Colon came from a rural, mountainous area of the Dominican Republic, where he helped his father pick coffee beans in the sun-baked fields near his hometown of Altamira.
He lived in a cramped house with no electricity, no plumbing and no telephone. His mode of transportation was Pancho, his mule. He had to quit school in the sixth grade to work more in the hills of Altamira. Bartolo's arm was developed by his throwing rocks to knock coconuts out of trees when he was a youngster.
"We picked beans in the fields and fruit from the trees, usually for at least 10 hours a day, six days a week," said Colon, who dropped out of school after the sixth grade. "Some days, we'd start at 4:00 a.m., and some days we didn't stop until midnight."
Bartolo now lives with his wife and three sons in the coastal city of Puerto Plata. He regularly donates money and supplies to people in the Dominican. And he helped build a baseball stadium, one that now bears his name, near Altamira. (June 2012)
At first, scouts shooed Colon away from tryout camps. But when they caught a glimpse of that arm, they pursued him. He might still be picking coffee if not for a scout rolling up in a car where Bartolo and his Dad were picking beans one day. The scout convinced Bartolo's father that his son had too much talent to spend his life on the farm.
Bartolo and his good buddy, Julian Tavarez, made the trek from the island's countryside to the most famous stadium in the Dominican for a tryout with the Indians. The tryout changed their lives, as they both signed for $2,500.
Colon never saw a Major League game on TV until he arrived in the United States.
Bartolo spent the 1993 season in the Dominican Summer League after he signed with the Indians at age 18.
In 1995, Bartolo was second in the Carolina League in ERA and led the loop in strikeouts.
May 10, 1997: Colon had a long day. At 3:00 a.m., the phone kept ringing in his hotel room in Detroit. The caller said, "I've bet a lot of money on the Cleveland Indians. If you don't pitch good, I'm going to kill you and your family." Batrolo said he received five calls.
Several hours later, he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings in a 6-2 loss. "Yes, I was scared," Colon said. "I didn't know who the guy was."
June 20, 1997: Bartolo pitched a no-hitter for Buffalo (AmAssoc-Indians). Colon walked one, the second New Orleans batter of the game, and struck out eight.
Colon was nicknamed, "Boogie," or, "Big Sexy," which began a couple years ago and really took off in 2015 and '16.
Colon's brother, Jose, was a pitcher in the Tribe's minor league system.
Bartolo and wife Rosanna became first-time parents September 19, 1997 when their son was born.
After the 1997 season, Bartolo and Rosanna took English lessons from Allen Davis, the Indians' director of community affairs.
Late in the 1998 season, Bartolo let everyone know he wants to be called "Pancho," because that was the name of his favorite mule back home in Altamira, Dominican Republic. Pancho was the hardest working mule the family owned. Hard-working, just like Bartolo.
Colon showed up at 1999 spring training at 240, 20 pounds overweight.
For the 2000 and 2001 seasons, Colon had a clause in his contract that paid him $12,500 every time he weighed in at less than 225 pounds. But during the 2000 season, he was closer to 250 than 225.
During the offseason before 2003 spring training, Colon gained some weight. But White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams was not that concerned.
"He looks as he did at the end of last season, so his weight is fine,'' Williams said. "He's not fat. He's a thicker body type. But his elasticity and shoulder strength are very good. He gets his job done and takes care of himself in terms of his workout regimen. There's no health risk.''
During the 1999 season, Colon had a #18 on his Indians cap, for Moises Alou, who missed almost the entire season with a bad knee injury. "He's a good friend. We both play for the same winter ball team: Aguilas (in the Dominican Winter League)." He also wore the #15 on the other side of the cap for injured Tribe catcher Sandy Alomar, Jr.
In 2001, Bartolo's car of choice was a black Mercedes complete with vanity plates that read: B40C.
On July 17, 2001, Bartolo threw a pitch at the head of Houston catcher Scott Servais. Teammates Juan Gonzalez and Marty Cordova had been hit by Jim Mann in the top of that inning. Gonzalez left the game with a bruised left hand and didn't play for three games. Bartolo was suspended for seven games.
In February 2002, Colon turned two years older overnight. When he left the Dominican Republic that month, government officials found a discrepancy between his passport and birth certificate.
Many other players from Latin America had their ages change because of closer scrutiny when they tried to report to spring training. More attention has been paid to noncitizens entering the United States following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The White Sox somewhat protected Colon, an enigmatic sort whom some teams have shied away from signing because of his hefty frame and reputation for keeping late hours.
