Julio Franco spent many years playing in the MLB. A native of the Dominican Republic, Franco played for numerous teams had a lot of success. Franco last played over 13 years ago and is still remembered as one of the oldest players to play in the league.
Throughout his career, he played in multiple all-star games and won some individual awards as well. Even when his career was done in the MLB, Franco continued to play baseball professionally.
Julio Franco’s MLB career
The Philadelphia Phillies signed Franco as a free agent in 1978. He made his MLB debut in 1982 at the age of 23. Franco played in 16 games for the Phillies and batted .276. After spending one season with the Phillies, Franco was traded to the Cleveland Indians. Franco was primarily an infielder and also was a designated hitter.
He spent six seasons in Cleveland, and in his final three seasons in Cleveland, he batted over .300. In 1988 he finished with a .303 batting average and won his first Silver Slugger award. Franco was one of the best hitters in the league during his later years in Cleveland. After playing in Cleveland, he was traded to the Texas Rangers. Franco had a lot of success playing with the Rangers. He got off to a hot start in Texas and made his first all-star team his first season playing with the Rangers.
Franco made three consecutive all-star games with the Rangers, and he also won the Silver Slugger award in those three seasons. Those were the only three years that he made the all-star team. During the 1991 season, Franco finished with his highest batting average during his career. He batted .341 with 78 RBIs, 36 stolen bases, and 15 home runs.
Julio Franco continued to have success late in his career
After spending five seasons in Texas, Franco went back to Cleveland and then bounced around from different teams. He also played with the Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, and the New York Mets. Franco played well into his 30s and even going into his 40s as well. He still was having success too.
Franco was baseball’s ironman. He was still in good shape, and you couldn’t even tell that he was in his late 40s and still playing. At 47, Franco was playing with the Mets, and he finished the season with a .273 batting average playing in 95 games.
Franco played 23 years in the major leagues. He played until he did not have anything left in the tank. He was 48 when he played in his last MLB season. Franco kept himself in good shape and continued to play at a high-level.
Julio Franco’s return to baseball
In 2014, Franco wanted to go back to playing baseball. He signed with the Forth Worth Cats of United League Baseball. Franco only played in seven games and went 6-for-27. The next year Franco played in Japan. He signed as a player-manager for a Japanese Independent baseball team.
Franco was not ready to walk away from baseball after his MLB career was over. He finished his MLB career with a .298 batting average, 2,586 hits, 173 home runs, and 1,194 RBIs. Franco played in a total of 2,527 games throughout his 23 years in the league. Nowadays, you don’t see players playing into their late 40s in any sport. But Franco was one player that did not let his age stop him.