2001 - 2005
BiographyJulio Cesar Franco was born Julio Cesar Robels Franco, on August 23, 1985 in Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic. He graduated from Divine Providence High School (San Pedro de Macoris) in 1978 where he played baseball and basketball. Franco was signed as an amateur free agent in 1978 by the Philadelphia Phillies. He made his major league debut on April 23, 1982 with the Phillies. He played with Philadelphia in 1982,the Cleveland Indians 1983-88, 1996-97, the Texas Rangers 1989-93, the Chicago White Sox 1994, the Chiba Lotte Marines (Japan) 1995 & 1998, the Milwaukee Brewers 1997, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1999, the Samsung Lions (South Korea) 2000, the Angelopolis Tigers (Mexico City) 2001, the Atlanta Braves 2001-2005 and he began his career with the New York Mets in 2006. Julio Franco became a United States citizen in October of 1991. Some of Franco's hobbies include weightlifting, swimming, yoga, pilates, and basketball. Franco has made three All-Star game appearances (1989-91) and was named the All-Star Game MVP in 1990. He led the AL in batting average in 1991 (.341) and at-bats in 1984 (658). Twice Julio has hit over .400 in the Mexican League; he hit .423 in 1999 and .437 in 2000. Franco is the oldest player to hit a Grand Slam at age 47 in 2005, he is the oldest regularly-playing non-pitcher player in MLB history (age 48) and he had compiled over 4,200 hits in his 26-year professional career.
Braves Career Highlights2001: Signed by the Braves out of the Mexican League because of his gaudy hitting numbers...Had 16 hits in last 44 AB (.364) for Atlanta to raise his BA from .239 on Sept. 22 to .300...Also surprised many with superior glove work and quickness at first base...Hit .400 (10x25) vs. LHP...Hit .438 (7x16) with RISP...Hit a Mexican League best .437 with 18 homers and 90 RBI in 110 games in the regular season and .477 (21 x 44) with 3 HR and 13 RBI in 13 playoff games & Led Mexican League in hits with 178, a .497 OB%, and a .678 SLG% during the regular season & His homer Sept. 5 at Milwaukee was his first in majors since Sept. 24, 1997, with Milwaukee vs. KC off Tim Belcher & Homered in consecutive games Sept. 28-29 against the Mets. 2002: Started 69 games at first base, sharing the position with Matt Franco...Hit .312 (62 x 199) in last 72 games, starting June 15...RBI vs. Mets June 6 was the 1,000th of his career; finished season with 30 for 1,022 in career...Had a 9-game hitting streak May 24-June 5 (15 x 37, .405, 8 R, 5 2B, 6 RBI), including a 4-game multi-hit streak May 28-June 1 (2, 2, 2, 3)...Triple at Texas June 9 was his first in majors since 1997 with Cleveland...Had an RBI in four straight games (May 28-May 31) after having 1 through first 37 games (84 AB)...Hit in six different spots in the order (2nd through 7th)...2002 POSTSEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Division Series (SF): Went 2 x 5 with a run and an RBI in Game 3...Started all five games at first base, hitting .182 (4 x 22) with 2 runs, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. 2003: Hit .351 (33 x 94) vs. LHP, .339 (19 x 56) with RISP and .336 (36 x 107) on the road...Begins 2004 with a .300 career BA after hitting .290 in 2003...Hit safely in 33 of 38 starts (.317, 45 x 142), including 20 of last 23 (.346, 28 x 81)...On DL Aug. 17-Sept. 1 with fracture of left middle finger...2003 POSTSEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Division Series (Chi.): Had a solid series, appearing in four games hitting .500 (4 x 8) with a double and a run scored...Went 3 x 4 with a run scored in Game 4, a 6-4 Atlanta win...Went 1 x 2 with a double in Game 5. 2004: Posted the highest batting average (.309) in major league history for a player 43-or-older (minimum of 100 at-bats)...Had 16 RBI as a pinch-hitter, the most by a Brave since Keith Lockhart's 18 RBI in 1997...Led the team with 15 pinch-hits...Belted his first career pinch-hit home run on May 6th vs. San Diego (off Brian Lawrence)...Became the oldest player (45 years, 269 days) to hit a pinch-hit home run...Walloped his seventh career grand slam on June 3rd off Philadelphia's Josh Hancock, becoming the oldest player (45 years, 284 days) to hit a grand slam, breaking Carlton Fisk's mark...Drove in 57 runs to snap Pete Rose's record for RBI (25) by a player 45 years or older...Notched his 2,400th career hit on June 29th off Florida's Dontrelle Willis...Batted .385 (25-65) with 14 RBI in August...Played in three games in the Division Series vs. Houston. 2005: Led Atlanta with 14 pinch-hits...Collected his 2,500th career hit on July 30th vs. Pittsburgh with a second inning single off Mark Redman...Became the second oldest player to triple in a game on June 28th at Florida...Nick Altrock was 48 years old when he tripled for Washington in 1924...Broke his own records as the oldest player to hit a grand slam and passed Tony Perez as the oldest player with a pinch-hit home run with his eighth-inning, pinch-hit grand slam on June 27th at Florida (off Valerio De Los Santos)...Registered his first multi-stolen base game since July 17, 1994 and the 24th of his career on July 16th at Cincinnati...Cracked two home runs (both off Eric Milton) and drove in three runs on June 18th at Cincinnati...Broke Carlton Fisk's record as the older major leaguer to have a multi-home run game...Had a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning of Game Three of the Division Series vs. Houston.
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