John Franco on September 28, 2008
Born: September 17, 1960|
Brooklyn, New York
|April 24, 1984 for the Cincinnati Reds|
Last MLB appearance
|July 1, 2005 for the Houston Astros|
|Earned run average||2.89|
Career highlights and awards
John Anthony Franco (born September 17, 1960 in Brooklyn, New York) is a former Major League Baseball left-handed relief pitcher. During a 21-year baseball career spanning 1984–2005, he pitched for three different National League teams, the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, and Houston Astros. His 1,119 career games pitched is an NL record, and is ranked third in major league history; his 424 career saves ranked second in major league history when he retired, and remains the most by a left-hander. For 14 of his 20 seasons, he played for the New York Mets, serving as team captain in his final years with the team.
Franco grew up in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. His father, the late Jim Franco, was a New York City Department of Sanitation worker who encouraged his son's baseball aspirations; Franco honored his father by wearing an orange Sanitation Department work-shirt under his jersey. John graduated from Lafayette High School in Brooklyn and St. John's University in Queens, where he pitched two no-hitters in his freshman year.
Franco was originally selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8,
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Throughout his six seasons with the Reds, Franco was a successful closer, winning the National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award in
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On December 6,
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After a 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on June 21, 1994, Franco said in post-game interviews, "Seems like they're more concerned about building a fucking Nickelodeon than going out and signing somebody. I Ain't Too Happy." He was referring to the children's theme park the Mets were constructing beyond right field in Shea Stadium and their not signing outfielder Ron Gant, who had just become a free agent. This was followed by the smug attitude he showed towards employees of the theme park three days later when the Mets returned home.
On May 11, 1996, in a game against the Chicago Cubs, the Mets held "John Franco Day" to celebrate his 300th career save. In the fifth inning, a brawl that cleared both benches and bullpens resulted in Franco being ejected from the game, along with eight other players. An unusual occurrence considering it was his "day" and he was in the bullpen.
Injuries caused Franco to miss the
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In January 2005, he was signed to a one-year deal with the Astros, at the age of 44, making him at that time the oldest active pitcher in Major League Baseball. On July 1,
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- Pitching record: 90-87
- Saves: 424, 4th most in major league history behind, Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith and the most for any left-handed pitcher.
- Strikeouts: 975
- ERA: 2.89
- Innings pitched: 1245⅔
- Games pitched: 1119
- 4-time All-Star (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990)
- 3-time NL Save Leader (1988, 1990, 1993)
- Postseason record: 2-0, one save, 1.88 ERA in 15 postseason appearances
- New York Mets 3rd team captain (2001–2004)
- Inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame
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- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
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