Monday, February 20, 2006

Mets' Franco Eyes Making History at 47

At age 47, Julio Franco has no desire to retire. He signed a $2.2 million, two-year contract with the New York Mets and has a chance to become the oldest player to hit a home run in the major leagues — pitcher Jack Quinn was 46 years, 357 days when he homered for the Philadelphia Athletics on June 27, 1930.

"To stay in shape as long as he has is phenomenal," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "His leadership is important. He's the type of guy who brings a lot to the table."

Franco batted .275 last season with nine homers and 42 RBIs in 233 at-bats for the
Atlanta Braves. He attributes his longevity to going to bed as early as 8 p.m., eating organic foods and staying firm in his Christian beliefs.

His mental and physical endurance has made him eager to dispense his knowledge. Franco cherishes working with players willing to listen and learn.

"You have to do things other people aren't willing to do," he said. "There are a lot of things written in baseball that are sometimes wrong."

Franco hopes to remain in baseball after he retires as a player.

"Ultimately, I'd like to manage," he said. "My wish is to do it here. On the No. 1 day, instead of in the dugout, we meet in my office."

I hope Franco keeps playing for a while. It is awesome to see him play, and play well for his age.


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