Colon is also not fond of flying, so sources say the Sox sometimes let him fly separately from the team so he could arrive in a city with more time to recover before taking the mound.
In 2005, Colon was named The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year. A total of 498 Major League Baseball players participated in the balloting. His 21-win record was the first 20-win season by an Angels pitcher since Nolan Ryan went 22-16 in 1974. He tied Ryan (21 wins in 1973) for second most in franchise history.
In 2005 with the Angels, Bartolo won the American League Cy Young Award.
June 15, 2007: Colon was suspended for 7 days by the Tigers for his actions in an off-the-field altercation during a rehabilitation stint at Triple-A Toledo.
Colon was involved in a physical altercation in the Mud Hens' clubhouse, the Detroit Free Press reported. Colon sustained a bruise on his left shoulder, but closer Jason Karnuth, who reportedly tried to break up the scuffle, suffered broken bones in his face when he was punched during the fight. Screws will be inserted into Karnuth's cheek during plastic surgery, and it isn't known if he will pitch again this season.
Colon told the Free Press that he has apologized twice to Karnuth and also to Toledo interim manager Mike Rojas.
"I didn't even know he was hit," Colon told the paper. "I was surprised. I just said, 'Jason, I'm sorry. I'm real, real sorry.' I called him the next morning. I apologized to him."
"If he needs anything, I will support him," Colon said.
The Tigers did not provide details of the incident, but the Free Press reported that the altercation started when Colon became upset after righthander Virgil Vasquez turned down the music on Colon's iPod before the game. Infielder Kevin Hooper asked Colon to calm down, and Colon and pitcher Jordan Tata began shoving each other. Karnuth then stepped in and tried to break it up, getting punched in the face.
"I should not be the only one suspended," Colon told the Free Press. "Why should I be suspended when they were calling me a [expletive] to my face?"
Colon told the Free Press he believes race played a factor in his suspension.
"When they called people into the office to ask what happened in the fight, there were no Latino people in there," he said. "So, I was alone."
September 19, 2008: Colon was suspended without pay, though not put on the restricted list.
"He got home for the personal stuff and decided that he just wasn't real comfortable," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He's got some things going on at home and he was either going to be in the bullpen or backing up a starter here, and the combination, he wasn't real comfortable."
The reason Colon was not placed on the restricted list was so he could be recalled if something changed, though Francona said the team does not expect to see him again. Colon had been late to the ballpark twice for meetings with Francona while the team was playing the Rays, then went home to the Dominican Republic on September 17. A few days later, Bartolo was suspended without pay because he refused to pitch out of the bullpen. So he became a free agent.
Colon was a huge Michael Jackson fan.
Bartolo has gained a reputation as one of the game's quietest players. But he is also known as one of the game's fiercest competitors.
"I really don't like talking about myself. I'm just not comfortable saying I did this or that. I just want to play," Colon said, early in the 2012 season.
Asked when he would retire from pitching, Colon said, "If God gives me the opportunity, I am going to keep pitching as long as I can. Baseball is the best business you can be in. You get to spend time playing a game you love, and hang out with your friends all of the time. I never want to stop and I don't plan on it anytime soon." (May, 2012)
August 22, 2012: Colon was suspended for 50 games by MLB's drug plan for using testosterone.
Bartolo's has at least one superstition—he never wears long sleeves, even if it's freezing outside.
"I don't like to wear sleeves," Colon said after pitching in 42-degree weather in April 2013. "All my career it's like this. No sleeves. Except in the dugout. Then I put on my jacket because it was cold."
April 25, 2014: It would seem that the Mets have grown weary of "fat jokes" made at the expense of Bartolo Colon. As Justin Tasch of the New York Daily News writes, the Mets following their 4-3 win over the Marlins undertook a boycott of sorts.
Apparently angry about an article in the New York Post about Colon under the headline “LARDBALL,” the players would not talk to the media until Post writer Mike Puma left the clubhouse. Puma was asked to leave and did so without incident. Within a minute, several Mets appeared in the clubhouse. The team would not comment on the incident.
June 18, 2014: Colon's nine-year hitless streak ended with a double and run scored in the sixth inning of a game against the Cardinals, marking his first career extra-base hit, his first hit of any kind since 2005 and just the 11th hit of his 17-year career.
August 18, 2014: Bartolo flew to the Dominican Republic to be with his gravely ill mother. She died at the age of 63 in a private clinic in the northern town of Santiago.
Adriana Colon had been battling breast cancer for several months, the Colon family said in a statement via the Dominican winter-league team Aguilas Cibaenas. Colon told ESPNDeportes.com in April that she was diagnosed with cancer just before the start of the Mets' 2014 season.
