By Paul Casella

Hundreds of mourners turned out at Minnie Minoso's funeral services in Chicago on Saturday to pay their respects to the White Sox legend. Minoso's incredible talent and engaging personality not only led to nine All-Star appearances, but also to his earning the nickname Mr. White Sox.

Yet for all of his amazing accomplishments, both on and off the field, there is one in particular that the baseball world will likely never see again. By making a brief cameo with the White Sox in 1980 -- long after he had helped pave the path to the Majors for fellow Cuban players -- Minoso became just the second player in Major League history to play in five different decades.

Minoso, who became the White Sox's first black player when he made his debut in 1949, originally retired in 1964, later returned briefly in both 1976 and 1980. In doing so, he joined Nick Altrock, who pitched on-and-off from 1898-1933 (including seven seasons for the White Sox), as the only players to ever appear in five separate decades.

While no player figures to match that accomplishment anytime soon, if ever again, there are a handful of players who at least have a chance to join the also exclusive four-decade club in 2020. While it's obviously not as rare as the five-decade feat, Minoso is one of just 29 players whose career spanned four different decades.

The most recent additions came in 2010 when Omar Vizquel, Ken Griffey Jr. and Jamie Moyer all joined the four-decade club. Vizquel and Griffey had both debuted in 1989, while Moyer's inclusion was made all the more rare by the fact that he had gotten his start in 1986.

Of the 29 players in the four-decade club, Moyer is one of just six whose debut did not come in one of the final two years of a given decade. Four of those six came prior to 1910, with Nolan Ryan (1966-1993) and Moyer being the only exceptions since.

That will be worth keeping in mind as we take a look at the only 17 active players who debuted during the 1990s, meaning they could join the four-decade club if they continue playing into 2020. Of the 17, only five seem to have any semblance of a chance to extend their careers that long -- and just one seems to be in an actual position to do so.

The first dozen players on this list, organized by debut years, seem destined to retire long before 2020, while the last five are listed in order of the likelihood that they are still playing come next decade.

Not a chance

Alex Rodriguez
Debut year: 1994
No active Major Leaguer debuted longer ago than Rodriguez. The controversial superstar debuted all the way back in 1994, making the thought of playing into 2020 seem nearly impossible. Rodriguez, who will turn 40 in July, had already spent parts of 20 seasons in the Majors before missing all of 2014 due to suspension. It's anyone's guess as to where A-Rod's career goes from here, but it figures to end, one way or another, long before 2020.

LaTroy Hawkins
Debut year: 1995
Hawkins revealed in a December interview -- less than two weeks before his 42nd birthday -- that this upcoming season will be his last one. Even if he has a change of heart at some point, it's safe to say he won't still be trotting in from the bullpen in 2020 at the age of 47.

Jamey Wright
Debut year: 1996
Wright is at a bit of a crossroads in his career. He finds himself competing for a roster spot this spring after signing a Minor League deal with the Rangers this offseason. The right-hander reliever, who turned 40 in December, has made at least 60 big league appearances in each of the last four seasons, including 61 outings (one start) with the Dodgers last year. His chances of making the Rangers' roster this year certainly improved with the news of Yu Darvish's potential season-ending elbow injury, but he's unlikely to pitch more than another year or two.

Torii Hunter
Debut year: 1997
Despite having never appeared in a World Series, Hunter elected this offseason to return to the Twins -- the team that drafted him all the way back in 1993 -- instead of trying to sign on with a contender. By choosing to return to Minnesota, Hunter had to know his chances of ending his World Series drought were slim to none, but he likely just wanted to end his career in the same place where it all began.

Bartolo Colon
Debut year: 1997
Though Colon has continued to impress in recent years and could even be named the Mets' Opening Day starter this season, he's still on the verge of turning 42 years old this May. It's possible that, with another strong showing this summer, he could sign a one-year deal next offseason, but it's hard to envision any scenario in which he's still taking the mound in 2020 at 46 years old.

Aramis Ramirez
Debut year: 1998
Like a few other players on this list, Ramirez has tentatively penciled in 2015 as his final season. Though he's just 36 years old and is coming off his third career All-Star appearance, Ramirez was limited to 133 games last year and has now missed 99 games over the last two years due to a variety of injuries. The oft-injured third baseman may ultimately decide to extend his career another year or so, but six more years seems out of the question.

A.J. Pierzynski
Debut year: 1998
Pierzynski is on the verge of playing for his fifth team in the last four years. He signed a one-year, $2 million deal this offseason to serve as the Braves' backup catcher. The problem facing the 38-year-old Pierzynski, however, is that in his 1,865 career games, he's never appeared anywhere in the field other than behind the plate -- and he's logged just 31 career games as a designated hitter. For reference, no player has started a game at catcher after turning 43 years old (Pierzynski would turn 43 prior to the 2020 season) since 1993 when a then-45-year-old Carlton Fisk -- another member of the four-decade club -- made his final career start behind the plate.

Joe Nathan
Debut year: 1999
Nathan has two key factors on his side -- he debuted at the very end of a decade (1999) and he's a relief pitcher. That said, Nathan still turned 40 years old this offseason and is coming off one of the worst seasons of his 14-year career. His days with the Tigers already seemed numbered at times last year and, even if he makes it through another season in Detroit, his once-dominant career is likely nearing an end.

