Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Retired - finally

Today's card is number 34T in the 1989 Topps Traded set, Julio Franco.

Franco announced his retirement two days ago in Mexico City. He played 23 seasons in the majors with eight different teams. Appearing three times in the All-Star game, winning a batting title once, and five Silver Slugger awards. Julio also played for four seasons as the oldest player in the majors.

Texas picked Franco up in a trade from Cleveland in December of 1988. At the time he was regarded as promising but somewhat troubled. Franco delivered for Texas though. In five seasons he won the batting title, appeared in his three All-Star games, won three of his Silver Sluggers, and was voted the MVP of the All-Star game.

Franco helped form the nucleus of the dangerous Texas batting order of the late 80's and early 90's. Once he was in a batting order alongside Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Ruben Sierra, Dean Palmer, and Ivan Rodriguez the results were devastating to opposing pitching. If the Rangers could only have come up with pitching to support Nolan Ryan, who arrived in Texas the same year as Franco, then the results might have included a post-season appearance.

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