Julio Franco Played More Years Than I Lived

I couldn’t helpbut notice that Julio Franco retired two days ago.  Kudos to him on a long and illustriouscareer.  He began his Major league career in 1982 with the Philadelphia Phillies.  Alright, let’s put this into perspective:  Ryne Sandberg debuted with the Phillies in 1981.  He stopped playing in 1997.  Sort of.  I mean, he retired, then came back.  If you really think about it.. September 21, 1997 is probably the saddest day in my Cubs life.. Ryne Sandberg played his last game at Wrigley, and it was the last time that Harry Caray would perform the 7th inning stretch.  Sigh.. But this blog isn’t about them, or even the Cubs at all.  It’s to pay tribute to one of the better players who has played baseball every year since I was born.  Not necessarily in the United States.. but playing baseball either way.    Some tidbits about his career:

Teams played for:

  • Philadelphia Phillies: 1982
  • Cleveland Indians: 1983-88, 1996-97
  • Texas Rangers: 1989-93
  • Chicago White Sox: 1994
  • Chiba Lotte Marines (Japan): 1995, 1998
  • Milwaukee Brewers: 1997
  • Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 1999
  • Samsung Lions (South Korea): 2000
  • Angelopolis (Mexico City) Tigers: 2001
  • Atlanta Braves: 2001-2005, 2007
  • New York Mets: 2006-2007
  • Quintana Roo Tigres: 2008
  • Leones del Escogido: 1980-2008 (Dominican Winter League)
  • Career awards and highlights:

    • 3-time All-Star (1989-91)
    • MVP All-Star Game (1990)
    • Led American League in batting average (.341, 1991)
    • Led AL in singles (156, 1991)
    • 2nd in the AL Rookie of the Yearselection (1983, behind Ron Kittle and over Mike Boddicker)
    • Led AL in at-bats (658, 1984)
    • Top 10 MVP selection (8th, AL, 1994)
    • Carolina League MVP (1980)
    • Twice hit over .400 in the Mexican League (.423, 1999; .437, 2000)
    • Oldest player to hit a Grand Slam (47, 2005, breaking his own record set in 2004 at 45)
    • Oldest regularly-playing non-pitcher player in MLB history (48)
    • Second-oldest player to appear in MLB postseason play (48, during the 2006 postseason)
    • Oldest player in Major League history to hit a home run (48)
    • Second-oldest player to steal a base (48, during the 2007 season)
    • Led all Dominican players in MLB history in seasons, games, at-bats, hits, and bases on balls
    • Has compiled over 4,200 hits in his 26-year professional career:

    Pete Roseand Ty Cobb are the only other players with 4,200 hits (combined majors, minors and international play) in their careers.

    Interesting notes about him:

  • As of 2006, Julio Franco was the only active player to face a pitcher who pitched against Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who retired in 1960. The pitcher is Jim Kaat, who played in the majors from 1959 to 1983. Williams had batted against Kaat the final day of the 1959 season, Kaat’s rookie year. Kaat walked Franco in the latter’s rookie season in 1982.[5]
  • Franco was the last MLB player eligible to wear a batting helmet with no ear flaps. He elected to wear a helmet with an ear flap throughout his career.
  • Franco was the sixth batter that Roger Clemens ever faced, and when the two faced each other on June 15, 2007, they became the oldest batter-pitcher pair in the major leagues since October 1, 1933.[6]
  •   Games AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA
    Career 2525 8675 1285 2585 407 54 173 1193 281 .298

    Nice job, Julio.  Nice job.

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    2 Responses

    1. That’s hilarious that it inserted smiley faces into your statistics. I’ll always picture Julio in a Rangers uniform.

    2. […] Julio Franco Played More Years Than I Lived […]

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