August 24, 2014: Skipping his regular start was never an option for Bartolo. Though Colon traveled to the Dominican Republic earlier this week to be with his mother, who passed away, and though he plans to travel back there for the funeral, he was insistent upon making a start in between.
So Colon boarded a plane, flew to Los Angeles, threw six innings of two-run ball against the Dodgers and flew back. "It impressed me," manager Terry Collins said. "It didn't surprise me. He's had a tough week. He came off the mound in the sixth inning and I think that's the first time in his career he's ever said, 'I'm done.'"
"I was mentally prepared for the game today," he said through an interpreter. "I was prepared to face that lineup. I was ready to go."
"Our hearts are with him," second baseman Daniel Murphy said in response to a question about Colon's performance. "He's a teammate and we love him. To go through something like that—we're going to be sons and fathers and husbands long after we're done with this game."
2015 Q&A with Steve Serby:
Q: What do you want to do when your baseball career is over? A: Spend time with my family and spend time back in the Dominican Republic and help kids there try and make it to the Major Leagues one day.
Q: What did you use for a glove and bases growing up, and what were the fields like? A: We used to play on an abandoned private lot in my hometown of Copey de Altamira. Those were fun times. That lot is now home to a stadium I built for my community. It makes me happy to see a new generation of kids playing there.
Q: Favorite childhood memories? A: Spending time with my parents and all of my siblings. I have a lot of sisters.
Q: Boyhood idol? A: Nolan Ryan, for his powerful fastballs, and Juan Marichal, for his durability.
Q: Pregame meal? A: Peanut butter and banana sandwich.
Q: Superstition? A: Four pieces of bubble gum.
Q: First All-Star Game memory? A: Barry Bonds’ home run [in 1998].
Q: How did baseball begin for you? A: With my dad [Miguel Balerio Colon] always backing me up. He taught me to respect and respect the game.
Q: Favorite movie? A: Any comedy. “Cantinflas.”
Q: Favorite actor? A: Ace Ventura [Jim Carrey].
Q: Favorite actress? A: Kate del Castillo.
Colon is amazingly flexible for such a bulky guy. "Bartolo," says Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen, "is the most flexible guy we have on our whole team. He can wake up Christmas morning and put either leg up above a door frame, and can do splits." (July 2015)
OVER 40 CLUB
As legendary quarterback Peyton Manning retired from the NFL a few days shy of his 40th birthday, he was hardly the only such elder statesman in sports. In Bartolo Colon's case, for example, 40 has always been just a number—the one on his uniform for almost his entire career. Still playing long after passing that familiar number in years of age, the Mets' man-child of a righthander leads a relatively small contingent of players into 2016 playing at age 40 or older.
Colon is joined by Ichiro Suzuki, R.A. Dickey, Koji Uehara, Alex Rodriguez, and David Ortiz as active players over 40 heading into the 2016 season. A-Rod is headed for 700 homers, Ichiro needing 65 hits for 3,000, and it's Ortiz's final campaign.
"I'm just taking it year by year," Colon said last week. "I knew that I wanted to be back in 2016. Next year, we'll see what happens."
Colon is followed by Suzuki, who's stalking 3,000 hits at age 42 on the Marlins, on a list of the oldest active players that figures to include only six at age 40 or above. That total is down from 11 in 2015. If it stays at six, it would match 1995 for the lowest total of 40-year-olds in the Majors since there were just five in '78.
The forty-somethings' remarkable Class of 2007 of 26 40-year-olds, was led by Julio Franco, who actually got in some swings after his 49th birthday that season, and included Roger Clemens (45 that August), Jamie Moyer (44) and David Wells (44). Hall of Famers Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz also played into their 40s that year, one campaign after 2006 had set the previous standard with 22.
In 1966, Hoyt Wilhelm was the only 40-plus player, at age 43.
After 40, Colon already has three seasons with 14 or more wins (second all-time behind Phil Niekro's five). (Schlegel - MLB.com - 3/6/16)
Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon has allegedly been living a double life and is being sued for child support, according to a report by the New York Post. According to the Post, Alexandra Santos, 38, is suing the 42-year-old pitcher for unpaid child support for two children—an 8-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter.
Colon has been married to his wife, Rosanna, for the last 21 years. The couple has four sons together.
"Mr. Colon obviously is a very talented baseball player and he earns a significant income, and we believe that his children should share in the lifestyle they would have enjoyed had their parents remained together," Santos' attorney Evan Schein told the Post.
