On this date, four years ago, 42-year-old New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon became the oldest player to his hit first MLB home run.
Entering his tenure with the New York Mets, Bartolo Colon was thought to be at the start of a decline. At that point, the 40-year-old pitcher had appeared in three All-Star games and had a Cy Young Award to his name, so what else did he have to accomplish?
The Mets would be the eighth organization Colon had pitched for, and in many ways, it’s the one we’ll likely always remember him as a member of. While there, he pitched to a 44-34 record while posting a 3.90 ERA, a 3.79 FIP, and a 1.225 WHIP.
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At the same time, Colon was transforming himself into one of baseball’s most beloved figures, a portly 18-year veteran who could still touch 90 on the gun.
What catapulted him into cult status, however, was one swing of the bat. It happened on this day, May 7, 2016, against San Diego Padres pitcher James Shields. With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Shields tossed a 1-1 fastball right over the meat of the plate.
Colon’s eyes widened as the ball came closer and swung for it, and to his credit, he launched it rather deep into the left-field stands. As he slowly trotted around the bases, the fans erupted and his teammates went wild.
This accomplishment would inset the 42-year-old into the record books as the oldest player ever to hit his first MLB home run. Before Colon, Randy Johnson had ownership of the record. He accomplished the feat 13 years earlier in 2003 while with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With the MLB still shut down because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, it’s fun to travel down memory lane for one of the feel-good stories of the last five years. Colon has been out of the game since 2018, though he continues to “stay in shape” and plans on playing in the Mexican League.