May 23, 2016

2015 NL Champion Mets Pitcher: "Big Sexy" Bartolo Colon (2014-2016)


Bartolo Colon was born May 24th, 1973 in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. While growing up poor, he eventually became a star pitcher at his high school. 

In 1993 he got signed as an amateur free agent by the Cleveland Indians.

He began his minor league career at Burlington in the Rookie league in 1994, the next year he would go 13-3 with a 1.96 ERA at A ball Kinston. Two years later, Colon made his MLB debut in the third game of the 1997 season for the soon to be AL Champion Indians.

He allowed four runs in five innings at Anaheim getting no decision. He would be 0-2 through early June as he got his first career win, coming in Detroit against the Tigers. He would spend some more time at AAA Buffalo where he went 7-1, where he even threw a no hitter, before returning to Cleveland. He ended up 4-7 and did not appear in the post season.

In 1998 Colon would post 14 wins, second to Charles Nagy & Dave Burba (15) on a powerful Cleveland team. He set a strange record that year when he threw twenty pitches to Ricky Gutierrez, who would eventually strike out. That season Colon made the first of his three All Star appearances.

Post Season: He closed out the ALDS with a win over the Boston Red Sox, in a tight 2-1 Game #4 at Fenway Park. He pitched into the 6th inning, out pitching former Met Pete Schourek. He then pitched a complete game win over the AL New York club in Game #3 of the ALCS, allowing one run on four hits.

In 1999 Colon won 18 games (second in the AL) posting a 3.95 ERA striking out 161 batters, while pitching over 200 innings for the second straight year. He would pitch in two games of the ALDS loss against the Boston Red Sox going 1-1. In Game #1 he pitched into the 8th inning, striking out 11 batters & allowing two runs while getting the 3-2 win.

Colon would spend two more full seasons in Cleveland winning 14 or more games in both those years, while pitching over 200 innings & striking out over 200 batters as well. In 2000 his 212 Ks were second most in the AL. That year on September 18th, he pitched a one hit, 13 strike out shut out in New York over the AL New York club. 

In 2001 he struck out 201 batters (5th in the AL) but he gave up a lot of walks (90) HRs (26) & lost 12 games (8th most in the AL) while posting one of the highest ERA's of his career (4.09).


Post Season: His Indians got to another ALDS in 2001, where he pitched eight shutout innings in the Series Opener, taking a win in Seattle over Freddy Garcia. Overall the Indians lost the series in five games to the Seattle Mariners.

In 2002 Colon was 10-4 with an ERA under three for Cleveland when on the trade deadline he was traded to the contending Montreal Expos. The Indians who would finish under .500 that year, received Grady Sizemore & Cliff Lee in the deal. 

In Montreal, Colon went 10-4 as the Expos finished in second place under manager Frank Robinson. Overall Colon was a twenty game winner on the season going a combined 20-8, with a 2.93 ERA , eight complete games, 149 strike outs in 233 innings pitched.

Just before the 2003 season, Colon was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Orlando Hernandez, Rocky Biddle & Jeff Liefer as well as cash. That year the White Sox finished second under Jerry Manuel, as Colon led the league in complete games (9) & went 15-13, second on the staff in wins after Esteban Loazia's 21. After that season, Colon signed a big contract with the Anaheim Angels.

In 2005 he had his best season, making the All Star team, winning the AL Cy Young Award, leading the league in wins (21) going 21-8 with a .724 winning %. Colon was the first Angels pitcher to win a Cy Young since Dean Chance did it in 1964. 

He struck out 157 batters (8th in the league) pitching 222 innings (7th in the league) posting a 3.48 ERA (8th in the league).

Post Season: The Angels won their Division & beat the AL New York club in the ALDS, but lost to the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS. 

In Game #5 of the ALDS he partially tore his rotator cuff & spent most of 2006 on the DL, making just ten starts.

In 2007 he was still battling injuries going 6-8 with a career high 6.34 ERA in 19 games.

In 2008 he signed with the Boston Red Sox, and in May pitched a one hitter at AAA Pawtucket. He would won his 150th career game that June, but only pitched seven games for the Red Sox going 4-2. 

In September he went to the Dominican Republic to handle personal matters & decided to stay. He was placed on the restricted list & remained there as the Sox played the post season, losing to Tampa in the ALCS.

In 2009 the White Sox gave him another chance, he went to 3-6 for Ozzie Guillen's third place Sox, but more injuries shut him down in late June, ending his season. In 2010 he did not pitch at all due to ongoing shoulder & elbow pain, as well as damage to the rotator cuff, ligaments & tendons. 

