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MLB opening season with 0 active players from 1900s

The Sporting News / Sporting News / Getty

Thursday will mark a historic Opening Day for Major League Baseball.

For the first time in baseball's modern era, a season will open featuring no players who were active in the 1900s, according to Ben Walker of The Associated Press.

MLB is the first of North America's four major professional sports leagues to not feature at least one player who played in the previous century, per Walker.

Only two players who appeared in games prior to the year 2000 were active last season. One was future Hall of Fame third baseman Adrian Beltre, who debuted with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 at the age of 19 and announced his retirement in November.

The other last player from the 20th century was Bartolo Colon, the beloved former Cy Young winner who was the oldest active player last year. He first reached the big leagues in 1997 with the Cleveland Indians.

In an interesting twist, Colon and Beltre were teammates with the Texas Rangers in 2018.

While Beltre appears to be permanently retired, the possibility exists that Colon could come back. It was reported in November that the 45-year-old had plans to pitch a 22nd season in the majors, though he went unsigned over the winter.

Colon's absence from the majors also means there are officially no more active players who played for the Montreal Expos. Colon was the last Expo, having pitched for them in 2002, two years before they moved to Washington. Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond, an Expos draft pick in 2004, is the last active player with ties to the late Quebec franchise.

Colon was also the last active big leaguer who played in Detroit's Tiger Stadium, which hosted the Tigers from 1912-99.

On Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays announced that 19-year-old Elvis Luciano made the team. When the right-hander gets into a game, he'll become the first MLB player to have been born in the year 2000.

The last active MLB player to have played in the 19th century was Nick Altrock, who debuted in 1898 and took his last at-bat in 1933 at the age of 56.

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