A journeyman KC Royals postseason hero is retiring

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

A little over a decade ago, the KC Royals were trying to rebuild and retool when, with the fourth pick in the 2010 draft, they selected Christian Colon out of California State-Fullerton in hopes he would be a star of the future.

It certainly seemed like a good bet at the time.

Colon earned freshman All-America honors after slashing .329/.406/.444 his first year at Cal State. He was even better as a junior, when he slashed .358/.444/.630 with 18 home runs, 67 RBIs and 70 runs scored.

So it wasn’t surprising when the Royals grabbed Colon in the first round, passing on even Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

As it turned out, Colon was up and down between the major and minor leagues, never quite making the big push to cement himself as an everyday big leaguer. He last played in the majors with Cincinnati in 2020; he hit .130 in 11 games and ended the season with a career line of .249/.312/.310 and one home run.

And that’s how he’ll end his career: Colon has reportedly retired. He leaves, however, as an unforgettable part of Kansas City postseason history.

Christian Colon will always be remembered as a KC Royals postseason hero.

After making it to Triple-A in 2014 and slashing .311/.366/.433 with eight home runs and 47 RBIs in 86 games at Omaha, Colon was promoted to the Royals in late June. He hit .333 in 22 games and earned a spot on Kansas City’s postseason roster.

And helped make sure the Royals survived their Wild Card game with Oakland.

In one of the greatest games in Wild Card history, KC manager Ned Yost had Colon bat for Terrance Gore in the bottom of the 10th inning. His sacrifice bunt moved Eric Hosmer to second, but Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez failed to drive Hosmer home and the game continued.

After the A’s scratched out a run in the top of the 12th, Colon got another chance. With Hosmer at third, Colon reached on an infield single that sent Hosmer home with the tying run. Colon scored the winner when Perez shot a grounder past A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson.

The Royals won the game and went on a historic playoff run until being bested by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.

But that wasn’t the end of the Royals or Colon. The very next season, the Royals found themselves in the World Series against the Mets. With Game 5 tied in the top of the 12th, and in his first at-bat of the postseason, Colon drove in Jarrod Dyson with the game, and Series, winning run.

After leaving the KC Royals, Colon bounced around the majors and minors.

Colon slashed .263/.323/.329 with one home run and 25 RBIs in his four years with the Royals before, with Whit Merrifield establishing himself in the KC infield and Adalberto Mondesi trying to, the Royals DFA’d him and he went to Miami on a waiver claim.

Colon hit just .152 in 17 games with Miami. The Marlins DFA’d him, then outrighted him to Triple-A, and he became a free agent after the season. Atlanta signed him but let him go in May 2018; the Mets picked him up and he spent the rest of the year with their Triple-A affiliate, slashing .304/.396/.459 with six home runs and 38 RBIs in 82 games.

Colon elected free agency in November and signed with the Reds in December, with whom he stepped foot in the majors again in 2019 and 2020. After hitting a mere .207 in19 games, however, Cincinnati DFA’d him.

Colon eventually made his way back to Kansas City when he signed with the Monarchs of the American Association of Professional Baseball. Soon thereafter, the Blue Jays gave him another shot when they signed him to a minor league contract earlier this season. Colon posted a final Triple-A line of .258/.345/.429 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs with Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate.

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Although his playing career didn’t end in the majors, Christian Colon has his place in Royals history.