That March he received a transplant of stem cells to repair tissue in the right shoulder. MLB studied the controversial surgery, but no foul play was found or any use of human growth hormones.

Colon announced a comeback & got a one year deal with the AL New York club. He made the team out of Spring Training & went 8-10 on the season with a 4.00 ERA.

In 2012 he signed a one year deal with the Oakland Athletics. He debuted for Oakland in the second game of the season, played at Japan. There he pitched eight innings against the Seattle Mariners, allowing one run on three hits with six strike outs. Colon went 6-8 into mid July before winning four of his next five starts.

On August 22nd, 2012 he tested positive for synthetic testosterone, a performance enhancing substance in violation of MLB's Drug programs. Colon apologized to fans: "I accept responsibility for my actions and I will serve my suspension as required by the Joint Drug Program." This came less than two weeks after Melkey Cabrera was also suspended. 

The Athletics went on to surprise everyone by winning their division & getting to the ALDS where they lost to the Detroit Tigers.

In 2013, The Athletics gave Colon another one year deal and he turned out to be a good signing for GM Billy Beane. In April Colon was 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA & twenty strike outs. After losing two straight decisions in early May, he went on a personal eight game winning streak.

On May 31st he tossed a complete game five hit shutout over the Chicago White Sox, for his third straight win. In four starts from May 26th through June 11th, he allowed just one earned run in 29 innings pitched while going 4-0 & lowering his ERA to 2.92. He was named the AL Pitcher of the month & made the 2013 All Star Team, but did not pitch in the game played at Citi Field.


At the break he was an incredible 12-4 and went on to go 6-2 down the stretch, with four straight wins in September. The Athletics won another AL Western title, as Colon was 18-6,with the third best win-loss % in the AL. Colon led the league with three shut outs & was third with three complete games.

He posted the league's second best ERA at 2.65, striking out 117 batters, walking just 29 in 190 innings pitched. Colon had the second best base on balls per nine inning average in the AL (1.37) & he allowed 0.662 HRs per nine innings (6th best in the AL).

Post Season: In the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, Colon got the start in Game #1 against Max Scherzer. Colon allowed ten hits & three runs in the 3-2 loss.


In December of 2013, The New York Mets gave the forty year old Colon a big $20 million two year deal.

Colon debuted in the Mets second game of the season, the first Citi Field night game. He had a rough outing allowing nine hits, three runs & two HRs taking the loss. His next outing was much better, pitching seven shut out innings in Atlanta, allowing six hits with five Ks in a combined 4-0 Mets win.

On April 12th, on an early West Coast trip to Anaheim, Colon had a nightmare night, nine runs on eleven hits in five innings in a 14-2 debacle to the Angels. 

On April 14th, the Mets were leading the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in the 3rd inning with two on & one out with Freddie Freeman at bat. 

Colon got Freeman to hit a ground ball down third base near the line, but after Colon fielded it he threw wildly to first base, allowing two runs to score. With the exception of those two runs, it wasn't all that bad an outing. 

He gave up three runs on eight hits in seven innings, taking the loss in the 7-5 Braves win. In his first four starts the Mets offense has only given him one run of support in each game.

On April 24th he pitched a fine game, beating the St. Louis Cards 4-1. In seven innings of work, Colon allowed the one run on just four hits with a season high eight strike outs. His next start in Colorado was a disaster, seven runs on ten hits in six innings raising his ERA to 5.65. On May 6th he took another loss in Miami in the midst of a Mets six game losing streak. 

On May 12th, he earned a win in the subway series game in the Bronx, the Mets helped him out by scoring by scoring nine runs, Colon gave up seven runs on eleven hits through 5.2 innings. His next start was better as he pitched eight innings, allowing just two runs in a 5-2 win at Washington.  

On May 28th he was even better, as he had possibly had his best start of the year. He shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates going into the 8th inning, allowing just five hits with a season high nine strike outs.

That win continued in stretch of six straight victories for Colon. From June 13th through the 24th he pitched into the 8th inning three times, allowing just four earned runs in 23.1 innings, allowing just two walks, while earning wins against the San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals & Oakland A's. On June 18th he collected his first hit in nine years when he hit a double off Lance Lynn of the St. Louis Cardinals.

