Cooperstown Chronicles – John Franco

Apr 12, 2008

Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Wiltfongjr, a friend of mine from Sporting News, wanted me to profile John Franco.  Here are my findings. 

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

The Numbers
.508 Winning %
2.89 ERA (League ERA 3.96)
975 Strikeouts
1119 Games
424 Saves (4th All-time)
774 Games Finished (2nd All-time)

Playoffs: 15 Games, 2-0, 1 Save, 1.88 ERA, 14-1/3 Innings, 10 Ks

1988 & 1990 Rolaids Relief Awards
2001 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
4 All-Star Appearances
Cy Young Votes in 1 Seasons
MVP Votes in 2 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Winning % – Once
Games – Four times
Saves – Twelve times (Led league in 1988, 1990, 1994)
Games Finished – Nine times (Led league in 1987 & 1988)
Starts – Eight times
Innings – Five times (Led league in 1982 & 1984)

When I first thought of Franco, I figured he was a lock.  He’s 4th all-time in Saves, and 2nd in Games Finished.  He had eight 30 Save seasons, but never a 40.  That made me think maybe he wasn’t quite worthy.  His Adjusted ERA (ERA compared to the league), though, brings him back in the conversastion.  He has the 19th best adjusted ERA of all-time.  Not among closers, among all pitchers.  The guys behind him are Bruce Sutter, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Cy Young, Lee Smith, Sandy Koufax, Goose Gossage, and countless others.  I’m kind of on the fence here.  I say until Lee Smith gets in, I don’t even want to hear his name.  However, if forced to choose now, I’d say no.  He only made four All-Star teams and only led the league in Saves three times.  To me, he was always one of the best closers in the game, but not quite one of the very best.

Baseball Reference

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub
Gary Gaetti
Jimmy Ryan
George Van Haltren
Roger Maris
Lance Parrish
Mo Vaughn
Mark Grace
Dennis Martinez
Chuck Finley
Fred McGriff
Wes Parker
Steve Finley
Orlando Cepeda
Albert Belle
Willie Randolph
Graig Nettles
Luis Gonzalez
Lefty O’Doul
Rocky Colavito
Boog Powell
Jerry Koosman
Mike Cuellar
Edgar Martinez
Brooks Robinson
Roberto Alomar
Dave Stieb

Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |
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4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Larry Novak
    April 12th, 2008 at 7:51 pm #

    He was real good. but when I hear his name, I do not think..”Oh no..we are sunk”
    That is what I thought with Goosage, Sutter, Eckersly, Mariano Rivera..
    And if he keeps it up Jonathan Papolban(sp).

  2. Ryan Lester
    April 12th, 2008 at 8:53 pm #

    Larry – I couldn’t quite illustrate my thoughts. The way you did it was exactly what I was meaning to say. Thanks.

  3. LEV
    April 13th, 2008 at 6:27 am #

    this is a tough one for sure. closers so not get a lot of HOF love. just look how long bruce sutter and goose gossage took to get in. john was a great guy and a very big deal here in new york, but i think you are right. he doesnt get in before lee smith or even jeff reardon. of the current crop of relievers i think you can only two are real locks: mariano and trevor hoffman. papelbon needs some work (it’s only his 4th season) but he is sure on his way.

  4. Ryan Lester
    April 13th, 2008 at 6:51 am #

    excellent points. pap has a LONG way to go.

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