Since the Yankees' Ron Blomberg stepped to the plate as Major League Baseball's first designated hitter on April 6, 1973, the DH has been a saving grace for slow-footed or injury-prone sluggers looking to prolong their careers. Case in point: Lance Berkman, who recently signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Texas Rangers. "Big Puma" was once nimble enough to patrol center field, making circus catches on Tal's Hill. But these days, the 37-year-old's brittle knees would make his still-potent bat irrelevant if he had to cover ground in the field.
The Rangers hope that Berkman can stay healthy and at least partially make up for the loss of Josh Hamilton. It's not a totally crazy notion, considering Berkman's OPS+ over the past three seasons (139) is close to that of the Angels' latest free agent mercenary (146). If Berkman's bat remains that dangerous, he'll join an elite list of greybeard DHs. Courtesy of Baseball-Reference's Play Index Tool, here are the highest OPS+ totals posted by DHs at age 37 or older (minimum 400 plate appearances):