In doing so, Big Bart has not only defied age, but the tenets of fitness that suggest a player of his bulk doesn’t play into his late 30s, let alone his 40s. The 5-foot-11, 285-pound righthander has averaged 16 wins and 196 innings a year over the last three seasons; pitching for the Mets in 2015, he finished 14-13 with a 4.16 ERA and an NLCS victory over the Cubs.
Colon will be in the Mets rotation for a third-straight season in 2016, keeping his run as the last Expo standing alive for another year.
Two years ago, Al Yellon, writing for SB Nation’s Bleed Cubbie Blue, assembled a list of the 10 former Expos still in the big leagues. Remarkably, Colon was the oldest guy on the list and has survived them all. Here is Yellon’s list from April 2013, with the former Expo’s age and his team at the time:
Bartolo Colon, 40, A’s
Jamey Carroll, 39, Twins
Ted Lilly, 37, Dodgers
Scott Downs, 37, Angels
Luis Ayala, 35, Braves
Endy Chavez, 35, Mariners
Bruce Chen, 35, Royals
Jon Rauch, 34, Marlins
Maicer Izturis, 32, Blue Jays
Brendan Harris, 32, Angels
Colon became the last Expo standing when Maicer Izturis officially retired a few days. Izturis was a 23-year-old rookie with the Expos in 2004, the franchise’s last year in Montreal.
Believe it or not, Colon wasn’t on that final Expos roster. By then, he had been dealt to the White Sox and later signed as a free agent by the Angels. Big Bart had been with the Expos two years earlier in 2002, a season which he split between Cleveland and Montreal and won 20 games at age 29. Fourteen years later he's still pitching.
Interestingly, Yellon’s 2013 article highlighted the other final survivors from moved franchises during the modern era. And who would have stayed in the majors the longest after one of his former teams changed locations?
That would be longtime Twin Jim Kaat, who pitched for the original Washington Senators in 1959 and 1960, the franchise’s final two years in the nation’s capital. Kaat won his first and only World Series ring with the Cardinals in 1982 before retiring a year later—23 years after the franchise shift to Minnesota.