According to the Post, Colon inadvertently revealed his identity when he briefly represented himself in court, which resulted in his name being listed as an attorney. The suit is listed in court papers as "Anonymous v. Anonymous."
The case is sealed, but court papers reportedly show that Santos has asked that Colon pay her legal fees and that the two reached a confidentiality agreement earlier this year. The Post was able to reach Colon's wife, Rosanna, and she confirmed that she knew about his second life, his other kids, and the lawsuit. She declined to comment on the ongoing case. (Ben Burrows - The Post-Standard - May 18, 2016)
July 8, 2016: There is no rest for those who wish to defy age. So when National League All-Star manager Terry Collins approached Colon to invite him to the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego, Colon's answer seemed obvious.
"He didn't say, 'Hey, I need to rest, I'm 43 years old,'" Collins recalled. "He said, 'Thank you, I'd like to go.' So he's going to go."
Major League Baseball added the 43-year-old right-hander to the NL roster, replacing San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner. Scheduled to start against the D-backs on Sunday, Bumgarner declined his option to participate in the Midsummer Classic on short rest. (A Dicomo - MLB.com - July 9, 2016)
Bartolo walked through a room [at a press conference for the 2016 All-Star Game] filled largely with people half his age, wearing an oversized pair of sunglasses on his face and a fitness tracker on his wrist. He smiled, a lot, as he answered different variations of the same lines of questioning. How does he still succeed at age 43? How much fun is all of this? Might he hit a home run in the All-Star Game?
A table over, Mets teammate Noah Syndergaard nodded in Colon's direction. "He's a beaut," Syndergaard said.
If nothing else, Colon is a unique talent who doesn't quite fit within baseball's modern infrastructure, or at least within its expectations. He has proven to be the Mets' most durable starting pitcher at any age when not some, but all of his contemporaries are retired. As such, Colon is one of the New York Mets All-Stars, along with closer Jeurys Familia, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Syndergaard.
"I'm just out there having fun," Colon said through an interpreter. "I enjoy myself."
At some point along the line, fans caught on, turning Colon from a freak of nature -- he is 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA in 17 starts and one relief appearance, once again at an age when he's supposed to be golfing -- to a cult hero. Fans at Citi Field often give Colon a standing ovation simply for stepping up to the plate. When Colon hit his first career home run at Petco Park in May 2016, he all but earned a key to the city. His pitching style has evolved from what Carlos Beltran recalled as power, power, power back in the early 2000s to precision, precision, precision today.
But Colon's statistics are not the reason why he is beloved. "He's a teddy bear, man," Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said. "You can't fake that."
Colon simply laughs and plays along at references like those. He feeds the narrative with references to his own helmet-flying-off antics at the plate, giving earnest reporters the sound bites they desire. But to paint Colon as a cartoon character is to do him a disservice. Fanatic about his exercise regimen and as self-aware as any pitcher, Colon is shrewd enough to know what he must to do succeed. Mental strength defines him.
When Colon first joined the Mets in 2014, for example, Familia recalls the advice his new teammate offered. "He always talked to me about my confidence," said Familia, a first-time All-Star. "He said if you're scared, pack your stuff and go home, because scared people can't play the game."
Colon went on to tell Familia, "You have to enjoy what you do. You have to love it." It's an attitude that no one would accuse the 43-year-old of ignoring. "[I enjoy life] in every way," Colon said, "because you never know when it is your last day." (DiComo - MLB.com - 7/12/16)
August 15, 2016: Earlier this year, Bartolo hit the first home run of his Major League career. It was shocking. It was beautiful. It's important footage of human triumph that will live forever in the annals of world history. During the Mets' 10-6 loss to the D-backs, Colon accomplished another momentous feat (perhaps because of that inherent threat to go deep): he drew the first walk of his 19-year career.
2016: Colon has taken to his "Big Sexy" nickname and applied for a trademark on it, with the intention of using it for athletic apparel, according to ESPN.
February 2017: Colon committed to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
Feb 10, 2017: In a world of fiery fastballs and sculpted bodies and athletic ageism, one man set about to change everything we think we know about Major League Baseball. He slung slop, but he threw strikes. His belly jiggled, but he was amazingly agile. He reached his 40s, but he kept getting people out. His name was Bartolo Colon. And his story could make for a movie.
It is the story of an "Arrival," one in which a mysterious presence touches down in Atlanta -- after an extended layover in Orlando -- not via spacecraft but, rather, a one-year, $12.5 million contract. The Braves paid that knowing this man could, come "Hell or High Water," deliver quality innings to their rotation and Oscar-worthy GIFs to their social media feeds. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 285 pounds, this man does not exactly come equipped with a "Hidden Figure," and yet, once again this winter, the 43-year-old Colon has bewitched us with his conditioning and the indefatigable work ethic that has helped him enjoy his profound longevity.
