Earlier on Wednesday, the Yankees signed Bartolo Colon to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Minor league contracts are virtually risk-free, and there's no guarantee that Colon will break camp with the roster, but given that he'll be competing for a rotation spot with Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre, seeing him back in the bigs is a distinct possibility.
So with that in mind, I think it's worth helping Yankees fans to get to know Colon a little better. Most casual fans will be aware that Colon used to be a solid workhorse who even won a Cy Young in 2005. Most casual fans will also be aware that Colon is a big fat guy who might be the most visually unappealing player in baseball.
But there's still a lot more to the package, so let's all Get To Know Bartolo.
- Bartolo Colon was one of the last major acquisitions by the Montreal Expos, who got him in June 2002 while eying a playoff run. On the day of the trade, the Expos were 41-36 and five games out of the Wild Card. They went 42-43 the rest of the way. After giving up Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore to bring Colon in, the Expos dealt him to the White Sox in January. The best player they got back was a 37-year-old Orlando Hernandez, who subsequently missed the next year and a half after undergoing shoulder surgery.
- Bartolo Colon does not have a middle name.
- Bartolo Colon did not play Major League Baseball or minor league baseball in 2010, which gives him something in common with several Hall of Famers.
- Bartolo Colon ranks 233rd all-time in wins, four behind popular Yankee CC Sabathia and one ahead of more popular Yankee Javier Vazquez.
- Bartolo Colon ranks 140th all-time in strikeouts, 11 behind impossibly popular Yankee A.J. Burnett.
- Bartolo Colon pitched for the Expos, and Hideki Irabu also pitched for the Expos.
- In 2007, Bartolo Colon was tied for having the fifth-highest salary in the American League, at $16 million. Ahead of him: Yankee Jason Giambi, Yankee Alex Rodriguez, Yankee Derek Jeter, and
Manny Ramirez. Tied with him: Yankee Andy Pettitte.
- Bartolo Colon is the only player in history to throw a no-hitter at AAA Buffalo's Dunn Tire Park. In 2001, Brett Tomko threw a no-hitter for AAA Tacoma and four days later teammate John Halama threw a perfect game, so it's not like these feats can be achieved by just anyone.
- On June 26th, 1998, Bartolo Colon needed 20 pitches to strike out Ricky Gutierrez, who is a player whose name you just remembered. The at bat began with two swinging strikes.
- Bartolo Colon has a son named Bartolo Colon, who is not to be confused with Bartolo Colon.
I hope that's able to clear some things up. Now let's all wish the best for our new friend as he tries to pitch his way back to the big time. Bartolo Colon may not be what he used to be, but as the best Bartolo in the history of baseball, it'd be a shame to see him hit the wall now with such an opportunity ahead.