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“Big Sexy” Takes One in the “Big Belly:” Bartolo Colón is Everyman

After taking line drive off the belly, we’re reminded that Bartolo Colón is perhaps the most relatable MLB pitcher playing today.

How do you not love Bartolo Colón? To me, as an academic, he is everyman’s Everyman.

Huh? The idea of Everyman originated as a symbol in The Summoning of Everyman, a 15th century English morality play. These old morality plays presented direct lessons about how one should live. Today, the term everyman means an ordinary person an audience identifies with who faces overwhelming odds but wins. We often see these movies – like Liam Neeson’s Taken and Bruce Willis’ Die Hard.

Bartolo Colón is major league baseball’s everyman. How else can you describe a 44-year-old who, in one season, almost throws a no-hitter, outruns a speedster (Dee Gordon) 20 years his junior, and who took a 102-mph line-drive off his belly – and didn’t blink.

In his skinny youth, Bartolo Colón was a great pitcher. But his career renaissance is the stuff of legends. Just last week, he gave his Texas Rangers eight innings of masterful pitching as they beat the Mariners. While younger pitchers struggle, Bartolo Colón dazzles. His “fastballs” hit spots. In a word, he was “on.”

Even if he is not “on,” he always entertains. He jumps; he runs; he smiles. Nothing fazes him. As Colón said about the line-drive: “I have a lot of big belly, so I can take it.”

Who is Bartolo Colón? For die-hard [not a Bruce Willis pun] baseball fans, Colón throws four pitches. Early in his career, Colón’s four-seam fastball hit 100 mph. Currently, Colón’s four-seamer hits 90 mph, but he also throws a two-seamer at 86 mph. He throws this combination of two pitches nearly 90% of the time. He throws a change up and a slider – but mostly to left-hand batters. Today, as a control pitcher, he pitchs to specific locations. He walks few, but gives up lots of hits because he throws strikes.

Here are 20 Facts about his career:

1) He is the oldest player in the majors, born in 1973 in the Dominican Republic.

2) His nickname is “Big Sexy.”

3) He has won a game pitching for eleven different MLB teams, including his current Texas Rangers. [Other teams include the Indians, Expos, White Sox, Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, A’s, Mets, Braves, and Twins.]

4) He has been named to four MLB All Star games [His first was in 1998 with the Indians, and 18 years later in 2016 with the Mets.]

5) During the 2016 season, at age 42 years and 349 days, Colón became the oldest MLB player to hit his first career home run.

6) At age 44 this season, Colón is the oldest active MLB player. He is the last major leaguer who played for the Montreal Expos.

7) In 1998, he set the modern-day record for throwing the most pitches (20) during a single at bat. Batter Ricky Gutierrez finally struck out.

Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA

8) During the 2005 season, he went 21–8 with a 3.48 ERA and won the Cy Young Award.

9) In 2005, Colón threw 38 consecutive strikes, the most since 1988, against the Angels.

10) On August 8, 2014, Colón recorded his 200th win. He is the third Dominican pitcher to do so (Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez were the others).

11) On Opening Day in 2015, Colón became the 3rd Opening Day pitcher over 40 years old to strike out 8 batters (Cy Young and Nolan Ryan were the others).

12) On April 23, 2015, Colón becoming the first pitcher aged 40 years or older to win his first four season’s starts in 80 years.

13) Colón is the first pitcher to record wins against one team (the Baltimore Orioles) pitching for seven different clubs.

14) On June 9, 2015, Colón set a Mets franchise record of most consecutive decisions as a starting pitcher (26 decisions in 26 consecutive starts). [Dwight Gooden held the old record.]

15) On September 5, 2015, the Marlins’ Justin Bour hit a chopper down the first-base line. Video of Colón’s behind-the-back flip to first for the out went viral – technology not present when Colón first pitched.

16) On October 27, 2015, Colón took the loss in World Series Game 1, becoming the oldest pitcher to lose a World Series game.

17) On August 15, 2015, Colón set an MLB record by drawing a walk after having not walking in 281 plate appearances.

via Terry Foote wiki media commons

18) On October 1, 2015, Colón became the 47th pitcher all-time to make 500 career st arts.

19) In August, 2017, against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colón became the 18th pitcher to record a win against all 30 MLB teams,

20) In 2017, Colón threw a complete game against the Rangers; at age 44, he was the oldest American League pitcher to record a 9-inning complete game win since a 45-year old Nolan Ryan did it in 1992.

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