Bartolo Colon, who is not giving up on pitching again in the majors even at age 47, was already a Mets folk hero before he launched a home run deep into the San Diego night in 2016.
But that home run, coming after so many at-bats filled with laughs as Colon spun around and his helmet flew off -- added to his lore.
"I still have the bat; it's a beautiful memory for me," Colon told ESPN's Marly Rivera about the home run and his thoughts before it happened. "Ever since [my debut] with Cleveland, I always dreamt of playing interleague baseball. When I was with the White Sox [in 2003], one time I thought it was going to happen, when I faced Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs. I really thought I was going to hit it out that day because the ball was flying out of the park.
"Then, after 2014, I thought my dream of ever hitting a home run would never happen. I was getting old. But apparently I had some power that day (in 2016). I knew Shields was going to throw me a fastball. I let the first two pitches go by. I told myself I wasn't going to swing but that if he threw me another fastball I would put a swing on it. And I did."
Colon, who pitched for the Mets from 2014 to 2016, said they're at the top of his list when it comes to who he wants to return to play for and retire with.
"That Mets team was really something special," Colon told Rivera earlier this month. "I've played with 10 teams, but with the Mets, the way all those players treated me, how that entire franchise treated me, from the front office to the kitchen staff, it was amazing. And Mets fans are the best. In the beginning, when they laughed at me every time my helmet fell off, at first I felt uncomfortable. But when I saw how much the fans enjoyed it, I asked for a bigger batting helmet so that it would fall more because it was so much fun for them!"