Thursday, June 20, 2013

#25 John Franco

About the Front: In stark contrast to most of the pitcher photos we've seen thus far, John Franco does not look like he's exerting an extraordinary amount of effort in throwing the ball. He has a short, flat-footed stride, and his arm is cocked just enough that it appears as though he's merely lobbing the ball to the catcher. It might just have something to do with the precise moment at which the photo was taken.

About the Back: I didn't realize that Franco was drafted by the Dodgers. They traded him to Cincinnati in May of 1983 along with minor-league reliever Brett Wise for infielder Rafael Landestoy, who totaled 21 hits for L. A. before he washed out of the majors for good. Woof.

Triple Play:

1. John pitched for-freaking-ever, totaling 424 saves (fourth-most ever) with a 2.89 ERA in 21 seasons. He played out the string with the Astros in 2005 at age 44. Oh, the life of a lefty reliever.

2. His son J. J. was drafted by the Mets in the 42nd round of the 2010 draft, but chose to attend Brown University. The younger Franco batted .194 for the Bears and reached base at a .227 clip in 2013, and committed 12 errors in 39 games at shortstop. But hey, he's studying economics.

3. Franco was the third-ever team captain in Mets history, being tabbed for the honor in 2001.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I probably didn't know much about the vagaries of career arcs when I was younger, but I'm sure I would've been stunned to learn that the two Francos in the 1993 Topps set (John and Julio) would both still be active in the big leagues after I graduated college.

Bill James Said: (From Randy Myers' entry:) "Only 28 years old, it's hard to remember that he was once traded for John Franco, who is about 73." Of course, John was 33 at the time, but he laughed last anyway.

On This Day in 1993: June 20. John Paxson's three-pointer in Game Six of the NBA Finals helps the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns, 99-98, to clinch their third straight league championship.

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