After two straight losses in July, Colon beat the Mariners in Seattle allowing just two runs & three hits over 7.1 innings. On July 28th, at Citi Field he once again went into the 8th inning, although he allowed ten hits he gave up just one run in a 7-1 victory over the Phillies.

On August 8th, Colon had yet another eight inning one run performance, striking out six Phillies in Philadelphia for his eleventh win of the year. This was also his milestone 200th victory of his career. He is just the third Dominican pitcher to reach 200 wins (Juan Marichal & Pedro Martinez also did it). He is also the third pitcher to win his 200th game in a Mets uniform, joining Pedro Martinez & Orel Hershiser.

Win number 12 of the season came at Dodger Stadium, in an 11-3 Mets win. Colon started out September with a seven inning two run performance in Cincinnati, beating the Reds in another productive Mets offensive performance 14-5. 

After a loss to the Nationals, Colon pitched 7.2 innings at Citi Field. He did allow 12 hits but only one run as he went on to his 14th win.

On September 28th, Colon pitched his last game of the year, it was a three run, six inning outing against the Houston Astros. It was good enough to earn him his 15th win of the year, maybe even more than the Mets had expected when they signed him at the start of the season.

For 2014 Colon went 15-13 (8th in the league in wins) with a 4.09 ERA. He struck out 151 batters while walking just 30 in 202 innings pitched. His strike out to walk ratio was 5th best in the league. The Mets had signed Colon in hope he would eat up innings, just as he did. Colon had not surpassed the 200 innings mark in nine years.

Colon also gave up 218 hits (2nd most in the NL) 22 HRs (10th in the league) & 92 earned runs (7th most in the NL).

All in all he became a hero for slightly over weight, over forty fans & athletes to believe in. The fans loved to watch him swing the bat, especially when his helmet fell off. And loved it even more when he ran the bases. Even his team mates got a laugh as they would fan him down to cool him off from the dug out.



There was some slight trade talk about Colon in the off season but nothing came of it. He was slated to be the Opening Day starter for 2015, the veteran in a young pitching staff. Colon earned the right for the Opening Day nod with his 15 wins. It was also a chance for the Mets to have Jacob deGrom start the home Opener & to add some rest for Matt Harvey in the three slot.

Colon started out 2015 excellent. On Opening Day in Washington, Colon gave the Mets six solid innings, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out seven. 

On April 12th in Atlanta his next outing, Colon went seven innings, giving up three runs earning the 4-3 win over the Braves. In the Mets 4th inning, Wilmer Flores doubled & with one out Colon singled, driving him in with his first RBI. 

On April 17th, he had another strong performance, in seven innings of work he allowed one run on six hits, striking out five. In the bottom of the 5th, Colon added a sac fly to tie the game up. Colon now had two RBIs in his last two games & he became even more popular with Mets fans.


On April 23rd, in a game centerfieldmaz attended, Colon helped the Mets tie a franchise record by recording the clubs 11th straight win. It wasn't pretty as he gave up three runs on seven hits but he did benefit from six Mets runs, in a 6-3 win over the Atlanta Braves. 

This got Colon to 4-0, something no one saw coming. He is the first pitcher in the past 80 years to start out at 4-0 aged forty or older.
On April 29th he earned his first loss of the season.

On May 5th at Citi Field in a game against the Baltimore Orioles, he rebounded well enough to pitch into the 8th inning, allow one run, strike out a season high nine batters, and walk no one. Colon earned his 5th win in the 5-1 Mets victory.

On Mothers Day in Philadelphia, Colon became the majors first six game winner (6-1), as he  beat the Phillies in another outing where he did not allow a walk. Colon extended his streak back to the first game of the season & had not allowed a walk in 40 1/3 innings.


Colon suffered two straight losses including a nine run, eleven hit debacle against the Cardinals on May 20th. The Mets lost that one 9-0. He rebounded beating the Philadelphia Phillies & Miami Marlins in back to back outings at Citi Field.



He went into June at 8-3 but then went into a terrible six game losing streak as he went O for July. Not all those outings were that bad, but he did allow six or more runs three times & saw his ERA got just under five.

On July 1st, he shut out the Chicago Cubs for seven innings at Citi but Jon Lester also shut out the Mets for seven &  got help from his bullpen in the 2-0 win. He took another tough loss in Los Angeles as Clayton Kershaw shut out the Mets 3-0. Colon pitched 8 innings giving up just one run.


On July 29th he had his worst outing getting knocked out of the game in the 3rd inning, after giving up six runs on ten hits.


