Bartolo Colon’s tenure with the Mets is over, but he has left an indelible mark on his teammates, the organization, and its fan base. No matter what was going on with the team, there was Bartolo, a dependable, steady presence bringing his own sense of joy for the game.
Like the rest of us, Noah Syndergaard was understandably upset when the news broke that Big Sexy was no longer a Met.
The two polar opposite pitchers have become quite close the past two seasons, and Syndergaard even went so far as to buy his whole family Big Sexy t-shirts for Christmas last year.
In fact, all of the Mets’ young crop of pitchers spoke highly of Colon, and the feeling was mutual from the veteran. Like a proud father, he guided and mentored them, which could be invaluable as it is up to them now to move the organization forward.
It wasn’t just the starters he left his mark on. The relievers in the bullpen also relied on learning from Colon’s years of experience, and one person in particular was Jeurys Familia.
Colon left his mark off the field, but his exploits on the field were just as memorable to the fans.
Colon signed with a team in transition in 2014. While Jacob deGrom came up and started turning heads, Colon proved he could still compete with those years younger than him. On July 23, 2014, Colon retired the first 20 Mariners he faced in a spectacular outing.
When he signed with the Mets, that was the first time he was with an NL team and his at-bats were always an adventure in his first year.
Bartolo worked hard on his offense and when he re-signed for 2016, his contract included a bonus if he won a Silver Slugger award. After hitting a mythic home run in spring training, myth became reality on one glorious night in San Diego. On May 7, 2016, Colon launched the first home run of his career, much to the delight of fans everywhere.
In 2015, the Mets pitchers were spectacular, but Colon was not lost behind the flamethrowers. Despite having Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey ready to go at the beginning of the season, Terry Collins gave the Opening Day honor to Bartolo Colon. He went up against Max Scherzer and won to spoil Scherzer’s Washington debut.
Colon set a milestone toward the end of the season, when he had a scoreless streak of 28 straight innings.
With Colon’s help, the Mets made the postseason in 2015 for the first time since 2006. He was relegated to the bullpen without complaint, and the ground ball he induced in Game 2 of the NLDS aside, he was outstanding.
He was dominant in Game 3 of the NLDS in a Mets win.
Despite Steven Matz getting the start in the NLCS clincher against the Cubs, it was Bartolo Colon who picked up the victory to send the Mets to the World Series.
In 2016, Colon was an All-Star and was on the mound when the Mets clinched a playoff spot against the Phillies on October 1.
Colon’s prowess on the mound was not just about pitching. His defense was one of his strengths, and despite not getting a Gold Glove nomination he was definitely in the running for one this past season.
There was this amazing catch against the Phillies:
And this solid play against the Yankees:
Colon had a way of being what the team needed at just the right time.
The atmosphere was tense down the stretch in 2015. The Mets were in a dogfight for the division with the Nationals and playing a division rival in the Marlins, and then Matt Harvey’s innings-limit fiasco surfaced. The Captain appeared displeased with Harvey when the Mets were in Miami, but the mood all changed when Bartolo took to the mound. There were only smiles in the dugout when Colon flipped a ball behind his back to get an out to end the inning.
A little over one year later, the Mets were again in Miami when the Marlins, and the baseball world, were reeling from the tragic death of Jose Fernandez. Colon was the starter the night the Marlins were honoring their fallen teammate. This was not Colon’s best night on the mound, but it hardly mattered because some moments transcend the game, and this was one of them.
After that emotional game, the next day Colon added a little levity to the situation when he went out to shag balls in the outfield.
Bartolo Colon was truly one of a kind, and there are more highlights and memories out there than can be captured in one article. Despite his stature he seamlessly fit in with his teammates,
Had a style all his own,
Had a joy for the game,
Inspired gifs everywhere,
And will never be forgotten by Met fans. Thanks for the all memories Bartolo!