- Marly Rivera is a writer for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.
Even though Bartolo Colón hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since September 2018, the 46-year-old is not thinking about retirement.
Colón hopes to pitch one more big league season, and, given the choice, it would be with the New York Mets.
“I thought that last year maybe I would have the opportunity,” Colón said on a video call with ESPN. “I know that if it didn’t happen last year, this year would be less likely. I’m getting older and the game is all about the young pitchers coming up. When you get older, teams no longer need your services,” Colón said on a video call with ESPN.
Colón, who pitched for 21 seasons and won 247 games, said his time with the Mets from 2014 to ’16 held some of his fondest memories. He highlighted the clubhouse environment and the Mets’ young pitching staff, particularly Noah Syndergaard, who anointed him “Big Sexy,” which became the title of his recently released autobiography.
“That Mets team was really something special,” he said. “I’ve played with 10 teams, but with the Mets, the way all those players treated me, how that entire franchise treated me, from the front office to the kitchen staff, it was amazing. And Mets fans are the best. In the beginning, when they laughed at me every time my helmet fell off, at first I felt uncomfortable. But when I saw how much the fans enjoyed it, I asked for a bigger batting helmet so that it would fall more because it was so much fun for them!”
He added: “If it was up to me, I would retire with the Mets. I would like my career to end in New York.”
In his book, “Big Sexy: In His Own Words,” Colón also addressed his 2012 suspension for doping and the embarrassment of having to admit it to his family.
“The most difficult thing for me was that Sunday when I got the call that I tested positive. But it was even harder to tell my dad what happened. I went on to appeal the suspension and spent the next month and a half with tightness in my chest,” Colón explained. “The day my suspension was about to be announced, I called my dad. As I told him that I had tested positive, I started crying.”
Colón called his 2010 suspension the “most difficult” moment of his career and thanked the Yankees for giving him the opportunity to return to baseball the next year. Colón, who turns 47 next week, went on to play another six seasons, eventually surpassing Nicaraguan Dennis Martinez (245) as the winningest Latino pitcher of all time.
“Signing with the Yankees was something special because they were the ones that brought me back, thanks to Tony Peña. They were the ones who gave me a chance,” he said. “When manager Joe Girardi called me into his office and said, ‘We have a role for you, but it would be as reliever,’ I told Tony to tell him that I would accept whatever role they had for me, and Girardi said to go home and think about it overnight. And I said I did not have to think about it at all; all I wanted was to be in the major leagues, even as a bat boy.”
And for Colón, that feeling remains.
“If I had the opportunity, I would play in any league; go anywhere,” he said. “If any major league team wants an old man, I’m available!”
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