At 47, Bartolo Colon is lobbying hard for a chance to exceed his countryman Juan Marichal’s innings pitched record. Alas, he probably picked the wrong year.
Bartolo Colon has won 76 major league games after reaching the age of 40. That alone is a feat few if any have achieved. But there’s one thing nagging at his craw.
“This year (2018) is almost getting close to the end. But there is one thing that I will look for, is Juan Marichal has more innings than me,” Colon said through an interpreter. “For the Dominicans, I want to beat him also.” ESPN)
Bartolo Colon is like the cat with supposedly nine lives. He’s here, and then he’s gone, only to re-emerge self-transformed with a new life and career when everyone presumed him dead.
And the most amazing thing is he always reappears with a new-found way to get major league hitters out.
Bartolo Colon needs 45.8 innings to exceed the 3,507 innings Hall of Famer Juan Marichal tossed over a sixteen-year career, mostly with the Giants.
Marichal’s name thrust into Colon’s conversation is not meant to be an attempt to compare himself to Marichal in any way – except this one.
After all, in Juan Marichal, we are talking about a pitcher who’s career stats include the ungodly one showing he completed more than half his starts (244 of 471).
Bartolo Colon – One Man Traveling Band
Here’s the problem, though, with Colon’s quest for what amounts to a mere nine more starts in a big-league uniform (five innings per start figured in).
Bartolo Colon is a one-person traveling band, best seen in person, not on television.
The mere sight of Colon on a pitcher’s mound is made for days of Bill Veeck, the ringmaster owner who once thought nothing of sending a midget up to the plate for “the entertainment of fans” who paid money to come to his ballpark.
Put Bartolo Calon in a New York Mets uniform, as an example, nine times at Citi Field, and they couldn’t print tickets fast enough with fans wanting to enjoy the spectacle, primarily as he draws nearer to the record with the “excitement” of the New York media hoopla.
Bartolo Colon: Timing Is Everything
The trouble, of course, is that in a COVID-19 seized season, there will not be fans in the stands. At least for now, and most likely through the “regular season” in whatever form it emerges.
Still, the voice in the wind insists: “I’m not retired. That’s not in my mind,” Colon told the Associated Press on Monday. “I’m still hoping of reaching my goal of pitching 46 innings. I’ll sign with the first team who wants me.”
Colon did not work at all during the 2019 season. The phone call never came.
Today, he has his appeal out there to any team willing to give him that one chance to cement an already established career – amid a previously disjointed major league season.
Still, after Danny Duffy and Brad Keller, what do the Kansas City Royals have to send out there the next three days? Ditto the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League with Joe Musgrove, Chris Archer, Mitch Keller – and two days of rain.
Both teams, alongside others easy to find, can do worse than signing Bartolo Colon, at least for a look-see. He’s not looking to cash in, only for a chance. Fill him up with incentives if you want to, he’ll take that too as another challenge. But feed Colon the minimum, he’ll take that as well.
What If Bartolo Colon Can Still Pitch?
This is not rocket science. On the one hand, teams are holding only a wish and a prayer; they won’t be embarrassed when they send promoted Double-A kids out there to make eight or nine starts.
On the proverbial other hand sits Bartolo Colon with 552 starts, and 247 wins under the full girth of his belt.
Bartolo Colon, like any professional athlete (unless your name is Michael Jordan, who thought he could be a major league ballplayer) deserves nothing in the way of “fairness”, or an edge in seeking employment.
But the cerebral side of a team’s front offices should at least be asking the question – “Do we have a man who is ultra-motivated and can help us in a shortened 2020 season – and shouldn’t we take another look at Bartolo Colon.”
Bartolo Colon is a baseball treasure, and for that reason alone we fans of baseball hope there is a taker.