Bow down and pay homage to the best #40 in Indian history, Bartolo Colon. Born in a town of 3000, Altimira located in the province of Puerta Plaza of the Dominican Republic, Bartolo worked the beanfields and fruit groves with his extended family. His father Miguel taught him the game using a ball made of rags and a glove made of milk cartons. After learning to throw he no longer had to climb trees to retrieve coconuts and instead started using rocks to knock them down.
An Indians scout noticed him 1989 in a youth league game. But Bartolo had previously lied about his age to appear two years younger, so although he was actually 16, no major league team would touch him. In 1993, the Indians finally did sign him, believing him to be 18 when in fact he was actually 20. He had huge legs which enabled his pitching to look effortless and he was already almost 200 pounds and not quite 6 feet tall. The truth about his age would not come about until 2002.
He started off at the Dominican Summer League in 1994, going 6-1 with a 2.59 ERA. Later in 1994, he was moved to the Burlington Indians (Appalachian League-Rookie) and he made 12 starts with a 3.14 ERA and 88 K in 66 IP. He jumped all the way to the Kinston (NC) Indians (Carolina-A+) in 1995 and was dominant, going 13-3 with a 1.96 ERA and 152 K in 128.2 IP. This would earn him a #15 ranking by Baseball America in 1996. At Canton-Akron he would continue to dominate, 2-2 in 12 starts, 1.74 ERA 56 K in 66 IP. He would also make 8 appearances in relief (15 IP) for Buffalo. He would also be ranked #14 by Baseball America heading into 1997.
Bartolo actually earned a spot in the rotation out of spring training in 1997, but after 10 earned runs in 5.2 innings in his first 2 starts, he rode the Buffalo-Cleveland shuttle until the All-Star break. He finished 1997 with a 5.65 ERA (83 ERA+) in 17 starts with 66 K in 94 IP. But in 1998, he became a mainstay in the rotation, earning his only Indian All-Star nod while going 14-9, 3.71 ERA (128 ERA+) in 31 starts and 158 K in 204 IP. In 1999 he was slightly better record-wise, 18-5 with a 3.95 ERA (126 ERA+) in 32 starts and 161 K in 205 IP, which enabled him to finish 4th in Cy Young voting that year. Colon was his usual self in 2000, 15-8 with a 3.88 ERA (127 ERA+) in 30 starts, but had 212 K in 188 IP, but this time no postseason honors. He finally had a slump in 2001, 14-12 with a 4.09 ERA (110 ERA+) in 34 starts and 201 K in 222.1 IP.
He returned with a vengeance in 2002, going 10-4 in 16 starts with a 2.55 ERA (172 ERA+) in 16 starts and 75 K in 116.1 IP. But with the emergence of CC Sabathia as the future ace and the Tribe not contending, the Expos decided to go all in their pursuit of a playoff spot with severe financial constraints in place as MLB was operating the team that year. Shapiro netted Lee Stevens and 3 top prospects, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Cliff Lee. Colon finished the year in the NL with an identical 10-4 record in 17 starts, 3.31 ERA (129 ERA+) and 74 K in 117 IP. Because of his combined 20 win season, he would finish 6th in Cy Young voting in the NL. The Expos dealt him before 2003 to the White Sox as they could not afford him and he filed for free agency after the 2003 season.
He spent the next 4 years with the Angels, winning the Cy Young in 2005 and earning his second All-Star nod. Since then he has bounced around, spending a year in Boston, back to the White Sox, missing 2010 with an injury, and last year with the Yankees. This year he is with the Athletics.
In his 6 year Indian career, Bartolo was 75-45 with 160 starts, a 3.92 ERA (121 ERA+) and 873 K in 1029.2 IP. These statistics are good enough for him sixth in winning percentage (.625) and fifth in K/9 (7.631) on the All-Time Indian pitching lists.
*The number 40 is significant in many religions, especially in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Also in Russian folklore it is believed that ghosts of the dead linger 40 days at the site of their death.
