Bartolo Colon‘s impending start tomorrow night will mark several significant milestones for “Big Sexy.” It will be his first start in a Braves uniform, his first start against his old team since signing with the Braves in the offseason and it will also mark exactly 20 years and one day since he made his big-league debut.
Back in 1997, Colon was a skinny, 23-year-old flamethrower, and one of the Indians’ top prospects. Clearly a lot has changed since then; Major League Baseball is an entirely different league now than it was in 1997. At that time, a lot of Cubs and Red Sox fans probably never thought they’d live to see their team win a World Series.
Colon has seen it all, and that means he’s gotten a chance to play with some pretty impressive people over those 20 years. In fact, some of the guys are so old that you probably weren’t even alive to see them play. Like, did you know he was teammates with Harold Baines? Baines made his debut in 1980. Willie McCovey was still playing when Harold Baines made his debut. Bartolo Colon played with Baines. And Bartolo Colon is still playing now.
Here 13 old school players that Colon was teammates with, most of which come from his time with the Indians in the 90s. This list even includes two 1986 Mets:
Hershiser played so long ago that he actually threw 15 complete games in one season. 15. No team even had more than ten complete games last season.
Anyways, Hershiser was teammates with Colon on the 1997 Indians, long after his dominant Dodger days in the 80s.
The 1986 Met and 1989 NL MVP was in the starting lineup for Bartolo’s MLB debut. He went 0-for-4 as DH, and was gone from the team before the end of May.
The former Nats manager played one season with the Indians in 1997, between his more memorable stints with the Giants and Diamondbacks. Williams hit 32 home runs and 105 RBIs, and was a pivotal part of that pennant-winning team.
The former Expos and Braves star played with Colon on the Indians in 1997.
Fernandez made his big-league debut in 1983 and was one of the most prolific shortstops in the AL in the 1980s while with the Blue Jays. That was a long time ago. He was also teammates with Colon in 1997. Then again, that was a long time ago too.
Most younger fans only know him as Prince’s dad, but Cecil was one of the best power hitters of his day. He averaged 37 home runs and 114 RBIs per season from 1990-1996. Colon crossed paths with Fielder in his 14-game stint with Cleveland in 1998, his last in the majors.
Colon never played with Prince, but Fielder the Younger was 4-for-7 lifetime against Bart.
You obviously remember Gooden on the Mets if you’re a MetsMerized reader. You probably even remember him on the Yankees, too. But do you remember him on the Indians?
During the final and least memorable act of Gooden’s career, he played with the Indians, Astros and Devil Rays in addition to a second stint with the Yankees from 1998-2000. Doc actually pitched pretty well in 1998 for The Tribe, in what proved to be his last effective season in the majors. He went 8-6 with a 3.76 ERA and 127 ERA+ in 23 starts. It was hard to believe he was just 33 that season.
Gooden struggled for the Indians in 1999. He pitched one game for the Astros the following year, where he allowed four runs in four innings. This was followed by eight starts with the Devil Rays where he had a 6.63 ERA. The Yankees then bought him back, and he actually fared well: He went 4-2 with a 3.36 ERA in a spot-starter bullpen role.
On a side note, it’s pretty crazy that Bartolo Colon shared a rotation with Doc Gooden and Noah Syndergaard— mending generations of legendary Mets pitchers.
Baines’ career spanned from 1980-2001, covering three decades and two millenia. He was the offensive Bartolo Colon of his day, so a similar list could have probably been made for him back in 2001.
Baines was a late-August acquisition of the Indians in 1999. He only played 28 games there, but set a big-league record during this short stint: He had the most seasons in between 100 RBI campaigns. His last 100 RBI season before that came in 1985. That would be like someone who hadn’t had 100 RBIs since 2003 doing that this year. Jay Gibbons, maybe?
Galarraga started his big-league career way back in 1985 with the Expos. And Bartolo Colon actually played with him twice: In 2002 with the Expos (Colon is the last remaining former Expo, by the way) and in 2004 with the Angels. Galarraga actually called it quits in 2005 with the Mets, he retired in Spring Training just one home run shy of 400.
Finley is best remembered for his 14-year stint with the Angels from 1986-1999. At the end of his career, however, Finley spent three seasons in Cleveland, and was actually an All-Star there in 2000.
Burks was a solid player for the Red Sox in the late-80s and early-90s, before a move to Coors Field with the expansion Rockies allowed him to put up Mays-esque numbers in 1996: A .344/.408/.639 slash with 40 home runs and 32 steals. That’s pretty good.
He was teammates with Colon during his three-year stint in #TheLand from 2001-2003. Burks retired after the 2004 season.
AKA the most random player to have a 50-homer season in baseball history. Hank Aaron never hit 50 home runs in a season, but Brady Anderson did. Life is so unfair.
Anderson played 1,759 of his 1,834 big-league games with the Orioles: The two exceptions being his first 41 games (In 1988 with the Red Sox) and his last 34 games (In 2002 with the Indians, where he played with Colon.)