MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that the universal designated hitter rule will be in place for the 2022 season (if it’s ever played).
For decades, the American League used a DH, while the National League had pitchers hit in the lineup, like every other position player.
But now, both leagues will use the same rule.
The universal DH will end up being a beneficial rule: pitchers are usually very bad at hitting and their at-bats are, for the most part, not competitive.
However, that doesn’t mean hurlers haven’t had any at-bats to remember.
Bartolo Colon Made The Impossible Happen
In fact, what Bartolo Colon did in 2016, when he was close to 43 years old, is very much a part of the history of the New York Mets and the pitcher himself.
Over his long career, Colon hit .084/.092/.107 in 299 career at-bats, with 166 strikeouts.
He was very, very bad, but on May 7, 2016, he found a fastball down the middle of the plate, thrown by San Diego Padres pitcher James Shields.
Up 2-0, the Mets’ veteran righty hit it high to left field, and it cleared the wall for a two-run home run that put the game at 4-0.
“Big Sexy”, as he is often called, became the oldest MLB pitcher to hit his first home run that day.
Gary Cohen was the play-by-play caller that day, and his words are imprinted in fans’ minds.
“It’s outta here, Bartolo has done it! The impossible has happened!,” he yelled.
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) February 10, 2022
His teammates, at first, didn’t greet him in the dugout after his blast (a typical prank played sometimes), but returned to congratulate him as they couldn’t get out of their shock.
It was just so unexpected and cool that everybody lost their minds.
Colon himself was spotted grinning after his shocking at-bat.
The Universal DH Rule Will Take Over, But No One Will Forget About Colon’s Homer
For a while, it was fun while it lasted, but truth be told, for every at-bat like Colon’s, in which a pitcher actually did something of note while handling a bat, there are hundreds of non-competitive plate appearances that often end in strikeouts.
That’s why the league agreed to use the universal DH rule, not to mention that it benefits both players and teams.
But no matter what, Mets fans will always have the memory of Colon hitting an unlikely home run at 42 and trotting the bases at Citi Field.
Bartolo Colon follows through on his first career home run. May 7, 2016. pic.twitter.com/XLELm57c7D
— Baseball In Pics (@baseballinpix) February 9, 2022
It’s just another cool moment in a career full of them.