A Brief History
Early in the 1969 season, right field was being manned by the severely subpar duo of Richie Scheinblum and Russ Snyder. So Gabe Paul decided to deal Sonny Siebert, Joe Azcue and Vicente Romo to the Red Sox for Dick Ellsworth, Juan Pizarro and Ken Harrelson. Yes that dreaded announcer was once a member of the Tribe. And in actuality, he was pretty good when the trade happened. In 1968, he finished 3rd in MVP voting after cranking 35 HR and leading the league with 109 RBI (good enough for a 155 OPS+). He was a huge fan favorite in Boston and was so distraught by the announcement he threatened to retire rather than report to Cleveland. Bowie Kuhn stepped in and Harrelson arrived in Cleveland in late April and actually had a decent season, 222/341/418 and 27 HR, 109 OPS+ in 621 PA. In spring training 1970, he broke his leg sliding into second and would only appear in 69 games in 1970 and 1971 combined. He retired at age 29 and became a professional golfer, just missing the British Open cut in 1972 by one stroke. Harrelson even was a GM for the White Sox for one season, 1986, and proved very inept doing it. He fired Tony LaRussa, assistant GM Dave Dombroski and traded Bobby Bonilla for Jose DeLeon.
After learning how distraught Dennis Eckersley was before the 1978 season, the Tribe decided to ship him off to Boston as they believed Rick Manning was a better bet going forward. In order to make the deal, the Tribe insisted on receiving a starter back, Rick Wise. Although he was a former two-time All-Star, Wise was aleady 32 and had only made 20 starts for Boston the year before. He promptly led the league in losses (19) in his first year with the Tribe with a 4.34 ERA (86 ERA). He was much better in 1979, going 15-10 with a 3.73 ERA (115 ERA+). Not wishing to push their luck, the front office let him go in free agency
The subsequent #40 after Wise in 1980 was John Denny, who arrived from the Cardinals with Jerry Mumphrey for Bobby Bonds. He would only make 56 starts over the next 2.5 seasons with a 4.15 ERA (96 ERA+) before being dealt to the Phillies for Roy Smith, Wil Culmer and Jerry Reed. Naturally in 1983 he would win the Cy Young, going 19-6 with a 2.37 ERA (152 ERA+).
Late in 1983, the Tribe finally sent Rick Manning on his way with Rick Waits to the Brewers for Gorman Thomas, Jamie Easterley and Ernie Camacho. After only making 4 relief appearances in 1983 for the Tribe, Camacho would assume the closer’s role in 1984, going 5-9 and 23 saves with a 2.43 ERA (170 ERA+) with 100 IP in 69 appearances. He would switch to uniform #13 in 1985.
The pitcher second in IP for uniform #40 is Buddy Black. Originally obtained from the Royals for Pat Tabler during the 1988 season, Black made 68 starts from 1988 to 1990, being very consistent (118 ERA+ in 1989 and 111 ERA+ in 1990) before being sent to the Blue Jays in September 1990 for Mauro Gozzo and two players to be named (Steve Cummings and Alex Sanchez). He would try to stick in the majors one last time, signing a free agent deal with the Indians in 1995, but was largely ineffective, 6.85 ERA in 10 starts before being released.
The One Year Wonders
Hank Helf, Red Embree, Jim Hegan, Pete Center, Howie Moss, Pedro Ramos, Bob Allen, Stan Williams, Darrel Sutherland, Jim Clark, Bob Reynolds, Harry Parker, Keith Creel, Eric King, Matt Young, Randy Milligan, Jeff Russell, Steve Farr, Billy Traber and Matt Herges all wore uniform #40 for only one season.
