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Ask Sports: Is Bartolo Colon the oldest player in World Series history?

New York Mets relief pitcher Bartolo Colon fields a sacrifice bunt by Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the World Series.
New York Mets relief pitcher Bartolo Colon fields a sacrifice bunt by Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the World Series. Kansas City Star

At 42 years old, the Bartolo Colon is not exactly the youngest guy on the Mets’ roster.

New York’s Game 1 starter, Matt Harvey, had just turned 8 when Colon made his major-league debut on April 4, 1997 with Cleveland.

Born on May 24, 1973, Colon was older than every major-league player in 2015 except for one – Toronto’s LaTroy Hawkins (born Dec. 21, 1972), whom the Royals faced in the American League Championship Series.

But is Colon the oldest World Series participant?

Not quite.

At 45 and 46, Jack Quinn made appearances for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929 and 1930. Quinn, who pitched most of his career in the deadball era, continued to pitch until the 1933 season, making his final career start after turning 50.

But even in a more modern era, Colon is well short of longevity records.

Jamie Moyer pitched in the 2008 World Series for the Phillies, just short of age 46. Roger Clemens’ final World Series appearance came with the Astros in 2005 at 43.

Colon’s career is kind of amazing, though.

While he wasn’t on Cleveland’s World Series roster in 1997, he pitched on the team’s playoff squads in 1998, 1999 and 2001.

He was involved in one of the more lopsided in-season trades in 2002 as Cleveland sent him to the MLB-owned Montreal Expos for a package of prospects that included future Cy Young winner Cliff Lee and All-Stars Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore.

Free agency brought him to the Angels, where he won the 2005 Cy Young Award with 21 wins, before the embrace of advanced statistics would’ve made such a victory unlikely.

He bounced around from stops including the White Sox, Yankees, Red Sox and A’s before landing with the Mets for the last two seasons.

And, of course, he served a 50-game suspension for PEDs in 2012.

Because of his weight and comical appearances at the plate as a batter, Colon has become a walking baseball meme. But he’s also been a relatively reliable pitcher for the Mets.

And while he’s not the oldest pitcher in major-league history, he’s at the very top end of the bracket in terms of current team sports.

In addition to Hawkins, only two other players among baseball, basketball, football and hockey are older than Colon.

And you’ve probably heard of them:

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri will turn 43 in December. He played in Super Bowl XXXI following the 1996 season – five years before he hit game-winning field goals to give Patriots their first championship.

And the oldest?

Hockey’s Jaromir Jagr, who is 43 and will turn 44 this season while playing for the Florida Panthers.

Jagr, who has scored 728 goals in 21 NHL seasons, broke in with the Pittsburgh Penguins 25 years ago as an 18-year-old. He won titles with the Mario Lemieux-led Penguins before winning the 1999 Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP.

He’d be higher than fifth on the NHL’s career goal-scoring list if he hadn’t left the league for nearly four years to play at home in Europe.

Jagr will be a no-doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famer as soon as he retires from the sport. Colon? Not so much.

But with Tim Hudson’s announced retirement, Colon did become baseball’s active wins leader with 218 – just 293 short of Cy Young’s record 511.

Reach Joshua Wood at 316-268-6413 or jwood@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @joshwood.

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