For those of you keeping score at home, the Bartolo Colón era has finally come to a close in Major League Baseball.
The venerable right-hander retired after a stellar 21-year career in 2018, during which he racked up four All-Star Game appearances, a Cy Young Award, nearly 250 career wins and over 2,000 strikeouts.
The stat that stands out the most today is the “loneliest number” on his impressive resume, however: one, as in the number of home runs he hit over the course of his illustrious career.
On May 7, 2020, Colón had the entire Mets broadcast team in awe as he belted a career-first home run at San Diego’s Petco Park that still has people talking to this day.
“I want to say that was one of the longest home run trots I’ve ever seen, but I think that’s how fast he runs,” announcer Ron Darling can be heard saying:
Colón’s glacially slow home run trot
Conjuring up images of a modern day Babe Ruth, the 5-foot-10, 285-pound Colón’s home run drew hundreds of comments on ESPN’s Facebook page of fans reminiscing about his shot to left field during a regular season game against the Padres.
It was his first career home run, and one of the slowest home run trots on record, in accordance with Darling’s statement.
It took Colón 30.5 seconds to round the bases in total, after which an emptied Mets dugout awaited.
“In the tunnel, we were laughing, talking it, just waiting,” said Mets outfielder Michael Conforto, who said Mets infielder Neil Walker was most likely the player who convinced the team to pull a prank on the Dominican Republic born pitcher.
“In the tunnel, we were laughing, talking about it, just waiting. We were definitely like, “Where is he, what’s taking him so long?” Conforto added according to an oral history of the event fro m USA Today.
The shot to left field occurred during his 226th career at-bat, giving the Mets a 4-0 lead.
It was only a regular season game, but Colón’s shining moment had the whole team ready to celebrate like as if they had just won the seventh game of the World Series.
“If we had champagne, we would have uncorked a bottle and sprayed each other. Everybody was in a frenzy,” Mets hitting coach Kevin Long said about the unforgettable moment.
Top 5 Slowest Home Run Trots in History
According to MLB.com, Rhys Hoskins holds the league record for slowest home run troy on record, when it took him 34.2 seconds to round the bases against the Mets in April 2019.
Following him are:
2. Victor Martinez: 34.1 seconds — 9/22/16, DET @ MIN
3. Victor Martinez: 33.9 seconds — 5/6/15, DET @ CWS
4. Nelson Cruz: 33.4 seconds – 7/7/17, OAK @ SEA
5. Miguel Montero: 33.2 seconds — 9/16/16, CHC vs. MIL
Colón’s career not over yet at age 46
In February 2020, Colón announced he was making a comeback, signing a deal with the Monclova Acereros of the Mexican Baseball League.
“Bartolo Colón would be an important piece of the pitching staff of the current champions, becoming one of the bigger signings in our baseball history,” the team said in a press release on Friday. “The ‘Big Sexy (Colón’s nickname)’ show would be something the Monclova fans will enjoy.”
The fan favorite hasn’t had an ERA below 5.78 since 2016 so chances of a return to the big leagues is slim at best.
But the memories of his incredible first-ever home run, and scenes childlike wonder that followed, won’t be forgotten any time soon.
“I was eager for the game to finish so I could call my Dad and tell him. After I was done pitching, I called him from the dugout during the last innings of the game,” Colón wrote in his new book ‘Big Sexy: In My Own Words, which was expected to be released on May 12 and chronicles his ascent from picking coffee in the Dominican Republic to his position as one of Major League Baseball’s most colorful and well known figures.
“I swear, my Dad was somehow more excited than I was, which also made me very happy. He said he expected it; he knew that one day I would hit a home run.”
Photo via Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports