Leaderboarding: Jackie Robinson's great, late production

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Celebrate good ol' number 42 on this Jackie Robinson Day.
Celebrate good ol' number 42 on this Jackie Robinson Day. (USATSI)

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With Tuesday being Major League Baseball's annual celebration of Jackie Robinson's debut -- and breaking of the color line in the process -- I figured I'd delve into some of his numbers. As I mentioned earlier, his career was about much more than numbers, but he did put up some pretty impressive numbers nonetheless.

Due to segregation, Robinson didn't even debut until he was 28 years old. So his career counting stats aren't knock-you-over-the-head ridiculous, but we have to realize that it comes with the caveat that he only got 10 full seasons when he very well could have had 15 or more in a different era.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the top performers when we start with every players' age-28 season. Who collected at least 1,500 hits and 100 home runs while hitting over .300 and getting on base at over a .400 clip going from their age-28 seasons through the rest of their careers? Twelve guys, Robinson included. Here they are, sorted by hits.

Thanks, as always, to the excellent baseball-reference.com play index.

Top Age-28-on performers
PlayerNo. of seasonsHitsHRsAVGOBP
Stan Musial152405365.323.412
Edgar Martinez142034296.314.422
Babe Ruth132027517.344.479
Barry Bonds151951586.312.477
Charlie Gehringer121933144.321.412
Chipper Jones131855315.304.404
Ted Williams141729356.340.480
Todd Helton121728213.309.413
Manny Ramirez121642357.315.417
Lou Gehrig91582306.338.451
Jackie Robinson101518137.311.409
Harry Heilmann101518112.364.437

I intially was going to throw in stolen bases, but that wouldn't have been too much fun. Only Robinson (197) and Bonds (263) had more than 100. Overall, it's a pretty impressive list for sure. The goal was to show that Robinson could have had pretty stellar counting stats had his career been a full one at the MLB level and that was achieved.

Of course, I couldn't help but let my mind wander to what could have been done by the likes of Oscar Charleston, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, among others, absent segregation. Alas, we'll never know.

Regardless, it's a day to celebrate Robinson instead of dreaming about what could have been. What we do know is that his 10-year career was outstanding.

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