Big Sexy's day in the sun: Colon retires as a Met

'I felt really comfortable here,' says fan-favorite RHP during pregame ceremony

September 17th, 2023

NEW YORK -- hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since 2018, when he was with the Rangers. Five years later, Colon, 50, officially announced his retirement as a member of the Mets before Sunday's finale against the Reds at Citi Field.

Colon, who holds the record for most victories by a Dominican pitcher with 247, had greater success with Cleveland and the Angels, but he wanted to end his career as a Met. He said the fans in New York made him feel at home.

“I’m grateful for the Cleveland organization, because they are the ones that gave me the opportunity and the start of my career,” Colon said through interpreter Alan Suriel. “If it was up to my parents and the rest of my family, they probably wanted me to retire in Cleveland. [The New York fan base] accepted and supported me the most. That’s why I felt really comfortable here.”

While with the Mets, Colon was known as "Big Sexy," a nickname given to him by teammate Noah Syndergaard. At first, Colon thought the moniker was calling him fat, but Syndergaard assured him that was not the case.

“Syndergaard said that is a good thing. So, yeah, the nickname stuck, and I ended up liking it,” Colon said.

Colon pitched with the Mets from 2014-16, going 44-34 with a 3.90 ERA in 98 games (95 starts). He helped guide the Mets to the World Series in 2015, but is best remembered for two memorable moments: The first one came in ‘15 against the Marlins, when he performed a behind-the-back flip to retire Justin Bour at first base.

The second one was belting his first Major League home run, a bomb over the left-field wall on May 7, 2016, in San Diego off right-hander James Shields. Colon became the oldest player (42 years, 349 days) to hit his first Major League home run.

When he was with the Mets, Colon was not the pitcher who threw 95 to 100 mph in his prime. He was more of a finesse pitcher who was lucky to reach 90 mph. He credits Greg Maddux for advising him how to be a finesse pitcher.

“He told me I should be throwing two-seamers more often. At the time, I didn’t like throwing two-seamers,” Colon said. "… As I grew as a pitcher, I started to implement the command over the velocity. That’s what helped me when I was [with the Mets].”

Despite losing his fastball velocity, Colon had great command of all of his pitches -- changeup, slider and the fastball -- according to former Mets manager Terry Collins, who was part of Colon's retirement ceremony press conference.

“He could go through a lineup three times with one pitch and have four different [angles], because he sunk it here and he sunk it there and he sunk it down there. Nothing was ever in the middle of the plate,” Collins said. "For me, what he did in the clubhouse was show all of the other pitchers you don’t have to throw 100 to be successful. It’s command your fastball, and that was the art that he did.”