Said longevity is not something a reasonable person could have predicted. Thirteen years ago, out in Anaheim, Colon's career seemed to be speeding toward its conclusion. He was 31, with diminished velocity and scuffling secondary stuff, and coming off a year in which he logged an ERA north of 5.00. But he came up with the brilliant idea of throwing his best pitch—a low-90s fastball that he could locate with precision—over and over and over again. And in that 2005 season, he won 21 games and the American League Cy Young Award.
Since then, Colon has shook off the "Moonlight" and kept the sun shining on his career several times, achieving certified cult hero status over his last three seasons with the Mets. And if you thought the guy with the lifetime .091 average who had on more than one occasion lost his helmet in a fruitless swing of the bat would never hit a home run in a big league ballgame, well, there he was in San Diego "by the Sea" last summer, swinging for the "Fences" and giving us a homer highlight we won't soon forget.
This man, this captivating cult figure, has a new home now. In Atlanta, they're counting on Colon and fellow 40-something R.A. Dickey, who is a curious case study all his own, to help bring respectability to a rotation that was lackluster last season. The Braves have a new ballpark, but their most intriguing addition is a man older than all but six Major League facilities.
Say what you will about his age. Say what you will about his stuff. Say what you will about his shape. Sometimes, there's a man for his time and place. (A Castrovince - MLB.com - Feb 10, 2017)
July 25, 2017: Bartolo Colon pitched against Cody Bellinger 17 years after facing Cody's dad, Clay: It wasn't the first time Colon battled a Bellinger, either. Back on Sept. 18, 2000, he spun an absolute gem against the Yankees, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning and finishing with a sterling 13 strikeouts in a one-hit shutout.
One of the unlucky Yankees to face him that night was Clay Bellinger, who went 0-for-2 against Colon, just as his son fared 17 years later. Two other father/son combinations have faced Colon -- Prince and Cecil Fielder, and Eric Young Jr. and Sr. Both Twins manager Paul Molitor and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had experience at the plate against Colon, as well. (Cut4-MLB)
May 9, 2018: Bartolo, pitching in his 21st MLB season, started against the Tigers. He gave up two earned runs in five innings of work -- striking out four with some of that corner-dotting, 87-mph cheese.
Throwing strike after strike is something we've come to expect from Bartolo.
But weirdly, during his 545th career game, we also learned something new about the right-hander: In between innings, Bartolo makes something called "gum sandwiches." He "flattens out a couple pieces of gum, then takes out the gum he was already chewing, puts it in the middle of two pieces of gum and makes a sandwich."
And then, apparently, he puts it in his glove to save for later?? I don't really know what to say, other than baseball players are weird and "gum sandwiches" might be the key to playing forever. (Monogan - mlb.com)
May 24, 2018 : In celebration of Bart's birthday, and in his 21st MLB season, here are 21 amazing facts about a pitcher who continues to defy the aging curve:
1. With Ichiro Suzuki no longer active for the Mariners, Colon (born May 24, 1973) is one of just two players 40 or older on an MLB roster, and he is nearly four years older than 41-year-old Twins reliever Fernando Rodney (born March 18, 1977). Colon and Adrian Beltre (who turned 39 in April) are the only two active players who appeared in a game in the 1990s.2. Colon is the first player since 2012 to play in his age-45 season. That year, Omar Vizquel suited up for the Blue Jays at 45 and Jamie Moyer for the Rockies at 49. Colon is only the sixth player to do it since 1995, also joining Randy Johnson, Julio Franco and Jesse Orosco.
3. The youngest player to appear in the Majors so far is recent Nationals callup Juan Soto, who was born on Oct. 25, 1998. By that point, Colon already had pitched two seasons in the Majors, starting 48 games for the Indians (plus two in the postseason) and making an American League All-Star team.4. When Colon made his Major League debut on April 4, 1997, starting for the Indians in Anaheim, there were only 28 MLB teams (no D-backs or Rays). The Tigers were in the AL East, the Brewers in the AL Central, the Astros in the National League Central, and the Nationals had a different name and home city. The players had been on strike only a few years before, and the reigning AL and NL MVP Award winners were Juan Gonzalez and Ken Caminiti, respectively.
