Urban Shocker’s Weblog
Dominican Beisbol & Baltimore Orioles Baseball News

JULIO FRANCO – The Dominican Hit King Nears the End


Julio Franco’s 2,585th career hit -an opposite field single off Houston’s Matt Albers- on July 31 at Turner Field is starting to look like it may be his last.  (EDIT – Julio lined an RBI single to right off the Marlins Lee Gardner on September 17…finally!)  The Braves sent Franco to be a role model in the low minors for the month of August after dealing for Mark Teixeira, and Franco’s only made three hitless plate appearances since re-joining Atlanta in September.  For this card-carrying member of the Julio Franco Fan Club (literally in 1984-85), it’s sad to see him fade out like this.

You have to go back to April 23, 1982 for Franco’s first major league at bat, when he singled up the middle at Veterans Stadium off the Cardinals Bob Forsch.  Of course, no other players from that season are still active, and Franco’s outlasted all but nine big league ballparks by playing for a quarter-century.

You can read all about his philosophy on healthy living that’s allowed him to play until age 49 in other places.  It’s not hard to find the details of his transformation from erratic shortstop to All-Star second baseman and batting champion to dangerous designated hitter to baseball purgatory and 286 hits in Japan to the Methuselah of the National Pastime.  To honor a man who’s faced 1,169 different major league pitchers properly, here are some numbers you won’t find everywhere else.

Franco’s career stats vs. Hall of Fame pitchers

Steve Carlton:  2-3, .667

Dennis Eckersley:  7-25, .280, 2-2b, 4k, 2bb

Rollie Fingers:  0-3, .000, 1k

Phil Niekro:  7-19, .368, 3-2b, 1hr, 3k, 1bb

Jim Palmer:  2-3, .667

Gaylord Perry:  1-7, .143, 1k, 1bb

Tom Seaver:  6-15, .400

Don Sutton:  15-45, .333, 1-2b, 1hr, 8k, 1bb

Franco vs. probable Hall of Famers

Bert Blyleven:  6-35, .171, 4k, 2bb

Roger Clemens:  19-94, .202, 6-2b, 1-3b, 13k, 5bb

Tom Glavine:  6-24, .250, 2hr, 3bb

Rich Gossage:  1-6, .167, 1k, 2bb

Randy Johnson:  9-37, .243, 1-2b, 1hr, 15k, 5bb

Greg Maddux:  2-2, 1.000, 1bb

Pedro Martinez:  1-3, .333

Mike Mussina:  5-27, .185, 1-2b, 11k, 1bb

Mariano Rivera:  0-4, .000, 3k

All-Time Hit Leaders From the Dominican Republic (thru 9/16/07)

2585 – Julio Franco 

2405 – Sammy Sosa

2276 – Tony Fernandez 

2202 – Manny Ramirez 

2101 – Felipe Alou

2087 – Cesar Cedeno

1962 – Vladimir Guerrero

1777 – Mateo Alou

1723 – Miguel Tejada

1702 – George Bell

All-Time Latino Hit Leaders

3053 – Rod Carew (Panama) 

3020 – Rafael Palmeiro (Cuba)

3000 – Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico)

2732 – Tony Perez (Cuba)

2724 – Roberto Alomar (Puerto Rico)

2677 – Luis Aparicio (Venezuela)

2588 – Omar Vizquel (Venezuela)

2585 – Julio Franco (Dominican Republic)

2486 – Ivan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)

2405 – Sammy Sosa (Dominican Republic)


One Response to “JULIO FRANCO – The Dominican Hit King Nears the End”

  1. If Julio didn’t spend those few years in Asia, he would probably have over 3,000 ML hits now, making him a almost certain Hall of Famer. He may be anyway. You can have Von Hayes back.

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