Jim Eisenreich – 1996 Topps

January 22, 2011

Best Season? At 37?

Back when I started reading Bill James, he had data that showed that batters peak at age 27. Pitchers, of course, aren’t so predictable, but the bell curve (not Jay, nor Albert, nor even Buddy or David – just a bell curve) shows that 27 is the year hitters peak.

Perhaps that has changed – the last data I saw was that it was still 27 but that was in the early 2000’s. With players playing longer, it may have moved up a tick.

No matter if it’s 27 or 28, it’s a long cry from 37. Yet Eisenreich’s best years as a major leaguer were right when this card was released.

In 1995, at age 36, his OPS+ was 121. His OPS+ was 122 in 1989 at age 30. Of course, you should know the story on why he wasn’t in the bigs during his age 27 year, and he really struggled in 1988 so his excellent 1989 is a story in itself.

In 1996, while kidlets were ripping the foil packs that contained this card, he compiled an OPS+ of 135, by far his best year.

Now, his WAR in 1989 was higher, because he became a platoon player for the Phils. However, one could say that his best offensive two year stretch were 1995 and 1996.

And with that, his sad beginning of his career is even sadder, since he coulda been a contender for stardom or more.

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