5. In that debut, Colon allowed a hit to his first batter, Darin Erstad, and recorded his first out by striking out Jim Edmonds. He also faced Eddie Murray, who was born on Feb. 24, 1956. In his most recent start, on Monday, Colon faced the Yankees' Gleyber Torres, who was born nearly 41 years later, on Dec. 13, 1996.6. Colon has been around long enough that one of his 11 teams hasn't existed for 14 years. That, of course, was the Montreal Expos, for whom he pitched 17 games in 2002. The franchise moved to Washington and became the Nationals for the '05 season, and Colon is the last remaining active player to have been an Expo.
7. The Rookie of the Year Award winners for Colon's rookie season (1997) were Nomar Garciaparra (AL) and Scott Rolen (NL), who last played in 2009 and '12, respectively. In fact, of the 18 players to win that award from 1997-2005, only Ichiro and Albert Pujols have played in the Majors this year, with only Pujols also remaining active.8. Colon was already 32 years old during his 2005 AL Cy Young Award-winning season with the Angels. Yet of the 12 other pitchers who received Cy Young Award votes that year, in either league, none remains active. In fact, none has been active since 2015, when Mark Buehrle pitched his final season.9. Colon is older than six MLB managers: the Mets' Mickey Callaway, the Rays' Kevin Cash, the Red Sox's Alex Cora, the Padres' Andy Green, the Astros' AJ Hinch and the Phillies' Gabe Kapler. Two more -- the Yankees' Aaron Boone and the Dodgers' Dave Roberts -- are older than Colon by less than a year. To pick out just one example, consider the case of Green. Now in his third season as a skipper, Green was drafted by the D-backs (a team that had yet to play a game when Colon debuted) and didn't make the Majors as a player until June 12, 2004 -- the same day Colon was making his 224th big league start.10. Boone, Cora, Hinch, Kapler and Roberts all batted against Colon during their playing careers. Other current managers who faced Colon: the Brewers' Craig Counsell, the Nationals' Dave Martinez, the Cardinals' Mike Matheny and the Twins' Paul Molitor.
11. Colon is also older than his current boss, Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels, who is 40.12. There are 18 Hall of Famers who stepped to the plate against Colon during their careers. Frank Thomas did it the most (38 plate appearances) and made Colon miserable, going 14-for-29 (.483) with two home runs and a 1.433 OPS.13. If not Thomas, then Colon's toughest opponent has been Alex Rodriguez, whose eight home runs off Colon are two more than any other player. A-Rod torched Colon for a .411/.429/1.000 batting line and 20 RBIs over 63 plate appearances between 1997-2012. In '05, when Rodriguez won the AL MVP Award with the Yankees and Colon took home the AL Cy Young Award with the Angels, Rodriguez homered in each of his first four trips to the plate against Colon -- in all three of their matchups on April 26, and then their first on July 21.
14. On the other hand, Colon dominated David Ortiz. He held Big Papi to a .154/.228/.250 line across 57 plate appearances from 1997-2015, allowing just one home run and two RBIs, while striking him out 15 times -- tied for his most against any opponent.15. Ichiro has been Colon's most common foe, with the two facing off 118 times -- or 38 more than the next closest, Beltre. Ichiro batted .299/.305/.419 against Colon, with three home runs, walking only once and striking out eight times.
16. Colon has faced all 30 teams, making his most starts against the Mariners (39) and his fewest against the D-backs and Rockies (five apiece). He has at least one win against all 30 as well, and his 21 victories against his current club (the Rangers) are tied with the Mariners for his most against anyone.17. Colon has pitched in 45 big league ballparks, including all 30 active parks and many defunct ones -- including Tiger Stadium and the Astrodome -- plus the Tokyo Dome during a season-opening series for the A's in 2012. His 88 games at Progressive Field still rank as his most at any stadium, even though he has pitched there just four times in the past 15 seasons. Colon's favorite visiting park has to be Seattle's Safeco Field, where he has gone 14-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 16 starts between 1999 and this season, when he tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings there on May 16.
18. Colon has played with 669 teammates in his career, with his longest-tenured teammate being Hall of Famer Jim Thome (seven seasons).
19. Colon was an AL Cy Young Award winner with the Angels in 2005, but how many degrees of separation does he have from Hall of Famer Cy Young?
According to Baseball-Reference.com, only six. Young, who pitched from 1890-1911, played with Hank Gowdy on the '11 Boston Rustlers (later Braves); Gowdy played with Johnny Cooney on the '30 Boston Braves; Cooney played with Warren Spahn on the '42 Braves; Spahn played with Phil Niekro on the '64 Milwaukee Braves; Niekro played with Tom Candiotti on the '86 Indians; and finally, Candiotti and Colon were Cleveland teammates in '99.