A.J. Burnett
Debut year: 1999
Burnett, who turned 38 in January, is another player who has seemingly made things simple by declaring that 2015 will be his final season. In fact, he opted to settle for less money in order to get out of Philadelphia and spend his apparent final season with the Pirates.

Randy Wolf
Debut year: 1999
It's entirely possible that Wolf has already thrown his final pitch in the big leagues, so sticking around for another six seasons certainly isn't in the cards. The 38-year-old is currently a free agent, but is apparently interested in continuing his career. He already made a somewhat surprising return last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2013, but he notched a 5.28 ERA over 25 2/3 innings with the Marlins before being designated for assignment and continuing his struggles during Minor League stints with the Orioles, D-backs and Angels.

Jose Molina
Debut year: 1999
The veteran catcher, who is currently a free agent and will turn 40 in June, is expected to undergo knee surgery at some point this month that will sideline him for 10-12 months. Needless to say, he'll miss the entire 2015 season and his status beyond that is very much up in the air.

Tim Hudson
Debut year: 1999
Hudson has suggested that this season will be it for him. The right-hander, who turns 40 in July, is entering the final year of his contract with the Giants and is unlikely to look for a new home next offseason. Not only does Hudson lead all active pitchers in both wins (214) and shutouts (13), but the veteran also captured his first World Series title in 2014.

So you're saying there's a chance

5. Carlos Beltran
Debut year: 1998
There is almost zero chance that Beltran, who turns 38 next month, will make a run at becoming a four-decade player. That said, if the eight-time All-Star can rediscover his swing and put together a bounce-back season in the Bronx, he could extend his career a few years as a potential DH option in the American League. It's still a stretch to suggest he could play into the first few years of his 40s, but this is a player who had racked up a .503 combined slugging percentage from 2011-13 before his disappointing debut season with the Yanks last year.

4. David Ortiz
Debut year: 1997
It would also be a somewhat of a major surprise to see Ortiz still in uniform in 2020, but it's not completely out of the question, considering he's now used almost exclusively as a designated hitter. Ortiz would be 44 years old for the 2020 season, which is only one year older than Jason Giambi was for his final season last year -- and Ortiz seems to be in a much better place than Giambi was at this point in his career. While Ortiz's slash line dipped across the board during his age-38 season last year, he still racked up 35 homers and 104 RBIs (both were his most since 2007). For comparison, Giambi hit just .201/.343/.382 with 13 homers while being limited to just 102 games in his age-38 season back in 2009.

While it may seem as if Ortiz isn't poised for that type of decline quite yet, the Red Sox slugger has already suggested that the 2015 campaign could possibly be his last. So even if he decides to play beyond this season, it'd be surprising to see him stick around for six more seasons if he's already contemplating stepping away from the game. For what it's worth, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has said Ortiz will remain with the Red Sox "as long as he wants."

3. Buddy Carlyle
Debut year: 1999
Carlyle has a legitimate chance to make a push for the four-decade club, especially if he can build off his surprisingly successful 2014 campaign. Though he made his Major League debut in 1999, Carlyle has logged just 284 1/3 career big league innings -- spending most of his time in the Minors -- and he just turned 37 in December.

Prior to last season's success with the Mets, when he logged a 1.45 ERA over 27 appearances, Carlyle had pitched only 7 2/3 Major League innings during the 2010s, all of which came with the Yankees in 2011. He's no lock to make the Mets roster out of Spring Training -- and he'll need to prove that last year wasn't a fluke -- but Carlyle is at least in a position where he could potentially make a Major League appearance in 2020 at the age of 42.

2. Bruce Chen
Debut year: 1998
It's hard to count out Chen, considering the up-and-down nature of his career. Prior to spending the last six seasons with the Royals, the veteran southpaw had constantly bounced back-and-forth from the bullpen to the rotation, spending time with nine different teams over the course of 10 seasons.

Chen, who is still just 37 years old, is trying to bounce back this spring after struggling to a 7.45 ERA over 48 1/3 innings and eventually being released by the Royals last year. He's currently in camp with the Indians and, while it may be difficult for him to land a roster spot with the Tribe, an impressive showing this spring could ultimately land him a deal elsewhere. It's certainly a long shot, but given Chen's propensity to stick around the big leagues over the last 16 seasons, it's not unfathomable to think that the left-hander could still be getting batters out into his early 40s.

1. Adrian Beltre
Debut year: 1998
No active player has a better chance to join the four-decade club in 2020 than Beltre, thanks in large part to the fact that he made his debut shortly after turning just 19 years old. The four-time All-Star is just 35 now (he turns 36 in April), and he's proven to be extremely durable throughout the first 17 years of his career. He's never played in less than 100 games in any of his 16 full seasons and he's appeared in 148 or more in four of the last five years.

Not only does Beltre seemingly have age and health on his side, but he's also a .285/.337/.479 lifetime hitter with 395 career home runs -- making him a prime candidate to extend his playing days as a DH. Beltre turned in three straight 30-homer seasons from 2011-13 to begin his time with the Rangers and, though his power numbers dipped a bit last year when he hit just 19 home runs, he still tallied an impressive .324/.388/.492 slash line in 148 games. Beltre would be just 40 years old on Opening Day in 2020.

* * *

Paul Casella is a Sports on Earth contributor and a reporter for