Thursday, May 10

Ageless

I’m sure you know all about Julio Franco – a man who has defied age and continues to play major league baseball, even though he’s closer to 50 than 20.

The stories you read about Julio Franco focus on his amazing endurance in relation to other baseball-related themes (e.g., he started playing before Cal Ripken’s streak started, he’s older than Rickey Henderson, etc.).

But when it comes to comparisons, sometimes you only truly appreciate the awe-inspiring when it is taken out of its usual context and placed alongside foreign objects.

That being the case, let’s put Julio Franco in a broader context. Franco’s first season in the majors came in 1982, the same year as the Falkland Islands War, the first artificial heart, and the release of the Commodore 64.

But back to hoops. The 1982 all-rookie team in the NBA – remember, this is Franco’s first season – included Jeff Ruland, Isiah Thomas, Kelly Tripucka, Jay Vincent, and Buck Williams.

Think about that for a second ... Julio Franco and Buck Williams both broke in the same year. Buck Williams!

It gets better. That spring, while Franco was plying his trade with the Phillies alongside Pete Rose and Steve Carlton, the Sonics were featuring one Danny Vranes, like Franco a rookie, and, coincidentally the 5th overall pick in the draft that year. Of course, it should be mentioned that Danny Vranes is younger than Julio Franco.

In other sports news in Seattle from '82, Mike Tice made nine catches in his second year with the Seahawks and the team simultaneously saw the end of the Eras of Zorn and Patera. I should mention that Tice, now long-retired from playing and a former head coach, is younger than Julio Franco.

I could go on, and this is the second time I’ve written about Franco (the last being two years ago), but the man is inspiring. From his 5,000 calories a day to his sojourn in the Mexican Leagues ... Julio Franco, we salute you.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's a good one: Julio Franco is 5 years older than Kevin Willis. Of course, Julio doesn't have to sprint up and down a basketball court ...

Jason said...

Nice comparisons--the guy is amazing. You could even say that he's closer to 75 than he is to 20.

Anonymous said...

I think the first thing they teach you at writin' school is that any story with a photo of Kelly Tripucka is a good story.