Julio Franco was last seen in the majors in 2007 at the record age of 49. Here we are eight years later and he’s still finding places to play baseball.
Franco first retired in 2008, but he hit the comeback trail last year when he appeared briefly for the independent league Fort Worth Cats. Now, at 56 years young, he’s off to Japan to serve as player-manager for the semi-pro Ishikawa Million Stars. Franco is familiar with the country, having spent the 1995 and 1998 seasons with the NPB’s Chiba Lotte Marines.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Million Stars aren’t sure how often Franco will play and where he will find himself in the field. When Franco joined the Cats last season, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his goal is to become a major league manager:
“I know it’s hard to get there, but everybody who got there went the same road. It hasn’t been easy for anybody. I think I can bring a lot to a club. I’ll keep learning, and eventually one day I’ll get there and again I’ll be a rookie, a rookie manager.”
It’s been 32 years since Franco was a rookie with the Phillies in 1982, yet it’s clear his love of the game hasn’t gone away.
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