On August 3rd in Miami he threw 8 innings of one run ball, as the Mets beat up on the fish 12-1 as Colon got to .500 at 10-10. He then had two no decision, in one he allowed just one run in five innings & the other seven runs in 3.2 innings at Philadelphia.


2015 was an up & down year for Bartolo Colon, he began the year at 4-0 and got as good as 6-1 with a 3.30 ERA by mid May. By mid June he was at 9-4 until he hit a snag and lost his next six decisions.


As August began he finally earned a win in Miami, allowing just one run in seven innings. His next starts were up & down as he was 10-11 with an ERA near five by late August, then the ageless wonder went on a record setting roll.

August 26th: On this night Bartolo Colon took the mound for the first place Mets (70-56) in Philadelphia, against Pete Mackanin's last place Phillies (50-77).

The Mets gave Colon a quick 3-0 lead as they jumped on starter Jerad Eickhoff in the 1st inning.

Curtis Granderson reached on an error, Yoenis Cespedes then reached on an infield single. As Daniel Murphy grounded out, Grandy scored making 1-0. Michael Cuddyer doubled down the left field line scoring Cespedes & Cuddyer would score on a Micahel Conforto base hit.

On the mound Colom shut out the Phillies for seven innings, allowing just five hits & two walks. He struck out eight and went on to earn the win putting him at .500 (11-11) on the year. It was the first time since his July 1st start that he did not allow a run.

The Mets went on to win it 9-4, Cuddyer added a solo HR in the 8th inning & Murph drove in his second run of the game. Yoenis Cespedes tripled home a run, Conforto & Juan Uribe added RBI hits as well. At the plate Colon went 0-3.

August 29th: In a disappointing 3-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox, Manager Terry Collins used Colon in a rare relief appearance to help a depleted bullpen. The ageless wonder Colon, came on & pitched a scoreless, 9th inning striking out two.

August 31st: The Philadelphia Phillies came to New York as the Mets were riding a 5 1/2 game first place lead over the Washington Nationals.

Colon went up against Jerad Eickhoff once again. This time Colon pitched eight shut out innings, allowing just four hits & one walk. He struck out nine to match his season high, earning his 12th win (12-11). His scoreless innings streak was now up to 16.

In the 5th inning he even got a base hit & scored on Curtis Granderson's  23rd HR of the year. Michael Conforto added a solo shot to contribute to the Mets 3-1 win.
That week Bartolo Colon won the NL Player of the Week Award.

September 5th: The first place Mets, now 15 games over .500 (75-60) visited South Florida for a matchup between Dan Jennings' third place Miami Marlins (56-80).

Colon may have had his best outing to date for the year as he pitched a complete game shut out, without walking any one. He gave up nine hits & struck out just two. The win was easy as the Mets gave him seven runs to play with.

Colon now leading the Mets staff with 13 wins, became the first Mets pitcher to throw a complete game in the 2015 season. He also became the oldest Mets pitcher to throw a shut out at age 42. Colon gave the bullpen a much needed rest and extended his scoreless streak to 25 innings.

With his glove he made one of the most outstanding plays of the year as he fielded a slow grounder along the first base line, he then tossed the ball behind his back right on target to first baseman Daniel Murphy's glove for the amazing out. Everyone had a smile on their face as he entered the dugout being congratulated by his team mates.

The Mets hit three HRs that night, a three run shot from Travis d'Arnaud, a two run shot from Juan Lagares & a solo shot from Wilmer Flores.

September 10th: The first place Mets (79-61) were fresh off a sweep of the second place Nationals in D.C. The Met lead was now seven games & a magic number was set at 17 to clinch the Division.

Colon took the mound trying to extend his streak in Atlanta against the struggling Braves (56-85) Freddi Gonzalez's Braves trailed the Mets by 22 1/2 games in the standings.

Colon came on and threw six more scoreless innings, not giving up a run until a Jace Peterson triple scored Nick Swisher to end the streak at 31 innings. Colon fell just shy of the Mets franchise record of 32 2/3 scoreless innings set by R.A. Dickey. 

When Colon  reached the 28 inning mark, he made history passing Cy Young & Warren Spahn as pitchers 42 years of age or older to not allow a run in that many innings.

The Mets rolled along to a 7-2 win, as Colon bested his record to 14-11 with a 4.13 ERA, 129 strike outs & just 22 walks in 176 innings pitched (29 starts). Colon has the best walks per nine innings ratio in the NL.

