Here’s something I came up recently that I found interesting. Major League pitcher Bartolo Colon out-lasted Atlanta’s last baseball stadium.
It’s true, not fake news. Turner Field was reconfigured after the 1996 Olympics and opened for Major League baseball in 1997. It remained the home of the Braves through the 2016 season, with the final game being played on October 2 of last year. This year the Braves moved into the new SunTrust Park.
Colon made his major league debut on April 4, 1997, pitching for the Cleveland Indians against the Angels. That was the same week Turner Field opened for baseball and Colon is still taking the ball in big league games. Ironically, he’s now pitching for the Braves. He’ll be 44 next Wednesday, May 24, and through last week he was 1-4 with a not so sterling 7.22 ERA. But he’s still in the big leagues, and Turner Field is not.
Here’s another interesting note. Colon pitched for Kinston in the Carolina League in 1995, where he won 13 games and posted a 1.96 earned run average, earning the CL Pitcher of the Year award. Colon was shut down with a bruised elbow on August 1 of that year and a week later Salem Memorial Ballpark (then known as Salem Memorial Stadium) opened on August 7 of 1995. So, as far as I can tell, Colon is the last player to have played a Carolina League game at Kiwanis Field (then Salem Municipal) who is still in the big leagues.
And, strange as it seems, Turner Field opened AFTER Salem’s ballpark and it’s already been replaced.
Makes you appreciate Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, doesn’t it?