Bartolo Colon was DFA’d by the Braves yesterday. He’s probably not done yet. I suspect the Mets or someone else will sign him to see if he has anything left in the tank. But the end is certainly near for him. He may yet make some appearances in 2017, but I doubt he gets a big league contract for 2018. This is probably his last season.
Colon turned 44 in late May. I turn 44 two weeks from today. That makes Colon just barely older than me. Besides him, there isn’t another player left who was born before July 14, 1973. Which means that when Colon is done, so too are the days when any active players older than I am remain.
Whether or not we have serious issues with aging, I think we’ve all spent some time thinking about players who are our age. We noted, back when we were in our early 20s, when the first player our age or younger broke into the league. I think for me it was Ismael Valdez. We also note when the players our age or younger begin leave the game. For me it was a series of them, in no particular order: Johnny Damon . . . Todd Helton . . . Mike Cameron . . . Nomar Garciaparra . . . Derek Lowe . . . Chan Ho Park . . . now Colon.
Who was — or who will be — the last active player older than you? Jamie Moyer saved a lot of people from having to think about that for a long time. At times in history there have been some extreme outliers/gimmick signings like Minnie Minoso in 1980 or Satchel Paige in 1965 to bring us back into “active status,” as it were, but you can’t count on that. Usually it’s just some dude in his early 40s playing out the string. And it’s always the early 40s: there has not been a season which has not featured a 40-year old since 1900, when Chief Zimmer was baseball’s oldest player at age 39.