The Fort Worth Cats’ General Manager, Craig Brasfield, proudly announced today that former major leaguer Julio Franco will join the Fort Worth Cats Baseball Club as player/coach for the first home stand of the 2014 season, which begins on Tuesday, May 20. Based upon Franco’s addition, the United League has extended the Cats initial homestand through Wednesday, May 28. Franco’s addition to the team will allow him to join a rare fraternity of players to play five decades of professional baseball.
Julio Franco, a former Texas Ranger, has a long and decorated Major League Baseball career that spanned 26 years and included play with eight different MLB teams, two Japanese League teams, one Mexican League squad and one other in Korea. In 2004, Franco passed Cap Anson as the oldest regular position player and thereafter became the oldest MLB player to hit a home run, a grand slam, a pinch-hit home run, multiple home runs in a single game, and to steal two bases in a single game.
Franco compiled over 4,200 hits in his professional playing career (major, minor and foreign leagues), making him one of only seven known players with at least 4,000 professional hits (joining the likes of Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Jigger Statz, Stan Musial and Ichiro Suzuki).
During the prime of his career, Franco was a three-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner, an All-Star game MVP (1990) and an American League batting champion (1991). Franco was a consistent run producer and feared hitter throughout his playing career. In addition, Julio was a fan favorite everywhere he played and particularly in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex as a member of the Texas Rangers (1989-1993).
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to play and coach in Fort Worth and reconnect with my friends, former teammates and Texas Rangers staff members,” said Julio Franco. “I love Fort Worth and I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with the younger players and entertain the fans.”
“I’m excited to have Julio as both a hitting coach and player,” Mike Marshall, current Cats’ manager and a playing contemporary of Franco during their respective careers, exclaimed. “Our players and fans are very lucky to get this opportunity and I’m sure Julio will make an immediate impact on the players and the community.”
The Fort Worth Cats open their 2014 season at home on Tuesday, May 20, when they host the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings at 7:05. The initial homestand includes nine games through Wednesday, May 28.
The Cats are scheduled to play 54 home games this season at historic LaGrave Field. Tickets can be purchased online at FWCats.com or by calling (817) 332-CATS.