Bartolo Colon is kind of a cult figure in Major League Baseball. He is a former Cy Young winner who played 21 seasons in the majors. He gained notoriety in the second half of his career because he gained weight and was nearly 300 pounds toward the end of his career.
But he was good enough to play in the majors for more than two decades. As can be expected for a player who stuck around as long as Colon did, he was a journeyman who played for many teams. And his long tenure in MLB provided several career highlights, including some that are more on the comical side.
Bartolo Colon had a long career, with ups and downs
Colon made his major league debut with the Indians in 1997, posting a 5.65 ERA in 19 games. He showed improvement the following season, making the American League all-star team while going 14-9 with a 3.71 ERA in 31 starts.
Colon finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 1999 when he won 18 games, but his career year came in 2005, his first of three seasons with the Angels.
He pitched 222.2 innings in 33 starts, with a 3.48 ERA and 157 strikeouts. While those numbers aren’t overly impressive, they were good enough for him to win his only Cy Young Award.
Working in his favor to earn that award was his MLB-leading 21-8 record, the second and final season with 20-plus wins as he previously won 20 games in 2002. Overall, Colon was named to the all-star team four times in his career, most recently in 2016.
How many teams did Bartolo Colon play for?
Bartolo Colon has played for 11, yes 11, MLB teams over his career. The journeyman pitcher made stops all over the league. Let’s quickly run through each stop.
The Indians signed Colon as an amateur free agent in June 1993, and he debuted with the team four years later. They traded him to the Expos in 2002, and he only appeared in 17 games with them before being dealt to the White Sox that offseason.
Following the 2003 campaign, Colon signed with the Angels, who he played with from 2004-2007. His next stop was Boston as he played the 2008 campaign with the Red Sox. He then returned to the White Sox as a free agent in 2009. Colon sat out the 2010 season, then signed with the Yankees for 2011. He then spent 2012 and 2013 with the A’s.
The Mets were next on his journey, as he played with them from 2014-2016. Colon signed with the Braves following the 2016 season, but they released him on July 4, 2017. The Twins picked him up three days later, and he played the remainder of the season for them.
He signed with the Rangers in early February 2018, but they released him on March 24 and re-signed him two days later. He ultimately pitched in 28 games with the Rangers in 2018, which is the last time he has pitched in the majors but he has not officially announced his retirement, leaving the door open for a possible return. In all, Colon played for 11 teams in his major league career.
Bartolo Colon’s career highlight?
Colon had some good seasons early in his career and even won a Cy Young, but the play he is probably most remembered for came late in his career when he was with the Mets when the pitcher, where he had 299 career at-bats, hit the only home run of his career.
It happened on May 7, 2016, at San Diego’s Petco Park as part of a 4-0 Mets victory. The homer came off of James Shield and become a viral sensation among baseball fans because of how long it took Colon to round the bases. Colon was 42 at the time and became the oldest player in MLB history to hit his first home run. Even the Mets’ broadcasters and Colon’s teammates made light of the situation, as seen in the above clip.