Franco on first
Franco played in 25 games for the Atlanta Braves that season hitting .300/.376/.444/.821 including three homers and four doubles to finish with a .357 wOBA and 116 wRC+.
He continued to play well in 3 NLDS games, hitting .308/.308/.538/.846 – including a homer off Shane Reynolds in game three. He followed that in five NLCS games against Arizona as well going 6 – 24.
Signing the 40-year old Franco was a success made all the more impressive when, following the post 9/11 validation of immigrant paperwork, they found Franco was actually 42.
The Braves brought him back for the 2003 season and continued to do so through 2005. In that span, Franco posted a .295/.367/.447/.817 line with 20 homers, 24 doubles six triples and eight stolen bases with a .352 wOBA and112 wRC+. One of those homers made history.
The Atlanta Braves suffered a large loss in revenue in the 2003 season and couldn’t match the offer of the New York Mets made after the 2005 season. Franco later told VICE sports he regretted signing with the Mets.
"“Bobby Cox knew how to use me. I went to New York and sometimes I spent a month on the bench . . .you bring me in the ninth inning and think I’m going to drive in the winning run? And you were sitting me on the bench for 20 days, 15 days, 30 games without an at-bat? It’s not gonna happen.”"
Did someone say records?
Julio Franco currently sits at #87 on the all-time hits list, with 2586 and his 407 doubles place him at #175. Franco is:
- The oldest player to hit a home run, May 4, 2007, at 48-years 254 days old. He’s also the second, third, fifth-through-nineteenth, twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth on the top 25 list.
Baseball-Reference’s play index tool tells us he’s close to the top of many lists of stats for players over 40.