Hall of Fame Poll: Julio Franco

Julio Franco

Would you vote Julio Franco into the Baseball Hall of Fame

Julio Franco had a pretty interesting major league career.

Franco came the majors as a short stop, getting into a few games for the Phillies in 1981 and then going to Cleveland, along with 4 other players, to get Von Hayes. He played short for the Indians until 1988, when they moved him over to second base. After the season he was traded to the Rangers for Jerry Browne, Oddibe McDowell and Pete O'Brien. He played for the Rangers for 5 years, transitioning from second base to DH. He really wasn't very good defensively in the middle infield but he had a great bat.

After that he bounced around from team to team, until he was pretty much out of the majors by 1998 at age 38 and we pretty much figured that was going to be his career. But then the Braves signed him as a free agent, late in the 2011 season, when he was 43 and he had a second career as a platoon first baseman for the next 5 years. After that, the Mets signed him to be a pinch-hitter. He played his last major league game at age 49.

His career slash line: .298/.365/.417 with 173 home runs, 1194 RBI and 281 stolen bases over 23 seasons.

Julio was 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting, back in 1983, though with a .273/.306/.388 line, I don't really understand why he got so maybe votes. He made 3 All-Star teams and led the AL in batting average in 1991, his best season in the majors, he hit .341/.408/.474, with 36 stolen bases.

I think Franco is a great story, playing the game in his late 40's, likely not a Hall of Fame player. If he had stayed a middle infielder, with the same offensive numbers, then he would have been a good candidate. He'd be a good choice for the 'Hall of Nearly Great'.

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