Julio Franco: Former Milwaukee Brewer Still Swinging at 56

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Julio Franco has proven the old baseball adage that if you can hit, you can play. Way back in August of 1997, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Franco to a contract to finish out the rest of the season. At that point, he was a 38-years-old, 15 year veteran and looked to be in the twilight of his career. After the season, re-signing the veteran hitter seemed crazy for Milwaukee.

But Franco proved his career was far from done. Though he only played 42 games with Milwaukee that season, the 38-year-old continued to find work with other teams. Instead of hanging it up after a mostly disappointing season, he hung on and remained in the major leagues for the better part of ten more seasons until finally calling it quits after the 2008 season at the age of 48.

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Although his major league career has finally ended, Franco has shown that he still has a passion to play. CBSsports Mike Axisa is reporting that Franco will be back on the field this summer playing for the Ishikawa Million Stars semi-pro team in Japan as a player-manager. Though he is 56-years-old he still has what it takes to play at a high level.

In 23 seasons in the major leagues, Franco batted a career .298 with 173 home runs and 2,586 hits. In that time he was nearly won the Rookie of the Year, he was a three-time all-star and five-time Silver Slugger. He played for eight major league teams, including his two-months with the Brewers. In that season Franco batted .241 with four home runs and 19 RBIs.

Generally if a career spans over a decade it is considered to be solid, but Franco’s career has spanned across four. Just as he amazed playing into his late 40’s, his playing into his late 50’s is even more remarkable.

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