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43-Year Old Bartolo Colon Has Always Defied the Odds



When it comes to New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon, age is just a number. For that matter, so is weight. He might be 43 years old and 285 pounds, but he hasn’t let either of those things deter him.

Colon is currently in his nineteenth season in the MLB. Originally signed by the Cleveland Indians as a free agent from the Dominican Republic back in 1993, he made his Major League debut in 1997. He was named to the AL All-Star Team in 1998 and finished fourth in the AL Cy Young voting the following season. After spending nearly six years in Cleveland, he was traded to the Montreal Expos in mid-2002. This was the infamous deal that sent then-prospects Cliff LeeGrady Sizemore, and Brandon Phillips to the Indians. Lee went on to win the AL Cy Young Award with the Indians in 2008. Colon’s stint in Montreal was brief, as he only had 17 starts with the Expos. This was because they traded him to the Chicago White Sox before the 2003 season began. This time, he was traded for Orlando Hernández, among other players. After spending the entire 2003 season with the White Sox, he signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Anaheim was where Colon started to really become known around baseball. In 2005, he had arguably the best season of his career, going 21-8 with a 3.48 ERA. This performance helped him win his first and currently only career Cy Young Award. Following this stellar season, Colon started to struggle. Injuries kept him sidelined for the majority of 2006. The following year, he made 18 starts but had an ERA of 6.34. He ended up signing  a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox before the 2008 season began, but only ended up making seven starts with them. The White Sox brought him back in 2009, but injuries again derailed him. In only 12 starts that year, he went 3-6 with a 4.19 ERA.

Injuries really started to bother Colon at this point in his career. He remained sidelined for the entire 2010 season because of injuries to his right shoulder and elbow. He didn’t need to have Tommy John surgery, but missed the whole year nonetheless. There was much speculation around baseball about whether or not Colon’s career was basically over. After all, he was 37 years old at this point and wasn’t exactly in great shape physically. Things didn’t look so good for him then. However, Bartolo did not let this stop him.

Instead, he decided to make a comeback. The New York Yankees signed him to a minor league contract in January of 2011. That season, he made 26 starts for the Yankees, going 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA. That year sparked a career resurgence for Colon.

The Oakland Athletics then decided to sign him to a one-year contract. He was having a good season up until August when it was announced that he was suspended for 50 games due to testing positive for synthetic testosterone. Although this could have been a career-ending setback, Colon again shocked people when he decided to come back for the 2013 season. The Athletics re-signed him for one more year, a move that ended up paying off. Colon won 18 games in 2013 and had an ERA of 2.65, earning him his third All-Star appearance. His 2.65 ERA was the lowest of his career. This helped garner him a two-year, $20 million contract with the Mets.

New York is where Colon has become a fan favorite. He’s not only beloved by Mets fans, but by supporters of other teams as well. While with the Mets, he’s become a kind of living baseball legend. He is often the subject of humor on Twitter due to his tremendous size, yet stealthy athletic ability. Some of his highlights with the team include picking off Atlanta Braves catcher A. J. Pierzynski, completing a behind-the-back flip to first base while fielding a swinging bunt against the Miami Marlins, and hitting a home run against the San Diego Padres this past May. At the time he was 42, but was still the oldest player in MLB history to hit his first career home run. Baseball fans all over the internet rejoiced when he finally went deep. It was described by many as one of the greatest moments in recent baseball history. Besides his positive attitude and amusing moments, Colon has also pitched well while with the Mets. He won 15 games in 2014, posting an ERA of 4.09. Last season, he went 14-13 with a 4.16 ERA. These two good years prompted the Mets to re-sign him this past offseason. As we head into the second half of the 2016 season, Colon’s numbers are still as good as every. He’s 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA. Oh, and he was named to the National League All-Star team last week after Madison Bumgarner decided to sit out the game. Even in 2016, Colon continues to amaze fans and exceed expectations.

You can’t deny that Bartolo Colon has had a great career. Over 19 seasons with eight different teams, he has 225 wins, four All-Star appearances, and a Cy Young Award under his belt. Additionally, he is the last active MLB player to have played for the Montreal Expos. Enjoy the spectacle that is Colon while you can because he won’t be around too much longer. Despite the fact that he’s 43 and still going strong, the end is near. Baseball will certainly miss him.

Aspring sports broadcaster/writer. Freshman Television-Radio major at Ithaca College. Die-hard Mets, Giants, Nets, and Devils fan.