How old does that headline make you feel? It seems like just yesterday you were listening to Sugar Ray on your Walkman. But it’s now official: The 90s were a long time ago.
Bartolo Colon has become the poster child of MLB dinosaurs left from this decade. He is the last active ex-Expo, recently became the oldest player to hit his first career home run and drew the first walk of his career a few nights ago. And now that Alex Rodriguez is no longer playing, Colon is the longest-tenured player in the majors: His April 1997 debut is farther back than any other player currently in the bigs.
In fact, the number of MLB players left from the 90s can now be counted on your fingers– and by next year, you’ll be able to count them on one hand. The only players left in the majors who played in the 90’s are Colon, David Ortiz (1997), Adrian Beltre (1998), A.J. Pierzynski (1998) and Carlos Beltran (1998) and Joe Nathan (1999). That’s six players left from the 90s.
After this season, Ortiz said he will retire. Pierzynski is batting .218/.237.305, so it’s hard to envision him playing much longer. Nathan turns 42 in November, and recently came off of Tommy John surgery, so count him in that boat as well. Beltran and Colon have said they will likely play no longer than 2017. Beltre is signed with the Rangers through 2018, so it seems as though he will be the last man standing from the 90s in baseball. But given Colon’s ageless status, maybe he’ll pull a Jamie Moyer and play another ten years.
The last MLB player who played in the 80s was Omar Vizquel, who retired in 2012. The last players from the 70s were Rickey Henderson and Jesse Orosco, who each retired in 2003. Nolan Ryan was the last player from the 60s to retire when he did so in 1993. Willie McCovey was the last from the 50s when he played his last game in 1980.