May 04, 2008

So it finally comes to an end. Julio Franco has retired.:
The oldest man to hit a major league home run has finally retired from professional baseball. His announcement came after a Mexican minor league game. At the age of 49, he's finally hung up the spikes. (crazy Julio Franco trivia inside)

posted by grum@work to baseball at 10:44 PM - 15 comments

The MLB career, in stat form. Things to note (collected from various sources): His first game was April 23, 1982. During his last game as a major leaguer (September 17, 2007), he played with 5 teammates and against 6 opponents that had not yet been born when he started in the majors. He was traded (with a collection of players) for Von Hayes. Von Hayes retired 16 years ago. Von Hayes was younger than Julio Franco. He played for 8 teams, including a single plate appearance for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Interestingly, he didn't play a major league game for 18 months before that at-bat and didn't play another major league game for 18 months after that at-bat. But there is photographic proof he did have that single plate appearance. Six degrees of separation goes back 120 years: Julio Franco was a teammate of Pete Rose. Pete Rose played alongside Joe Nuxhall. Joe Nuxhall played with Gee Walker. Gee Walker played with Wally Schang. Wally Schang played with Eddie Plank. Eddie Plank played with Lave Cross, who debuted in 1887. He played professional baseball games in the following countries: USA Canada Mexico South Korea Japan He played at such an advanced age that two of the players on his "most similar at age 48" are pitchers (with a similarity score of 0). Players who started in the majors during the same season as Julio Franco (or later), retired, and then were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, all while he was still playing: Tony Gwynn Wade Boggs He's played with 659 different major league players, including 7 current Hall of Famers (Ryan, Boggs, Gossage, Carlton, Murray, Schmidt, Niekro).

posted by grum@work at 11:15 PM on May 04, 2008

Holy smokes did the earth just stop spinning? Julio Franco has Finally retired from somewhere?! This wasn't even an onion article to boot. I am in awe, this man has played baseball "forever" and should be commended for it. That six degrees of Julio Franco above is impressive Grum, thanks. Just one observation/question though. In the article, they refer to the commissioner of the mexican league as "feline", does this mean we can call Big Bud a pu... too? Oh, I guess that already was the translation. My bad, sorry about that. Congrats Mr. Franco, have a great retirement!

posted by jojomfd1 at 02:22 AM on May 05, 2008

On another front....Francisco Franco is still dead.

posted by budman13 at 10:00 AM on May 05, 2008

And Franco-American relations still struggle

posted by kokaku at 11:30 AM on May 05, 2008

Looking at his career stats, I'm surprised at how ... average his career has been. He had a couple of decent years in the early 90's, but I always thought of him as near the top of the batting average leaders for, like, forever. Turns out his most consistently high stat was GIDPs. The longevity on its own is a major achievement, and I marvel at how he's been able to stay at or near the top of his profession for the last seventy-three years, but it turns out he was little more than a tenacious journeyman. Whom we apparently have plans to meet down by the schoolyard.

posted by chicobangs at 12:08 PM on May 05, 2008

Julio Franco was a professional until the day that he retired. This is a guy that played with some of the best and was a teacher & role model for the younger players coming up. Anytime anyone came to him for advice, he would provide it and was always humble. Great career.

posted by BornIcon at 02:15 PM on May 05, 2008

Dude, you're brutal. With 9 seasons batting over .300 and a lifetime BA of .298 with just about 2600 hits, I'm not sure journeyman is the right adjective.

posted by sfts2 at 03:12 PM on May 05, 2008

The list of HoF-ers who started their careers after Franco should also include Kirby Puckett. Aside from that, an amazing career from a longevity standpoint, and a decent career overall. Good for him.

posted by TheQatarian at 08:20 PM on May 05, 2008

It's the neat round spaghetti you can eat with a spoon....ah oh spaghetti-O's Franco-American Spaghetti-O"s and this just in.... Francisco Franco is still dead.

posted by budman13 at 09:28 PM on May 05, 2008

The list of HoF-ers who started their careers after Franco should also include Kirby Puckett. Yes it should.

posted by grum@work at 10:36 PM on May 05, 2008

Something interesting things on Wiki: -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. -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. -Franco's true birth date is always in question. Although his current reported birthdate is in 1958, many of his early bios and cards have his birthday listed in 1954, and on the roster of the Quintana Roo Tigres, his birthday is listed in 1961.

posted by BoKnows at 12:05 PM on May 06, 2008

Franco's true birth date is always in question. Although his current reported birthdate is in 1958, many of his early bios and cards have his birthday listed in 1954, and on the roster of the Quintana Roo Tigres, his birthday is listed in 1961. Since I can't think of any reason that someone would claim to be 28 (!) when making his major league debut when he is actually only 21, I can only surmise that his actual birthday must be in 1954, but he has managed to slyly ease his age back over the years when negotiating new contracts. Well played! Miguel Tejada could take a lesson from Julio.

posted by bender at 12:56 PM on May 06, 2008

Best steroids-related quote ever: "That's outrageous. God didn't create stupid people. When you go on the air and say something like that, I've got to think Andy Van Slyke was born to be an idiot." Julio Franco, Braves infielder, in response to Andy Van Slyke's accusation that he was on "the juice" (Cleveland Plain-Dealer). "God has given me a gift to play for a long time. If it was up to me, I still wouldn't be playing. But God has put me here for a purpose . . . I am on the juice. The juice of Jesus of Nazareth."

posted by holden at 03:00 PM on May 06, 2008

On a very contentious baseball website that I frequently visit, there are very few players that are universally loved/respected/cheered by 99% of the members of the site. Julio Franco is one of them*. The perseverance he displayed to keep playing the game he loved is something that even the hard-hearts couldn't help but cheer him on. *others include Rickey Henderson, Albert Pujols and Greg Maddux (serial killings aside)

posted by grum@work at 03:21 PM on May 06, 2008

Hey Budman -- Is Francisco Franco still dead?

posted by RAZORDODGER at 05:13 PM on May 07, 2008

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