You’re Never Too Old

At least if you are the almost ageless Julio Franco.  He just signed up to be a player-coach for the Forth Worth Cats of the Independent-A United League.

Franco last played in the majors at age 49 and continued to play professionally after that in the Winter Leagues and in Mexico.  My guess is he’ll be used mostly as a pinch-hitter and a designated hitter, if the United League uses the DH.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Julio can still hit pitchers at this level.

Great players playing in the minors at this age is not entirely unheard of.  Satchel Paige pitched effectively in five starts in the AAA Pacific Coast League at the age of 54 (officially — his real age is still something of a mystery) and threw three shutout major league innings for the Kansas City A’s at age 58.   Jamie Moyer also last pitched in the majors at age 49.

Minnie Minoso got his last major league hit at age 50 and his last minor league hit (for the St. Paul Saints of the Indy-A Northern League) at age 67, although I don’t know how much effort the opposing pitchers made to get him out, since these late appearances were basically publicity stunts.  However, Minnie was still playing professionally in Latin America at least as late as age 47.

Long ago Orator Jim O’Rourke, Iron Man Joe McGinnity, Lefty George and Wally Schang all played professionally well into their 50’s.

Explore posts in the same categories: Baseball History

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