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Bartolo Colón

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Bartolo Colon
(Bart)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 250 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Bartolo Colon-6488.jpg

Bartolo Colon was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA for the Aguilas Cibaeñas in the 2008 Caribbean Series. The game was seen as an attempt to win interest from major league teams.

After being out of the majors the entire 2010 season, Colon impressed New York Yankees coach Tony Pena during the 2010-11 Dominican League season and was offered an invitation to the team's spring training. He earned a spot in the bullpen and made his first three appearances of 2011 in relief of a struggling Phil Hughes, doing a solid job in long relief. When Hughes was placed on the disabled list on April 15 after three ineffective starts, Colon took his place in the starting rotation. Colon's remarkable return to form prompted questions about the experimental surgery that was performed on his shoulder and elbow in 2010, particularly rumors that human growth hormone, which is banned by Major League Baseball, was used as part of the procedure. Surgeon Joseph Purita, who performed the surgery which also involves the use of stem cells, denied that HGH had been used or that there was anything wrong with a procedure that he described as "the future of sports medicine". On May 30th, he pitched his first shutout in almost five years, blanking the Oakland A's, 5-0. However, Colon was placed on the disabled list on June 11th after leaving a start against the Cleveland Indians with a strained right hamstring. He was 5-3, 3.10 at the time. He returned in winning form on July 2nd, beating the New York Mets, 5-2. He finished the year 8-10, 4.00, in 29 games (26 starts), having pitched 164 1/3 innings for the Yankees and making an important contribution to a division title. He did not play in the postseason however.

After the season, it was clear that the Yankees, while happy that Colon and fellow veteran Freddy Garcia had bailed them out in 2011, were looking to build a younger and more reliable starting rotation for the future. As a result, they did not seriously pursue re-signing Bartolo, and on January 15, 2012, he moved to the Oakland Athletics as a free agent on a one-year deal worth $2 million. He won his first game in Tokyo, Japan, on March 29th, giving up only a run on 3 hits in 8 innings against the Seattle Mariners. He was having a very solid season for the A's, going 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts, when on August 22nd he was suspended for 50 games by MLB, having tested positive for the banned substance testosterone. His colleague from across the Bay, the San Francisco Giants' Melky Cabrera had been busted for using the same substance only eight days earlier. Colon apologized to fans and recognized his guilt, stating: "I accept responsibility for my actions and I will serve my suspension as required by the Joint Drug Program."

Colon went to play for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League in the 2012-13 off-season, In his second start on October 28th, he was struck in the mouth by a batted ball and had to be hospitalized, although he did not suffer a fracture or any broken teeth. On November 3rd, the A's announced that they had signed him again for 2013. However, the A's confidence in the veteran was well-placed, as he was their best starter during the early stages of the season. He was named the AL's Pitcher of the Month for June when he went 5-0, 1.75. He was no stranger to the award, having won it three times previously, although the last instance had been in his Cy Young season in 2005. He was then named to the All-Star team, also a first since his Cy Young season. Colon's name was tied up in the Biogenesis Laboratories scandal early in the 2013 season, but he did not receive a suspension as it could not be determined that he had committed an additional offense to the one for which he had been punished for in 2012. He finished the year with a record of 18-6, 2.65, having pitched 190 1/3 innings as the division-winning Athletics' ace. He started the opening game of the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers on [[October 4]¸th and gave up 3 runs in 6 innings to be saddled with the 3-2 loss. When the decisive Game 5 came around though, A's manager Bob Melvin tagged rookie Sonny Gray to make the start, which he lost to Justin Verlander.

