMich at 02:16 PM on May 17

gary -- I think 28-32 is probably a good range for the prime seasons for superstar-type players and perhaps 27 represents more of an average across all big leaguers. I think we perceive players are staying better longer because of the superstars who are probably outliers (Bonds, Clemens, etc.). This link provides an overview of some resources referencing the age 27 peak (for hitters at least).

posted by holden at 02:20 PM on May 17

Thats really scary considering Albert Pujols is only 26.

posted by HATER 187 at 02:24 PM on May 17

Here's an article you might find interesting.

posted by Samsonov14 at 03:33 PM on May 17

the average age for QBs in the NFL is like 32 or 33, the average age for any defense player is around 30 and as for WRs no more than 30

posted by willwillis at 09:35 PM on May 17

In soccer, I'd say most outfield players peak around the ages of 27 - 29. Goalkeepers, however, tend to get better as they get older, and it's not uncommon to see goalies hit their best in their early to mid-thirties.

posted by afx237vi at 11:15 AM on May 18

In cricket, and as a batsman, it seems you get better as you get older - these days many Test players are peaking in their thirties. However this may be due to Test selection policies - i.e. it's hard to get into an established Test team, and you only get a few chances to prove your worth. A young player will be dropped quicker than an established player with a good career average. So it's kind of self-selecting and favours the older players. I put forward as Exhibits A and B the relative careers of Australia's Damien Martyn and Michael Clarke. Although Clarke will be back.

posted by owlhouse at 10:56 PM on May 18

The peak age for women gymnasts is somewhere around 12.

posted by drevl at 02:11 PM on May 19

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