At the young age of 45, Bartolo Colon became the second oldest pitcher in AL history to throw a complete game last night.
In the 3-1 losing effort, Colon surrendered just three ER, over five hits, while fanning three. His first complete game since last season. Coming just under 20 years (July 28) since his first career complete game with the Indians. The Dominican-born player has been playing in the big leagues for 20 years, if you can believe that.
Colon doesn’t look the part, and hasn’t in some time, but he is leading all active pitchers in wins standing at 245. Now wins is a subjective category especially over the last decade or so. It has become evident that the wins and losses do not define the pitcher as it used to. Its about the team effort that matters, and unfortunately a pitcher must be credited with a win or loss. Speaking of which, Colon is just one win away from becoming the all-time leader in wins by a Latin-born player.
Since joining the league in 1997 he has played with 11 teams with his longest tenure being the Cleveland Indians when he started his career for six seasons. As demoralizing as it is for me, some of our readers weren’t even born in 1997. His career numbers are nothing to scoff at despite his high ERA over the last few years. He has 245 career wins (as noted above), a 4.06 ERA, and 2,513 strikeouts. Certainly not Hall of Fame numbers but again, not that bad.
It’s also hard to remember for some, but Colon won a Cy-Young Award in 2005 with the Angels. This was largely due to his win total, of which he had 21 that year. It’s kind of crazy to look at stats like that these days. He ‘only’ had a 3.48 ERA that year with ‘only’ 157 strikeouts. As I mentioned earlier, the win statistic is not nearly as heavily coveted as it once was. Is it still considered? Of course. But a pitcher winning the CY Young with a 3.48 ERA is crazy in today’s standards.
That year Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins finished in third with a 16-7 record, 2.87 ERA, and 238 strikeouts behind Mariano Rivera’s 43-save season. Colon even finished in the top 25 of the MVP voting in 2005 as well finishing at number 23 (Baseball-Reference.com).
None of this matters, though. The only thing that matters is that Bartolo has become a fan favorite among baseball fans. Everyone is rooting for him to do well and he seems to be holding his own despite his “advanced” age. The man has endless stamina and can still compete in a young-man’s game.
So, until Colon shares with us where he found the fountain of youth, we are all going to sit back and watch the wild ride that is Bartolo Colon. He may also become the first confirmed immortal player, though Gomez Guess says this is just speculation and highly unlikely.
In case anyone is wondering or has forgotten, the oldest ever MLB player was Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige who made his last appearance in 1965, with the Kansas City Athletics, at the ripe age of 58. Do you think Colon has what it takes to make it to 58 or even 59? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: ESPN
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Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld
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