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14 days until pitchers and catchers report

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14 days until pitchers and catchers report

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

14 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training for the Texas Rangers.

Julio Franco is someone who seems to epitomize a certain era in Rangers history, a guy who could hit, who was colorful, who didn't defend well, and who couldn't stay healthy.

What a bizarre career he had.  He had an age-change controversy before those were in vogue, was part of a huge trade between Philadelphia and the Indians when the Phillies just had to have Von Hayes, was part of a big trade between the Rangers and Cleveland when the Rangers had to have Franco.

He won a batting title for Texas then hit .234 the next season, went to Japan for a year, came back to the U.S., went back to Japan again a couple of years later, then went to Mexico, then to Korea, then back to Mexico.  Playing for the Mexico City Tigers in 2001, at the age of 42, he put up a slash line of .437/.497/.678.  That's pretty incredible for a 42 year old, in any league.

Oh, and then he spent another 7 years in the majors as a bench player, getting his last plate appearance in 2007, at the age of 49, when he had a pinch hit RBI single for the Braves.

When Julio Franco was signed by the Phillies, Jimmy Carter was president.  When he got his final hit, Obama was running for president.