Someone give this man a damn retirement party
How this news hasn't even registered as a blip on the MLB radar boggles my mind. In this day and age when so many athletes who "retire" get a send-off of obscene proportions (only to unretire less than a year later), the end of a career that spans decades should get some kind of an honorable mention, yet no one seems to give a damn. No, Julio Franco was not a superstar, but the fact that he was still playing effectively after over 20 years should be worth something. There are major league players who weren't even BORN when the man started his career. He holds the record for being the oldest ballplayer in the major leagues to hit a home run, which he achieved at the age of 48. How many 48-year-old men do you see still hitting home runs these days? Hell, how many 48-year-old men are still playing baseball, period?
His final stats: .298 average, 2,586 hits and 173 home runs in 23 seasons in the majors with eight teams. All of it steroid-free, too--that alone should earn him a year-long party.
Cal Ripken can get put on a pedestal for playing a lot of baseball games in a row. Barry Bonds can get a paper crown on his ginormous head for hitting a bunch of home runs. How come Julio Franco can play baseball and play it well for 23 years and no one seems to feel it's worth even mentioning?
Somebody had better be coming up with a Julio Franco Day pretty damn soon, that's all I can say.