StaTuesday: At 44, Twins pitcher Bartolo Colon just keeps going
Somehow, Bartolo Colon keeps chugging along.
Seemingly fueled by the memes his 5-foot-11, 285-pound frame has inspired, the man they call "Big Sexy" has parlayed his masterful command and infinitely GIF-able performances into folk hero status.
He retired promising Los Angeles Dodgers youngster Cody Bellinger twice Monday night, 17 years after striking out the 22-year-old's father, former New York Yankees utility man Clay Bellinger.
The elder Bellinger, now 48, has two sons, Cody, who is in the midst of a stellar rookie season for the Dodgers, and Cole, who was drafted by the San Diego Padres earlier this year.
Colon, now 44, is still pitching.
He's one of just a handful of pitchers in major-league history to start past 44, and the first since 2012, when 49-year-old Jamie Moyer started 10 games for the Colorado Rockies.
Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Tommy John; it's quite the list.
*minimum 60 percent of games started
And while his tenure with the Twins will ultimately account for a small portion of his 20-year career, Colon is already the oldest starting pitcher in Minnesota Twins history by a comfortable margin.
He's one of just seven Twins hurlers to pitch into their 40s, and the first in more than a decade to make it that far. Colon still has a ways to go to catch Jesse Orosco, however, who finished off his 24-year major-league career in a brief stint with Minnesota at age 46.
Left-hander Terry Mulholland was the last Twins pitcher to pitch for the team in his 40s, spending two of his 20 major-league seasons with the Twins. Mulholland was used exclusively in relief in 2005, but 15 of his 39 appearances in 2004 were as a starter.
Mulholland rode off into the sunset at 43 years old.
Colon turned 43 last year, 10 years after Mulholland retired as a seventh-inning setup man for a listless Arizona Diamondbacks squad. Colon pitched in the All-Star Game in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.43 ERA.
Pitchers make up the bulk of the Twins' 40-plus list, but they've had a few super-veteran position players too.
Designated hitter Jim Thome is the most recent addition after joining the club in 2011, when he hit 12 home runs and drove in 40 runs in 71 games.
Manager Paul Molitor makes the list twice after playing his age-40 and age-41 seasons in Minnesota, and hitting .305 then .281 to close out his major-league career.
The record, however, goes to Minnesota native Dave Winfield, who returned to his hometown after his sixth Silver Slugger season.
Winfield spent two seasons with the Twins, turning 42 before closing out his Hall of Fame career with a brief stint in Cleveland.