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From BR Bullpen
Julio Cesar Franco
born Julio Cesar Robles Franco
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 165 lb.
Julio Franco played 23 years in the major leagues. His lifetime major league average was .298.
In 2006 he hit .273 with 2 home runs and 6 stolen bases in a pinch-hitting and spot-starting role for the 2006 Division Champion New York Mets. Franco started the season with the Mets in 2007, but the team designated him for assignment. Days later he cleared waivers, and was signed by his old team, the Atlanta Braves.
Julio has stated that his desire is to collect both a paycheck and a pension check in the same year from a team (in other words, play till he's 50).
Franco only topped 200 hits in a season once in his MLB career, but has a career OPS+ of 111 through 2007.
 Franco, his teams, and his teammates
A review of Franco's career is a trip down memory lane . . .
When Franco broke in with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1982, Pete Rose was playing first base for the team, Mike Schmidt still had three home run championships to go in his career, and Steve Carlton (who won 23 games in Julio's rookie year) would continue to pitch for six more years.
When Franco joined the Cleveland Indians in 1983 to play shortstop, it was just the year after Joe Charboneau had played his last year for the Indians, and it was one year before Indians pitcher Rick Sutcliffe would be traded to the Cubs and win the 1984 National League Cy Young Award.
When, after hitting over .300 three times with the Indians, Julio Franco joined the Texas Rangers in 1989 to play second base, Juan Gonzalez was a 19-year-old rookie on the team, Rafael Palmeiro was the 24-year-old first baseman who hit only 8 home runs in 156 games that season with the Rangers, Ruben Sierra at age 24 had the best year in his career, and 42-year-old Nolan Ryan won 16 games and would pitch for four more seasons after that.
When Franco moved to the Chicago White Sox in 1994, he was already 35 years old. It was the year that White Sox player Frank Thomas won his second MVP award and Franco as DH often batted cleanup behind him.
In 1997, he was already one of the ten oldest players in the league.
In 2001-2003, he was the second-oldest player in the league, behind Jesse Orosco, but in 2004-2007, he has been the oldest.
 Accomplishments with the bat
He led the league in at-bats in 1984, when Jim Rice was second and only one at-bat behind him.
A good basestealer in his prime, Franco first stole 30+ bases in 1983, a year when Rickey Henderson led the league with 108, Rudy Law was second in the league, Willie Wilson was third, and U L Washington hit his peak with 40.
According to the similarity scores method of comparing ballplayers, no one was remotely similar to Julio Franco at age 46, but the most similar player was Minnie Minoso, another Latin player who played forever. There were five Hall of Famers on Franco's list of most similar players at the time. Now that he is retired the most similar player is Alan Trammell, a Hall of Fame candidate.
 Franco's age and his experiences in baseball around the world
The birthday listed above is not necessarily entirely accurate as no one knows exactly how old Julio is and Julio himself has been secretive about his true age. Julio, like many other Dominicans, likely broke into pro ball with a false birth certificate.
Julio Franco enters the 2006 season with 2521 hits in the major leagues, 618 in the American minor leagues, 316 in the Mexican League, 286 in the Japanese Pacific League, 267 in the Dominican Winter League and 156 in the Korea Baseball Organization. Overall he thus has 4,164 hits as a professional baseball player.
On April 20, 2006, he became (at age 47) the oldest player ever to hit a home run in the majors. He repeated the feat on September 30th, in a game in which he matched a career-high with 5 RBIs. Even more amazing is how many times he has homered in the last few years. The list of players over 45 who have hit Home Runs includes Franco 19 times, Cap Anson three times and Jack Quinn and Carlton Fisk once each. By hitting a home run run in 2007, he pushed the record for oldest player to homer to 48 years and 254 days, while he later set the mark for the oldest RBI by driving in a run 25 days after his 49th birthday. On May 16, 2012, Jamie Moyer drove in a run, breaking Franco's record by 155 days.
When he faced Roger Clemens on June 15, 2007, it was the oldest pitcher-batter matchup in over 53 years since Rube Walberg pitched to Nick Altrock in 1933. Their combined age was 93 years, 246 days. They had first faced off over 23 years earlier. After being released by the Mets and Braves in 2007, Franco returned to Mexico. He was playing for the Tigres de Quintana Roo when he finally announced his retirement on April 30, 2008, at the age of 49. In 2009, he managed the GCL Mets in the Gulf Coast League.
 Notable Achievements
- 1980 MVP Carolina League Peninsula Pilots
- 1983 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 3-time AL All-Star (1989-1991)
- 1990 All-Star Game MVP
- 5-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1988-1991/2B & 1994/DH)
- AL Batting Average Leader (1991)
- AL At-Bats Leader (1984)
- AL Singles Leader (1991)
- 20-HR Seasons: 1 (1994)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1991)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1991)
 Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record
|2009||GCL Mets||Gulf Coast League||22-34||14th||New York Mets|
 Related Sites
- Julio Franco: A History in Pictures - A creative tribute to Franco's longevity.