20. Colon made his professional debut in 1994 with the Burlington Indians of the Rookie-level Appalachian League, a year after signing with the Indians as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic. In other words, it's now been about 24 years since Colon first suited up for an MLB organization. To put that in context, we're now nearly as far from Colon's pro debut as that event was from 1969, when the Royals, Padres, Brewers (then the Seattle Pilots) and Expos played their first games, and the postseason expanded to include the first AL and NL League Championship Series.
21. Colon's next start will be his 153rd since turning 40, tying Gaylord Perry for ninth most all time. Should he remain in the rotation all season, Colon could pass Perry, Spahn (155), Tommy John (157), Randy Johnson (162) and Jack Quinn (169) for fifth place. Niekro (294) is the all-time leader, and Colon would need to pitch another four full seasons after this one to catch him. That seems unlikely, but if recent years have taught us anything, it's this: Don't count out Bartolo Colon.(Andrew Simon -MLB.com.)
July 11, 2018: Bartolo took the mound at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. But, with Colon still pumping strikes as a 45-year-old, his longevity in the game presented an especially interesting tidbit at play, as pointed out by Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe: "As Bartolo Colon starts his outing at Fenway, the Red Sox coaching staff has more plate appearances against him (63) than do the players on the roster (62)."
Yes, that's correct. Bartolo has faced the former players on the Boston coaching staff more than the entirety of the current Red Sox roster. That's ... wild, isn't it?
Boston manager Alex Cora stood in the box against Colon 19 times in his career, going 4-for-16 with a double and a walk. They were also teammates in Boston in 2008 (something Cora recalls fondly).
Boston third-base coach Carlos Febles probably has great memories of facing Colon. He went 2-for-13 against him, and his first career homer was of the inside-the-park variety off Colon in 1999.
Tom Goodwin is Boston's first-base coach. Over the years, he faced Colon 24 times, picking up six hits and drawing two walks.
And, finally, former catcher Ramon Vazquez had the smallest sample size, but he went 1-for-7 against the veteran over the course of his nine-year playing career. (Garro - mlb.com)
September 22, 2018 : Colon has a new tattoo taking up essentially his entire left arm that depicts an angel-like being doing battle with what definitely looks like the devil. (Cut4-MLB)
You aren't truly a star until you've been given a nickname, whether you're The Man, the Kid or Big Sexy.
But the nickname is not just an American phenomenon: Fans of the Chinese Professional Baseball League, or CPBL, have their very own nickname system. And just as many English language nicknames are based on puns, these nicknames are also largely based on the player names' phonetic similarity to Mandarin words.
Rob Liu, who runs CPBLStats.com -- one of the greatest English-language information sources on the league -- spoke to MLB.com from his home in Taiwan to introduce us to these glorious nicknames, and to give a little more info for some of them.
Though these nicknames may not be as popular with non-baseball fans, Liu says, "If you are really into baseball, [fans] will know these sorts of names."
Here are some of the best. We've included the Mandarin spelling of each nickname and its pronunciation to help illuminate their lore.
Corey Kluber: Uncle Skeleton ÷¼ót²® (Ku-Lou-Bo)
Bartolo Colon: Eight-headed Dragon °Ëî^ýˆ (Ba-Tou-Long)
Francisco Lindor: Chairman Lin ÁÖ¶ (Lin-Dom)
"In the business world in Taiwan, if you're a chairman, they always use your last name and add 'Dom.' So, if you're Lin, you're Lin-Dom."
Miguel Cabrera: Ricecake Ã×¸â (Mi Gao)
Dallas Keuchel: Mouth Open é_¿Ú (Kai Kou)
Albert Pujols: The Bionic Man Éú»¯ÈË (Sheng Hua Ren)
"This is more for Pujols' performance and the way he plays than how it sounds." Note: It's also a play on his American nickname, The Machine.
Justin Morneau: Ferocious Bull ÃÍÅ£ (Meng Niou)
"Morneau is a ferocious bull and Morneau hit well for the organization. So, you put two and two together."
Chi-Chi Gonzalez and Didi Gregorius: Chip and Dale ¾ÈëyÐ¡¸£ÐÇ Chi-Chi and Di-Di
"Whenever those two have a matchup, the people of Taiwan call them Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers. Because in Taiwan, we call Chip and Dale, Chi Chi and Didi." (Michael Clair -MLB.com-Feb. 28, 2019)
Bartolo Colon having the time of his life in softball
Former Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon has found a way to stay active despite a lack of major league interest.If ever there was a major league player built for slow pitch softball, it would be Bartolo Colon. Looking as though he would be perfectly comfortable at the grill (who can forget his Kingsford Charcoal endorsement) or pounding a beer at second, Colon nonetheless had an impressive major league career.