The All-Time List
Hank Helf C (1940) 000/000/000, -100 OPS+, 1 PA; was #10 in 1938; sold to Nashville Volunteers (Southern Association-A1)
Red Embree SP (1941) 0-1, 1 G, 1 GS, 6.75 ERA, 4 IP, 64 ERA+; switched to #47 in 1942
Jim Hegan C (1942) 194/243/224, 35 OPS+, 184 PA; was #30 in 1941; switched to #14 in 1946
Pete Center RP, SP (1945) 6-3, 31 G, 8 GS, 3.99 ERA, 85.2 IP, 81 ERA+; also #42 in 1945; was #7 in 1943; switched to #29 in 1946
Howie Moss 3B (1946) 063/143/063, -39 OPS+, 35 PA; also #8 in 1945
Bob Allen RP (1963) 1-2, 43 G, 0 GS, 4.66 ERA, 56 IP, 78 ERA+; was #24 in 1962; switched to #36 in 1964
Stan Williams RP (1965) 0-0, 3 G, 0 GS, 6.23 ERA, 4.1 IP, 62 ERA+; purchased from Yankees; switched to #35 in 1967
Ken Harrelson RF, 1B (1969-1971) 220/335/391, 100 OPS+, 853 PA; traded by with Dick Ellsworth and Juan Pizarro by Red Sox for Sonny Siebert, Joe Azcue and Vicente Romo
Jim Clark PH, LF (1971) 167/250/278, 44 OPS+, 20 PA; acquired from Athletics in unknown transaction; traded to Royals for Tom Hilgendorf
Tom Hilgendorf RP (1972-1974) 12-7, 102 G, 6 GS, 3.04 ERA, 190 IP, 107 ERA+; also #35 in 1972; traded by Royals for Jim Clark; traded to Phillies for Nellie Garcia
Harry Parker RP (1976) 0-0, 3 G, 0 GS, 0.00 ERA, no ERA+ 7 IP; traded by Cardinals for Roric Harrison
Rick Wise SP (1978-1979) 24-29, 67 G, 65 GS, 4.02 ERA, 443.1 IP, 100 ERA+; traded with Ted Cox, Bo Diaz and Mike Paxton by Red Sox for Dennis Eckersley and Fred Kendall
John Denny SP (1980-1982) 24-23, 56 G, 56 GS, 4.15 ERA, 392.2 IP, 96 ERA+; also #42 in 1982;traded with Jerry Mumphrey by Cardinals for Bobby Bonds; traded to Phillies for Wil Culmer, Jerry Reed and Roy Smith
Ernie Camacho RP (1983-1984) 5-23, 73 G, 0 GS, 2.56 ERA, 105.1 IP, 162 ERA+; also #13 in 1984; traded with Gorman Thomas and Jamie Easterly by Brewers for Rick Manning and Rick Waits; switched to #13 in 1985
Keith Creel SP, RP (1985) 2-5, 15 G, 8 GS, 4.79 ERA, 62 IP, 87 ERA+; traded by Royals for Dwight Taylor (PTBNL)
Bud Black SP (1988-1990, 1995) 29-26, 89 G, 78 GS, 3.93 ERA, 519.2 IP, 103 ERA+; traded by Royals for Pat Tabler; traded to Blue Jays for Mauro Gozzo, Steve Cummings (PTBNL) and Alex Sanchez (PTBNL)
Eric King SP (1991) 6-11, 25 G, 24 GS, 4.60 ERA, 150.2 IP, 91 ERA+; traded by White Sox for Cory Snyder and Lindsay Foster
Matt Young RP, SP (1993) 1-6, 22 G, 8 GS, 5.21 ERA, 74.1 IP, 84 ERA+
Randy Milligan 1B, PH (1993) 426/557/574, 206 OPS+, 61 PA; traded by Reds for Thomas Howard; traded to Expos for Brian Barnes (PTBNL)
Steve Farr RP (1994) 1-1, 19 G, 0 GS, 5.28 ERA, 15.1 IP, 90 ERA+; also #26 in 1994; traded with Chris Nabholz to Red Sox for Jeff Russell
Jeff Russell RP (1994) 1-1, 13 G, 0 GS, 4.97 ERA, 12.2 IP, 96 ERA+; also #29 in 1994; traded by Red Sox for Steve Farr and Chris Nabholz
Bartolo Colon SP (1997-2002) 75-45, 162 G, 160 GS, 3.92 ERA, 1029.2 IP, 121 ERA+; All-Star in 1998; 4th in 1999 and 6th in 2002 in Cy Young voting; traded with Tim Drew to Expos for Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens
Billy Traber SP, RP (2003) 6-9, 33 G, 18 GS, 5.24 ERA, 111.2 IP, 84 ERA+; traded with Matt Lawton, Alex Escobar and Jerrod Riggan by Mets for Roberto Alomar, Mike Bascik and Danny Peoples; claimed on waivers by Red Sox
Matt Herges RP (2009) 2-1, 21 G, 0 GS, 3.55 ERA, 25.1 IP, 121 ERA+
Statistics and such
Other fun facts, the uniform #40 has been worn 50 times by 30 different players covering 46 seasons of a possible 84 seasons since 1929. Uniform #40 was shared in a season four times, 1971, 1993, 1994 and 2009