Bartolo Colon is the subject of a profile in the Thursday edition of The New York Times, and in addition to shedding some light on the long-tenured but soft-spoken pitcher, the Times tells some very entertaining stories from his youth.
Colon grew up in the small town of El Copey in the Dominican Republic, where he had a pet donkey named Pancho, which the article says inspired Colon's work ethic, allowing him to have such a long MLB career.
Pancho is memorialized in a training complex/museum that Colon has built in El Copey. That structure also features a test of strength from Colon's younger days, when his father says the future Cy Young winner would use his powerful arms to de-pulp 1,000 crates of coffee beans a day, according to the New York Times.
He has carved a baseball stadium out of the hillside, erected a Roman Catholic chapel and built a training complex for young baseball prospects that includes a small museum. Here are a pair of Colon’s major league cleats. Here, a wall illustration telling the story of his beloved donkey, Pancho. And here, an old, crank-style de-pulping machine, with a sign offering a dare:
TRY YOUR STRENGTH AGAINST BARTOLO’S
25 TURNS – BARTOLITO
50 TURNS – BARTOLO
100 TURNS – SENOR BARTOLO