Happy Birthday John Franco!
Today is the 51st birthday of one of the most beloved Mets, Brooklyn-born John Franco. He wore the Mets uniform for a staggering 14 years. 14 years! During his tenure in Queens, he tallied 48 wins, 56 losses, a nice 3.10 ERA to go along with an impressive 276 saves and All-Star appearances. What made for an impressive career as a closer, was that he lacked the typical closer repertoire. Not a flamethrower, Franco was one of those crafty lefties you hear so much about. Being one of the few screwball pitchers around, hitters were not be able to figure him out. His saves were of the cardiac variety, but Franco got the job done.
However, John Franco provided much more then stats over the years. He eventually became the leader of not only the bullpen but of the entire team. Franco was named team captain in 2001, and served as such thru 2004. As one of the rare players to be embraced by teammates, the media, and fans John Franco will always remain a favorite in Flushing.
As it is a busy day for celebrations today, We should also send a birthday shout out to another Franco, the immortal Julio Franco. Who, shockingly is not on anyone’s roster. Perhaps at 52 he can still contribute? No? As a Met, he pinch ran for Carlos Delgado, becoming the oldest player to do so. He still plays a part in helping out the Mets these days as well, Julio Franco is the manager of the Mets’ Gulf Coast League rookie squad. A fine role model for young Brandon Nimmo to learn from.
Also celebrating birthdays today: Ed Hearn (51), Pat Strange (31), and Prentice Redman (32)