SAN DIEGO -- The reactions in the visiting dugout said it all. Jacob deGrom broke into the largest of grins. Neil Walker raced up the steps. Eventually, they all did, giving Colon the silent treatment for a moment before transforming the dugout into their personal mosh pit.There is nothing, it
SAN DIEGO -- The reactions in the visiting dugout said it all. Jacob deGrom broke into the largest of grins. Neil Walker raced up the steps. Eventually, they all did, giving Colon the silent treatment for a moment before transforming the dugout into their personal mosh pit.
There is nothing, it turns out, that Bartolo Colon can't do.
The 42-year-old Colon launched the first home run of his 19-year career on Saturday, taking Padres pitcher James Shields deep for a two-run shot in the second inning of a 6-3 win at Petco Park. It was Colon's first hit of the season, and just the third extra-base hit of his professional career. And it made him the oldest player in Major League history to hit his first career homer, surpassing Randy Johnson.
"It means a lot," Colon said through an interpreter. "It's something that I still can't believe until now."
Baseball's century-plus history had never seen anything quite like this. Facing Shields with a man on base and two outs in the second, Colon threw his considerable hulk -- he weighs in officially at 5-foot-11 and 285 pounds, which may be a flattering listing -- behind a 1-1 fastball. Turning on it, Colon launched the ball on a 97-mph arc, according to Statcast™, depositing it over the fence 365 feet away. Then he casually rounded the bases in a cool 30.6 seconds, giving the Mets a 4-0 lead.
"You're just so happy for him," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's such a pro. He's such a good guy. The time he's been here, he's such a leader for everybody. We all know he's an entertaining guy at home plate, so to have him ambush something like that and hit a homer, it's pretty special."
In homering, Colon became the fifth-oldest pitcher to go deep in a big league game. He also became the second-oldest Met to homer, sandwiching himself between Julio Franco (who homered at age 48) and Willie Mays on that list. And all of it from a longtime American Leaguer who came into the night a career .089 hitter, known more for his bat-flying, helmet-flailing antics at the plate than any sort of home run pop.
But Colon has worked diligently over the past two seasons on his batting, logging a career-high eight hits last season. Teammates and coaches rave about Colon's athleticism despite the bulk on his frame.
Friday nights during the offseason, Colon says, he regularly participates in a casual softball game in Bonao, Dominican Republic, about an hour's drive from his hometown. There, he mashes homers on a regular basis.
He knows that will never be the case in the big leagues, joking quipping, "no chance" when asked if Barry Bonds' career home-run record is next on his bucket list. So the night was not lost on Colon, who called it "probably the biggest moment of my career."
"I really don't know what to say," Padres manager Andy Green said. "Some things leave you speechless."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.