Recently, Colon posted a video showing that he is living his best life and finding a way to stay in shape. Instead of pitching in the Mexican League as he had planned, he is hitting bombs in softball.
A monstrous shot to deep left? That certainly seems familiar. But hopefully, this pitcher will not see his career end up in tatters, his will broken the way that Colon broke James Shields with his major league bomb.
Colon, as of the last we had heard from him, had not given up on returning to the majors. Although he has not thrown a major league pitch in nearly two years, and is already 47 years old, Colon wants one more chance, an opportunity to go out on his own terms.
Those final two seasons were not kind to Colon. He combined for a 14-26 record, along with a 6.13 ERA and a 1.465 WHiP in his 289.1 innings, striking out 170 batters while issuing just 60 walks. The command was still there when he last pitched, but that steady diet of fastballs was only fattening the batting line of the opposition.
There was a chance that Colon could have found a way back. The state of pitching in the majors this season is not exactly great, and had Colon found success in Mexico, that return could have happened. Instead, he has found another way to enjoy himself, hitting bombs in softball. (David Hill - Sept. 17, 2020)
March 1999: Bartolo signed a four-year contract with the Indians, worth $9.25 million.
June 2002: The Expos sent first baseman Lee Stevens, infielder Brandon Phillips, outfielder Grady Sizemore, and pitcher Cliff Lee to the Indians to acquire Colon and P Tim Drew.
The Indians saved $100,000 by trading Bartolo two days before he would have definitely been selected to the American League squad. Of course, he was left off the National League team, which was announced before he had a chance to throw a pitch from Montreal.
January 2003: The Expos sent P Bartolo Colon and INF Jorge Nunez to the White Sox as part of a three-team deal in which Montreal acquired Orlando Hernandez, P Rocky Biddle, and OF Jeff Liefer, plus cash (from the White Sox). Chicago sent pitchers Antonio Osuna and Delvis Lantigua to the Yankees.
December 9, 2003: Colon signed a four-year, $51 million contract with the Angels.
The contract, which includes an $8-million signing bonus, pays him $9 million in 2004, $8 million in 2005, $12 million in 2006, and $14 million in 2007. The righthander could make as much as $15 million in the final year if he finished among the top three in Cy Young Award voting the previous season. And he can block trades to four teams of his choosing.
February 24, 2008: Colon signed with the Red Sox. If he is not on the Major League roster by May 1, he has an out in his contract that allows him to be released.
According to the contract, he will get $18,000 per month on his minor league deal, with his Major League contract valued at $1.25 million.
He gets $100,000 for each game started between 8 and 15, and $175,000 for each game between 15 and 20. He gets $240,000 for each game, 21 to 25, and $350,000 for 26 to 30.
Along with awards bonuses, Colon has bonuses for games finished ($250,000 for 25 finished, $350,000 for 35, $400,000 for 40, and $450,000 for 45). He will get $225,000 for 30 days on the big league roster, and an additional $225,000 for each 30 games after that up to 150. Colon also gets $250,000 if he is traded.
January 15, 2009: Colon signed with the White Sox, receiving a one-year, $1 million contract, with another $2 million available based on innings pitched.
September 16, 2009: The White Sox released Colon.
January 26, 2011: Bartolo signed with the Yankees. He could earn $900,000 if he spends the season in the Majors.
January 16, 2012: Colon signed a one-year deal with the A's. The contract is worth nearly $2 million.
November 3, 2012: Bartolo signed with the A's for one year, worth $3 million plus possible performance bonuses.
December 11, 2013: Colon signed with a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets.
December 16, 2015: Bartolo signed a one-year, $7.25 million deal with the Mets.
Nov 3, 2016: Colon chose free agency.
Nov 11, 2016: Colon signed a one-year deal with the Braves for $12.5 million.
July 4, 2017: The Braves released Colon.
July 7, 2017: Colon signed with the Twins.
Nov 2, 2017: Colon elected free agency.
Feb. 4, 2018: The Rangers signed Colon to a minor league contract and invited the pitcher to big league spring training.
March 24, 2018: The Rangers released Colon.
March 26, 2018: The Rangers organization resigned free agent Colon.
Oct 29, 2018: Colon chose free agency.
- Feb. 14, 2020: Colon had signed a one-year deal with the Monclova Acereros of the Mexican Baseball League.