By Robert Dominguez
If Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere” wasn’t Bartolo Colon’s entrance music, it should’ve been. On This Day in Béisbol, April 28, 2018, the portly pitcher with a rubber arm and a body built for beer pong tied a rare record when he became the fourth hurler in history to notch a win for 11 different teams.
The Altamira, Dominican Republic, native was 45 years old and in his 21st Major League season when he took the mound for the Texas Rangers in Toronto against the Blue Jays. Colon pitched a solid seven innings, giving up three runs for his first win of the year.
The victory meant Colon, a fan favorite affectionately known as “Big Sexy” for, well, obvious reasons, now shared the record with three of baseball’s all-time journeymen: LaTroy Hawkins, Mike Morgan and Ron Villone.
It also put Colon on the road to a major milestone that season, which would be his last. In August, “Big Sexy” passed “El Presidente” — Nicaragua-born right hander Dennis Martinez — to become the winningest Latin American pitcher in baseball history. Colon retired with a 247-188 record.
Colon — who debuted in 1997 at age 23 with the powerhouse Cleveland Indians of the late ‘90s and quickly became the staff ace — played for the Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox (twice), Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Athletics, Mets, Braves, Twins and Rangers.
He won the AL Cy Young in 2005 as an Angel with a 21-8 record and was a four-time all-star. But one of Colon’s fondest baseball memories came at the plate in 2016, when he slugged his one and only career home run during his stint with the Mets.
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo source: Derral Chen — Under Creative Commons License