One week after being waived by the New York Mets, 48-year old Julio Franco has signed with the Atlanta Braves, the team he played with from 2001-05. Franco, who will be 49 next month, has always stated that he would like to play until he is 50. His Atlanta contract runs through the rest of the current season, but if he is able to play well, he may be able to get an offer from someone for next year.
The 24-year Major League veteran has amassed 2,576 hits and is a lifetime .298 hitter. He struggled mightily with the Mets this year in a backup role, predominantly at first base, hitting .200 with 1 home run and 2 stolen bases. Franco will have the same role with the Braves, who may have signed him simply to help them compete against the Mets for the remainder of the season.
Atlanta is currently 2.5 games behind the Mets in the National League East Division and 2.0 games behind the San Diego Padres for the Wild Card.
Other fun facts about Julio Franco:
– He has compiled 4,219 hits in his 26-year baseball career, which includes playing in the Major Leagues, the Minor Leagues, the Mexican League, Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the Dominican Winter League, and South Korea’s Korean Baseball Organization. Pete Rose and Ty Cobb are the only other players to do that.
– He is the oldest player ever to hit a home run in Major League Baseball history
– He is eligible under Major League Baseball rules to wear a batting helmet with no flaps
– He twice hit over .400 in the Mexican League