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Julio Franco is coming out of retirement at age 55

May 16, 2014, 3:20 PM EST

Julio Franco AP

Julio Franco was still playing in the majors at age 48–and still playing really well at age 46–and now seven years after retiring he’s ready to put on a uniform again to play some independent ball.

According to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas the now 55-year-old Franco will serve as a player-manager for the Fort Worth Cats of the independent United Baseball League, with his first game slated for next Tuesday.

Franco is planning to play just one homestand, but as someone who’s still holding out hope that Jamie Moyer might take the mound again somewhere I think it’s pretty cool.

Here’s the official press release, which includes Franco saying that he looks forward to working with “the younger players.” Because there can’t be any older players, really.

  1. modernishfather - May 16, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    “Because there can’t be any older players, really.”

    I was about to make an Oil Can Boyd joke, but good lord – Franco’s even older than Boyd.

  2. TheMorningStar - May 16, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    He’d fit right in with the collection of fossils playing up in the Bronx…

    • lazlosother - May 16, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      As a Yanks fan I can assure you he wouldn’t, unless of course he’s injured.

      • TheMorningStar - May 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Hahaha…I stand corrected!

  3. bfunk1978 - May 16, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    A lot of 55 year olds are contemplating retirement and, generally speaking, staying there. This dude is really hooked by baseball to want to keep playing.

  4. jwbiii - May 16, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Awesome. He has the last MLB player older than me.

  5. thepittsburghkid - May 16, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    And leg kick.

  6. musketmaniac - May 16, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    the guy was a rookie in 1982. 3 all star 1 batting title an all star game mvp and 5 gold gloves. Mlb and the NBA should consider the player-manager. each team gets one, there’s limitations to when he can play. example; only in fourth quarter or over time in roundball. only after the bench is empty in hardball. This could really help with player development, as a young player might listen more since it’s still coming from a guy who is playing. A lot of great players at the end if their careers do not want to play mentor. And than their is the retirement end. Too many players at the end of their career fight retirement, this could easily smooth the transition.

    • largebill - May 16, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      Hmmm, sounds like what Cleveland has been doing in wasting a roster spot on Giambi.

      Give Franco and Giambi 250 AB’s and my guess is Franco would out hit Giambi and it wouldn’t be close even though Franco is 13 years older.

    • TheMorningStar - May 16, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      No need for consideration: Pete Rose and Frank Robinson were player-managers and there were a slew of NBA player-managers as well.

  7. largebill - May 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    On this note there are several old Indians who ought to come out of retirement for a few games just to get back on the Hall of Fame ballot in five years. Not sure that Kenny Lofton or Albert Belle are clear cut automatic Hall of Famer’s, but both of them deserved more consideration than they received.

    • mscxvd - May 16, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      Loften definetley deserved better

  8. disgracedfury - May 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    He’ll be better than anybody on the Met’s.

  9. TheMorningStar - May 16, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    I wonder if he’s still eating like 50 eggs a day.

    His wife was cooking for him 24/7, ha ha

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/01/sports/baseball/01mets.html?_r=0

  10. nbjays - May 16, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    Who does he think he is, Saturnino Orestes Armas (Minnie) Minoso?

  11. natstowngreg - May 16, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    When Satchel Paige made a one-game comeback with the 1965 Kansas City A’s, he was 59. According to baseball-reference.com, 59.080. Though with Satchel, age was not that precise a number. He threw 3 scoreless innings.

    When Minnie Minoso made his last comeback with the 1980 White Sox, he was 54. Again, it’s not easy to vouch for his actual age. He went 0-for-2. It was his second “for old time’s sake” comeback, the first being in 1976.

    So yes, it may well be possible to have players any older. It’s just that players tend to stick to the principle–when you’re that old, you stay retired.

    BTW, I haven’t given up on the idea of Jamie Moyer pitching in another MLB game.

  12. tfbuckfutter - May 16, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    Pretty sleazy move if you ask me.

    A simple publicity stunt designed to get a 4 year contract out of Ruben Amaro.

  13. blacksables - May 16, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    Damn. He was in the majors a month before I graduated from high school, and still there after 4 years of college and 20 years in the Army.

    Amazing.

  14. musketmaniac - May 17, 2014 at 12:33 AM

    I’m not saying the player/manager has to be the manager. and I’m not saying he should take up a roster spot. It would be interesting, There is more mop up ball than you would think. 14-2 in the 6th inning, we’ve seen outfielders pitch, pitchers pinch hit or play right field. With 50 or so absolutely meaningless games played in September every year. I think right now roids or no roids people would pay money to see Roger Clemens pitch to Barry Bonds. Keeping your allstars around can not be bad for the game.

  15. musketmaniac - May 17, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    I bet if offered a chance for 50 at bats a year for the next five years. Guys like Bonds, Thomas, lofton would only not coach, but be a general managers wet dream for public relations. Bonds might actually smile, sign autographs and waive his little cap.

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