Sixty-two years ago, a 15-year-old youngster from Hamilton, Ohio, became the youngest participant in a modern Major League game. For all of Joe Nuxhall’s incredible contributions to the game of baseball, and for all he’s meant to the Reds and their fans, 100 years from now, Joe’s youthful debut will be the thing that keeps him in the history books (if they’re still using books then…LOL). He will forever be the youngest player in big-league history.
Thirty-eight years after Joe’s debut, Julio Franco, born far from Hamilton in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic, made his Major League debut. But it isn’t Franco’s debut that is historic — it’s what he did earlier this season. The Mets first baseman, pinch hitter and ageless role model, hit a home run on April 20, 2006, at the age of 47 years and 240 days to become the oldest player to homer in a Major League game. He’ll turn 48 on Aug. 23. Amazingly, he signed a TWO-year contract with the Mets before this season, so he’ll be a Met until he’s at least 49. He hopes to play until he’s 50.
When the Mets were recently at Great American Ball Park, I thought it would be neat, and somewhat historic, to photograph the youngest player in history with the oldest man to hit a home run. The irony, of course, is the younger man in the photo is the oldest to homer. The older man in the photo is the youngest player ever, but you get the idea.
So here are a few shots, including a head-to-toe shot that can be downloaded for you to keep as an 8-by-10 piece of history. Julio Franco and Joe Nuxhall. Yet another piece of history in the birthplace of professional baseball:
Franco would like to play till he’s 50. One of his teammates said he could probably play till he’s 55 (and still look like he’s 35). Here he is taking batting practice (for probably the 40,000th time…)
Franco says he likes the NL, and enjoys playing defense. He even feels he could still play in the field every day.
TO SEE A LARGER VERSION
Click on the image to the left, which will open a new window.
TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION:
– Right click on this link
– Choose "Save Target As"
– Save the file to a location of your choice
– You now have a high-resolution 8×10 digital copy of this photograph. Feel free to print on your personal photo printer, or take it to your favorite photo center to have a copy made.