The Mets starting the scoring in the 4th on a Kevin Plawecki double that brought in two runs. And then yes, the man himself; Bartolo Colon added his own RBI base to make it 3-0 Mets.

For Colon it was his 8th hit of the year & his fourth RBI, both career highs. He raised his batting average to .148 on the season as well.

Plawecki added another RBI later on, and Juan Uribe had a big three hit three RBI night to contribute.

Colon would get three more starts allowing three runs in each game, pitching five or more innings in each outing as well. He took two more losses with a no decision & made a relief appearance in the Mets 1-0 win, in the final game of the regular season coming against the Washington Nats.

Colon finished the year at 14-13, tied with Jacob deGrom for most wins on the Mets staff. His 14 wins were also 7th most wins in the NL. He  posted a 4.16 ERA, struck out 136 batters while walking just 24 in 194 innings of work (most innings pitched on the Met staff). His 1.110 walks per nine innings was the best in the league & his strike outs per walk ratio of 5.667 fourth best. He also allowed the most hits in the league (217) & 25 HRs in 33 games (31 starts which was most on the Met staff)

2016 Post Season: In 2016 Colon got to his fifth post season, this time with the  New York Mets. This was his first World Series appearance.

 Colon saw action in three games of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching four innings all in relief. He gave up two run on two hits while striking out three.

NLCS: In the Mets NLCS Game #4 at Wrigley Field, he pitched 1.1 innings & earned the victory, helping the Mets to the 8-3 game winner to complete the series sweep that got them the World Series.

2016 World Series: In the World Series Game #1 he took the 14th inning loss, after pitching three innings of relief. Eric Hosmer's sac fly scored Ben Zobrist with the walk off game winner. He also saw some relief work in Games #4 & Game #5.

On December 17th he signed a one year $7 million deal to stay with the New York Mets.

2016 Season: Colon saw action in relief on Opening Day 2016, pitching a scoreless 6th & partial 7th inning in the 4-3 Met loss at Kansas City. In April 9th he got his first start of 2016 taking a loss at home against the lowly Phillies. That night he gave up five runs in six innings.

On April 15th he returned to Cleveland where his career began, in an inter league game against the Indians. He went into the 6th inning giving up two runs, earning the win in a 6-5 Mets win, his first of the year. Two no decisions followed but on May 2nd, he earned his 220nd career win, passing Pedro Martinez on the all time Dominican win list.

Colon benefited from HRs in the 1st inning by David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes & Lucas Duda as he shut out the Atlanta Braves for eight innings, scattering seven hits in a 4-1 Mets win. That night not only did he not walk anyone (again) but he also scorched a baseball foul just missing a bases clearing hit. Only Big Sexy gets noticed on "impressive" foul balls.

Quotes: Bartolo Colon: After the game, through his interpreter Melissa Rodriguez he said " I was even impressed, I don't think I ever hit a ball harder than that".

Well he hit one harder on May 7th at San Diego, when he became the oldest player in MLB history at age 42 to hit his first career HR. The historic HR made him the second oldest Mets to ever hit a HR & one of three Mets players (Willie Mays & Julio Franco) to hit HRs at age 42. 

Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen got so excited he said “This is one of the great moments in the history of baseball! Bartolo Colon has gone deep!”

Quotes: Bartolo Colon- I don't even know how to explain it. I'm very thankful, I thank God & am very grateful. It means a lot." He also said it was the biggest moment of his career.

Colon won that game & earned two victories with the historic HR, all that same week earning him the Player of the Week Award.

In his 18 year career, Colon has 220 wins(79 most wins all time) with 155 losses (148th all time) with 2265 strike outs (53 all time), 859 walks (194th all time) in 3012 innings (138th all time) in 481 games, 472 starts (70th all time) & a 3.92 ERA.

At 43 years old in 2016 he is the oldest player in the game. His 13 shut outs are first among active pitchers. All time his 2.629 strike outs to walk ratio in 89th best all time. His walks per nine innings (2.573) is 21st best all time.

He has played with the Cleveland Indians (1997-2002),  Montreal Expos (2002) Chicago White Sox (2003/ 2009), Los Angeles Angles (2004-2007) Boston Red Sox (2008) A.L. NY Team (2011) Oakland A's (2012-2013) & New York Mets (2014-2016).

Colon has made three All Star teams, won the 2005 AL Cy Young Award, four monthly & four weekly Player Awards as well.


Family: Bartolo Colon & his wife live in Clifton, New Jersey with their three children. In September of 2014 he & his wife were officially named United States citizens.

No comments: