Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Salute to Julio Franco. Red Sox -Yankees Action in the Bronx.

Hola amigos. I'm still having intermittent success with my connection, so while I have contact I figure I might as well make the most of it by posting something. Here goes...

As part of my daily web surfing I always stop off at bartcop.com, and while there I usually check out Bartcop Sports. I occasionally play the Guess the Athlete game that is usually featured every week, and I usually do well at guessing the baseball players. However, this week I was late in tuning in and had to endure Patriots2K being the first to identify Julio Franco, now a 47-year-old utility man for the New York Mets, but pictured in a pose for a baseball card as a Cleveland Indian (circa 1983?).

Well, I had to do something, so I added some useless Franco trivia to the mix. Franco has, since 1978 when he began his professional baseball career, managed to get 3,921 base hits entering this season.

Here's the rundown:

* 618 hits from 1978-1982 as a Philadelphia Phillies farmhand.
* 2,521 hits in the Major Leagues as a member of the Phillies, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves (Franco did appear in one game with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999 with no hits).
* 316 hits in two Mexican League seasons with the Mexico City Tigres. In 1999 he had 138 hits and a .423 batting average. In 2001 he had 178 hits and a .437 batting mark.
* 286 hits in the Japanese Pacific League as a member of the Chiba Lotte Orions (145 in 1995 and 141 in 1998).
* 156 hits as a member of the Samsung club in Korea in 2000.
* 16 hits in six Division Series with the Indians and the Braves.
* Six hits in the 2001 NL Championship Series with the Braves.
* Two hits in his two All-Star Game appearances.

Franco started the 2006 season 79 hits shy of the 4,000 mark. It seems unlikely that he'll get there this season (his last four seasons with the Braves saw him get 96, 58, 99 and 64 respectively. His primary defensive position these days is first base, and since the Mets have Carlos Delgado locked in over there, it appears most of Franco's time will be spent as a pinch-hitter. But since Franco has stated a desire to play until he is 50 (he turns 48 in August), it is likely that he will achieve this milestone, albeit to little fanfare. Too bad. He is truly baseball's wandering warrior.

The Red Sox just went head 3-2 in the first game of a three-game series against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium in the third inning. The Sox have won five of their last six. Sox starter Josh Beckett got behind early giving up a two-run homer to Jason Giambi, but is starting to settle down. Randy Johnson's wildness, Alex Rodriguez's sloppy defense and a timely hit from Manny Ramirez contributed to the sudden change in events. But this one is far from over so stay tuned!

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