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john franco, 1988 topps #730, reds

Player: Franco, John

Card: 1988 Topps #730

Position: LHP

You can’t judge a person by his size, but you could judge ’em by the heart he has. And I have always had a big heart. Every time I went out there I gave 150 percent. It wasn’t pretty at times, but I was under control and I knew what I was doing. And I enjoyed every minute of it, through the good times and the bad times.” – John Franco in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Mike Fitzpatrick, 06/04/2012, ‘Mets put John Franco, lefty Brooklyn closer, in team’s Hall of Fame’, Source)

John Anthony Franco was a left-handed relief pitcher between 1984 and 2005. Franco established himself as an All-Star player with the Cincinnati Reds before spending the majority of his career with the New York Mets. He ended his 22-year career with one final season with the Houston Astros.

John’s 1,119 career games pitched is a National League record, and ranks fourth in major league history. His 424 career saves ranks fifth all-time in major league history (ranking second when he retired), and remains the most by a left-hander. He was named to the NL All-Star team four times in his career. For 15 of his 22 seasons, he played for the New York Mets, serving as team captain in his final years with the team. Franco was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 2012.

He grew up in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn. His father, Jim Franco, was a New York City Department of Sanitation worker who encouraged his son’s baseball aspirations; John honored his father by wearing an orange Sanitation Department work-shirt under his jersey.

He is married to his high school sweetheart, Rose, whom he has known since he was 17. His son J.J. was drafted by the Mets out of high school, attended Brown University, where he played as an infielder, and was later drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2014 MLB draft.

(excerpted from SABR, Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen, and Wikipedia)

1986 Topps #54
1987 Topps #305
1990 Topps #120
1991 Topps #407
1991 Fleer #147
1993 Upper Deck #321
1993 Topps #25
2009 Sons of Italy Italian American Baseball Heroes #44

John is part of the New York City Born Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop


Franco is also part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop


John is also part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop


John is also part of the Cincinnati Reds Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop


John has also been an IABF Honoree – Go to the Next Stop


See all John’s baseball cards at TCDB


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Nick Pratto: Royals #2 Prospect 2018

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