It takes a special breed of player to play past his 40’s. Many of the greats hang em up in the higher ’30s and some even mid ’30s if injuries start to pile up. But Dominican legend Julio Franco is a different type of beast. His baseball journey throughout the years is legit crazy.
It starts off by being traded by the Phillies to the Indians in the famous five-for-one trade that saw a young, hyped Von Hayes go to the Phils. He then proceeded to hit above .300 from 1986 to 1989 and won 4 straight silver sluggers from 88 to 91. Oh yeah, he was traded to the Rangers midway through that streak. He was an all-star in 1989, 1990 and 1991 obviously. 92′ changed his philosophy due to a knee injury that ruined his season and made him focus on preserving his body. Julio was cooking as a Chicago White Sock in 94, passing 20 home runs for the only time in his career but the 94-95 strike killed the rest of that season, so he left to go play in Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines. He’s 35 at this point but he had a world tour in store. After dominating in Japan for a year, he returned to Cleveland and posted a .322 BA. He was released by the Indians in 97 but latched on with the Brewers moments later. Soon enough, he was back in Japan with the Marines. He then spent ’99 in Mexico, hitting for a .423 BA in 93 games. He also spent one whole at-bat with the Tampa Bay Rays and struck out. Then it was off to South Korea for 2000, then back to Mexico in 01. So it’s still 2001 and Julio Franco is a 43-year-old player who has had only one major league at-bat in 3 seasons. What if I told you he still had 5 more years of MLB life left in him? Teams could always use a solid bat, and that’s what the Braves thought. He spent a few years with them before signing with the Mets in 05 He broke pretty every age-related record there is.
Which brings us to this moment in 2007. Lot of backstory but it’s necessary. Julio Franco is an old ass batter with plenty of pedigree and he’s facing off against Randy Johnson, an old ass pitcher with even more pedigree. A combined age of 91. This would be the oldest combined age between batter and pitcher in MLB history. A test of pure old man strength and Franco would prove the victor here, yeeting a fastball into the pool. He’s already 61 years old but still has that fire to return to baseball at any notice. Legend, with an all-time batting stance.
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