by Rob Joyce
To paraphrase Mets’ play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen (who was repeating a Vin Scully call from Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series homer), the impossible happened. The impossible being, of course, the 365-foot home run Bartolo Colon hit over the weekend in San Diego. It was the first round-tripper in the 42-year-old’s career, and he was perhaps the least-likely player in the majors to belt one out. The Mets’ dugout went wild, and to boot he was the winning pitcher.
Three weeks shy of his 43rd birthday, Colon is the oldest player ever to hit his first home run, and the fifth-oldest pitcher to homer. However, he’s got a ways to go before he becomes the oldest player period to hit a long-ball.
1) Julio Franco (48 years, 254 days old):
There have only been 25 home runs hit by players aged 45 or over, and Franco has hit 20 of them. Most of them came during his time with the Braves, but the final three came with the Mets during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. He’s also the oldest player ever to hit a grand slam (at 46 years, 308 days old) and the oldest to have a multi-homer game (46 years, 299 days). He’s the true ageless wonder in baseball history.
2) Jack Quinn (46 years, 357 days):
A pitcher for 23 years with eight organizations from 1909-1933, Quinn was a lifetime .184 hitter with eight homers over the course of his career. His final home run came with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1930 just before his 47th birthday. He played his final game in July 1933, six days after his 50th birthday.
3) Cap Anson (45 years, 159 days):
The Hall of Famer played in the dead ball era, from 1871 until 1897, in those 27 years amassing just 97 home runs. However, his final two came in the same game on October 3 for the Cubs against Willie Sudhoff of the Cardinals.
4) Carlton Fisk (45 years, 102 days):
By the time 1993 had come around, Fisk had amassed over 2200 games catching. In the second game of the season he hit his 376th and final home run with the White Sox. The next month he broke Bob Boone’s record for all-time games caught, and was released shortly thereafter.
5) Carl Yastrzemski (44 years, 19 days):
Yaz played in 3308 games, all with the Red Sox, during his 23-year career. Of his 452 home runs, his final one came on September 10, 1983, as he took Rick Sutcliffe deep a few weeks after his 44th birthday.