A free agent after the 2013 season, Colon cashed in on his success with a two-year deal with the New York Mets worth $20 million on December 11th, a rather hefty sum for a 41-year-old. On August 8, 2014, he recorded the 200th win of his career when he beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4. He left with a 5-1 lead after 8 innings, but relievers Dana Eveland and Jenrry Mejia made things interesting by allowing 3 runs in the 9th. He became the third active pitcher to the milestone, after Tim Hudson and CC Sabathia. He finished the year at 15-13, 4.09 in 31 starts, pitching over 200 innings for the 8th time. Seemingly oblivious to Father Time, he then began 2015 by rolling off four straight wins in his first four starts. A 7-4 win against the Phillies on May 10th made him the first six-game winner in the majors that season. When Bruce Chen announced his retirement on May 18th that year, he became the last former member of the Montreal Expos to be still active in the major leagues, although Maicer Izturis was still hoping to come back from repeated injuries (he retired the following spring without making it back to the bigs). On May 31st, he became the first eight-game winner in the NL with a 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins. He also got an RBI double in the game, sweet payback after his curious hitting style, in which he seems to swing for the fences on every pitch and almost screws himself into the batter's box as a result, usually losing his helmet in the process, had become an internet meme. On June 18th, he lost a game against R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays. It was remarkable as the first match-up of starting pitchers over 40 since August 15, 2008, when Greg Maddux had faced Jamie Moyer. He went though a tough stretch starting with that game until August 21st, with a 1-7 record over a stretch of 11 starts. He then turned things around again, putting together a 31-inning scoreless string from August 26-September 10, falling just short of the Mets team record held by Dickey. It was also the longest such streak by a player 42 or older, a record previously held by Cy Young, although his longevity had put in a territory which few pitchers had ever reached. he finished the season at 14-13, 4.16 in 33 starts and 194 2/3 innings. In the postseason, he was used as a reliever as the Mets went with a quartet of young starters. He put up a 4.50 ERA in 3 games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, then was credited with a win in his only appearance against the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. However, he was charged with the loss in Game 1 of the World Series when he entered in the 12th inning against the Kansas City Royals and gave up an unearned run in the bottom of the 14th. He pitched twice more in the Series, giving up a hit in one more inning of work. On December 16th, he re-signed with the Mets for $7.25 million.

On May 7, 2016 he set a major league record by becoming the oldest player to hit his first career home run. He connected off James Shields of the San Diego Padres for a two-run blast at Petco Park, three weeks shy of his 43rd birthday. The previous record-holder had been Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, whose first homer came shortly after he had turned 40. He also won the game, 6-3. On August 15th, he drew his first walk in in 282 career plate appearances, quite a feat for a player known to swing away with all his might on any pitch anywhere near the plate; it was of course another record, for most PA's before drawing a first walk. In addition to his hitting feats, Colon was having a nice season on the mound too, being selected to raked part in his fourth All-Star Game after going 7-4, 3.28 in the first half. For the third straight season, he ended up the top winner on the Mets' staff, at 15-8, 3.43, helping them to return to the postseason as a wild card.

On November 11, 2016, he signed a one-year contract estimated at $12.5 million with the Atlanta Braves, becoming the season 40-something starting pitcher to sign with the team in two days, after R.A. Dickey. The Braves obviously wanted to add some experience ti what had been a very young staff the previous year as they headed to a new ballpark for 2017.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 1995 Pitcher of the Year Carolina League Kinston Indians
  • 4-time AL All-Star (1998, 2005, 2013 & 2016)
  • AL Cy Young Award Winner (2005)
  • AL Wins Leader (2005)
  • AL Complete Games Leader (2003)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (2013)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 9 (1999, 2000, 2002-2005, 2013, 2014 & 2016)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 2 (2002 & 2005)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (1998, 1999, 2001-2005 & 2014)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 2 (2000 & 2001)


AL Cy Young Award
2004 2005 2006
Johan Santana Bartolo Colon Johan Santana

[edit] Further Reading

  • Ted Berg: "Infielder's retirement leaves Bartolo Colon as the last former Expo in MLB", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, March 4, 2016. [1]
  • Terence Moore: "Colon proving age doesn't matter: Mets pitcher has skills, durability that belie his 42 years", mlb.com, December 20, 2015. [2]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Bartolo Colon's Mets chapter almost done - but they'll never forget him", USA Today Sports, July 19, 2015. [3]

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