Bartolo Colon is the oldest player in the MLB and has been enjoying every day of baseball for the last 21 years, his 45th birthday being no different.
The Rangers took it upon themselves to make Bartolo Colon’s 45th birthday special. So, they celebrated with a cake in the clubhouse, then proceeded to smash it into his face. For anybody who knows Bartolo, there is no doubt that he walked away with his signature smile.
Colon has all the reasons to celebrate this year. He is pitching at a high level and ready to make history. He currently leads baseball in fewest walks per 9 innings, is third in K/BB ratio, ahead of guys like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, and is top-10 in WHIP. Colon keeps chugging along, doing things that are capturing the envy of his younger colleagues.
Baseball pitchers are striking out more batters than ever, and hitters are looking to elevate the baseball more than ever. Colon doesn’t capitalize on these trends. He strikes out less than six batters per 9 innings, and is getting a career high 49.7 percent of contact against him to be ground balls. This has resulted in a .207 BABIP against him, demonstrating that pitchers don’t have to blow batters away, but can pitch to soft contact and still be effective.
Then, there is the usual Bartolo Colon feat that wows everybody. This year, it was taking a 102-mph line drive off of the gut and still making the play. In the past, there has been the behind the back throw to first, or his home run, dubbed “one of the great moments in the history of baseball” by Mets announcer Gary Cohen.
Now, we are witness to his pursuit of history. As he becomes just the second foreign-born pitcher to start a game at the age of 45, he looks to have the most wins for a MLB pitcher from Latin America. He currently sits three behind Dennis Martinez for the lead, and if he continues to pitch the way he has, he should be able to do so this year. Long live Big Sexy.