Franco becomes oldest non-pitcher to play since 1993

Updated: April 8, 2004, 9:24 AM ET
ESPN

ATLANTA -- Julio Franco's latest milestone caught him by surprise.

The Atlanta Braves' first baseman became the first 45-year-old non-pitcher to play in a major league game since Carlton Fisk in 1993, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, when he went 0-for-4 in Tuesday's opener against the New York Mets.

"I wasn't aware of that," Franco said Wednesday. "You know why? Because I don't feel old."

Fisk, at 45, caught 25 games for the Chicago White Sox in 1993.

Franco made his debut in 1982 with the Philadelphia Phillies at 23, and won the AL batting title in 1991 with the Texas Rangers. Since signing with the Braves in 2001, he has platooned at first base and served as a pinch-hitter.

"He's probably in the best shape of anybody in this clubhouse," Atlanta left fielder Chipper Jones said. "When he walks in and gets dressed, you take one look at him and you're like, 'Holy Smokes!'

"There's a lot of 25-year-olds who don't even approach what he looks like from a physique standpoint."

And Franco doesn't plan to quit soon.

"A lawyer, an architect, a judge, people who work in an office all day, they don't feel that good," he said. "As long as I feel like this, I'm going to continue playing. I don't see why not."

Franco is now the oldest player in the majors. Reliever Jesse Orosco had held that distinction, but he retired last winter after pitching at 46.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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