When 44-year-old Minnesota Twins pitcher Bartolo Colon took the mound on Sunday afternoon against the Arizona Diamondbacks, history was on the line.
In Colon's storied career, during which he's spent time with the Cleveland Indians, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, he'd never once defeated the Diamondbacks.
However, after the Twins scored nine runs in the first inning of what eventually became a 12-5 Minnesota victory, Colon etched his name into the MLB record books.
Colon is now the 18th pitcher ever to defeat all 30 MLB teams, and he joins Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer and John Lackey of the Chicago Cubs as the only active players to accomplish the feat. He told MLB.com after the game that he is proud of the accomplishment, but now wants to add a couple more victories:
"It means a lot to me for my career," Colon said through Twins interpreter Carlos Font. "I haven't won in two stadiums, so that's my next goal."
The only two stadiums Colon has never won in are Arizona's Chase Field and Chicago's Wrigley Field.
Colon's manager, Paul Molitor, said the veteran pitcher's accomplishment is a testament to his longevity and effectiveness:
"I was actually surprised there was 18," Molitor said. "It's still an elite group. It speaks to longevity and a little bit of uniform-changing. Every time he goes out there, I think our guys can't wait to watch him pitch and try to back him up the best we can."
Sunday's win was Colon's third since he came over from the Atlanta Braves earlier this summer.
Minnesota catcher Chris Gimenez was impressed with Colon's accomplishment, and said he was excited heading into Sunday's game because he knew history was within the pitcher's reach:
"To be able to beat all 30 teams in baseball, you have to be around quite awhile. You also have to be pretty darn good," Gimenez said. "I was told before the game it was on me, because he needed one more to get 30 of them. I have to admit, when we scored the nine runs in the first inning, I thought, 'We can't blow this right now.'"
With the win, the Twins improved to 63-59 on the season and are now only five games behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League East division. The Twins are also tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wildcard spot.