Julio Franco, who reported to camp with the 2006 Mets yesterday, is so old that when he heard the Mets would open against Washington, he dreaded the thought of facing Walter Johnson.
Julio Franco is so old that when he learned the Mets would be going to RFK, he said, “Count me out, I'm sticking with LBJ.”
Julio Franco is so old that his career predates those of more than half of the players on the 1986 Mets' World Series roster, the subject of this year's Old Timers festivities.
Julio Franco is so old that when he found out the Mets would be heading west on their next road trip, he told his teammates he'd meet them at Pennsylvania Station in plenty of time to board the Overnighter Limited to St. Louie…provided the horseless carriages are running without obstacle.
Julio Franco is so old that when asked his opinion of Wright, he replied, “Wilbur's a fine gent, but that scoundrel of a brother of his still owes me that sawbuck I loaned him for 'flying lessons.'”
Julio Franco is so old that on the day he signed his first professional contract, Ed Kranepool was the Mets' starting rightfielder, Bobby Valentine struck out as a pinch-hitter and Duffy Dyer singled off Jerry Koosman.
Julio Franco is so old that he picked the White Sox to repeat, provided that Buck Weaver and the boys are playing on the level.
Julio Franco is so old that he tested positive for both the clear and the cream…versions of liver-spot ointment.
Julio Franco is so old that he was a teammate of Willie Montañez, Del Unser, Ed Glynn, Pat Tabler, Junior Noboa, Don Schulze, Benny Ayala, Butch Benton, Brett Butler, Jay Bell, Kenny Rogers, Dave Gallagher, Jeff Kaiser, Bill Robinson, Charlie Hough, Vern Ruhle and the father of Gary Matthews, Jr., obviously not simultaneously, but all before 1990.
Julio Franco is so old that when he pops up to center, Fran Healy calls it an ear of corn.
Julio Franco is so old that he laughed at a reporter who said he was from MLB.com, telling him he should get with the times, give up that Morse code gibberish and “just pass your copy along to the Western Union man at our next stop.”
Julio Franco is so old that he played in 1982 with Tug McGraw who was managed in 1965 by Casey Stengel who was managed in 1921 by John McGraw who played in 1891.
Julio Franco is so old that when he was told the Mets were building a new Ebbets Field, he asked, “What's wrong with the current one?”
Julio Franco is so old that he predicts Barry Bonds will pass Babe Ruth's home run total “as soon as somebody breaks Ty Cobb's stolen base mark, Lou Gehrig's iron man streak or exceeds Jack Chesbro's 41 wins in a season — I'm telling you, fellows, the Bambino's record will never be surpassed!”
Julio Franco is so old that he was the Most Valuable Player of an All-Star Game that included Rickey Henderson, Bret Saberhagen, Lenny Dykstra, Robbie Alomar, Randy Myers, John Franco, Kevin Mitchell, Frank Viola, Darryl Strawberry, Bobby Bonilla and Shawon Dunston in a park that was in only its second full season of hosting night baseball.
Julio Franco is so old that when he got a glimpse of the Unisphere, he wanted to know what addled SOB decided to portray the world as round.
Julio Franco is so old that he advised Carlos Delgado to stand for “God Bless America” because doing otherwise will embolden Mussolini.
Julio Franco is so old that he wasn't the Most Valuable Player of an All-Star Game that included Vince Coleman, Howard Johnson, Willie Randolph, Tim Burke, Tony Fernandez and Nolan Ryan, but he did get a hit. And part of that game was announced by Dutch Reagan.
Julio Franco is so old that when he was invited to get his picture taken for a baseball card, he declined, insisting he didn't want to do anything that could be seen as promoting tobacco.
Julio Franco is so old that upon being assigned uniform No. 23, he raised a Guinness and exclaimed, “Numbers on our uniforms? Brilliant!”
Julio Franco is so old that he was once traded with Manny Trillo, whom Charlie Finley tried to finagle into the 1973 World Series at the expense of Mike Andrews, whose rookie year came with the 1967 “Impossible Dream” Red Sox, on whom one of his teammates was Elston Howard, who became the first African-American to play for the New York Yankees in 1955, when their starting shortstop was Phil Rizzuto, who came up in 1941, when the American League leader in saves was his teammate Johnny Murphy, who 28 years later would serve as general manager of the 1969 Miracle Mets, signing off on the promotion of strong-armed rookie righthander Gary Gentry, who would eventually be traded for Felix Millan, who was a key in driving the “You Gotta Believe” Mets into the 1973 World Series against the Oakland A's of Mike Andrews, whom Charlie Finley attempted to replace in midstream with Manny Trillo, who was once traded with Julio Franco, who reported to camp with the 2006 Mets yesterday.
That's how old Julio Franco is.
The above post was inspired by an offhand musing from the founder of what is still the most amazin' Mets site ever invented. Happy 7th Birthday to Mets By The Numbers.
Speaking of history, New York baseball has a tendency to repeat itself. Or so it says at Gotham Baseball.