John Franco
vs. the Mets
John Franco
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Game Log Pitching
Memories of
John Franco
John Franco
Inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame, 2012
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 47 of 1043 players
John Anthony Franco
Born: September 17, 1960 at Brooklyn, N.Y.
Throws: Left Bats: Left
Height: 5.10 Weight: 175

John Franco has been the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup 20 times, most recently on January 13, 2018.


First Mets game: April 11, 1990
Last Mets game: October 3, 2004

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Got a funny Franco anecdote: Couple of years ago, right after Christmas, I was shopping at The Wiz on Staten Island. Suddenly, there was S.I. resident John Franco standing next to me, just a regular guy, browsing computer monitors. I had the presence of mind not to fawn over him and clamor for an autograph. Remembering that he was one of the Mets in the Wiz commercials, I leaned over to him and asked, "So, you get a discount for doing their commercials?" He laughed and said, "You'd think so, wouldn't you?" He was keeping an eye on his kids while his wife exchanged an item. I dunno, I thought he was pretty grounded for a professional athlete.

I went to the Mets 2nd home game of the season in 1999. It was getting late, but I wanted to stay for the whole game. Turns out I made the right decision when John Franco struck out Jorge Fabregas for save #400.

There are three players in team history who so personify the character of the team that they can be called "Mr. Met". The first was Ed Kranepool. The second was Mookie Wilson. And the third is John Franco.

Michelle Paz
I was so psyched when John Franco got his 400th save last year! That means a lot, especially when playing for the same team for over 10 years. I hope that his perseverance, willingness to be a "team player", and his determination net him the true prize before his career is over: A World Series ring.

John Franco is unquestionably one of the greatest players to ever wear a Mets uniform. I can't stand it when he gets booed. Here is a city kid, a Mets fan, who went to St. John's and is now fulfilling his dream by pitching for the Mets. Franco gives everything that he has to this ballclub and I can't wait for the day when number 45 is immortalized in left field. I know that Benitez is our closer but I wish we could get him some more saves so that he could break Lee Smith's record, get up to 500 and get into the Hall of Fame.

I like John Franco. I really do. It's July 9th, 2000, and lately he's pitched all right. It's just that he frustrates the living hell out of me when he's pitching. I went from college to Queens to meet my parents and watch a Mets game against the Dodgers on April 8. The Mets played so well against the Dodgers and had a 5-1 lead going into the eighth, when they put in Franco. Let's just say this was not a really good game for the Mets. They lost 6-5 and it really soured my memory of the game and the great performances in it, such as Jay Payton's first home run. On paper he's done well for the Amazin's, but when you watch him, you are at risk of a heart attack. There's no Met I'd like to see win a World Series more than him, but I'd rather have Benitez closing the games.

John Franco is one of those guys that fans are going to beat the crap out of him while he's in a Met uniform and then miss him like hell when he's gone. Sure he can be infuriating to watch, giving up cheap hits and walks occasionally, but this guy knows how to pitch. Pulls the string with that killer change up, always keeps hitters off balance. Very very few hard hit balls against him. Mostly bloops and seeing eye singles. His blown saves were more likely to be on infield hits than home runs. The best closer in Mets history, hands down.

flushing flash
Not to take anything away from the accomplishments of Benny Agbayani and Bobby Jones, but in my opinion John Franco was the MVP of the series against the Giants because of the way he neutralized Barry Bonds in the two times they faced each other.

Mackey Sasser
December 18, 2000
John Franco is without a doubt a Legend and is 1 of the Top 5 Mets of all time. Franco is a team player and gives it his all in each game he plays, but no matter what you will always have some "Mets Fans" bad mouthing him. Hopefully 1 day Franco will get the RESPECT he rightfully deserves

Won Doney
January 12, 2001
He is definately on my list of my 10 all time favorite Mets.

February 25, 2001
Very clearly in Jan.'98-first day of ticket sales for the new season. We were in the linne a long time and it was freezing out-wind whipping cold. He had just come out from the back of the stadium- some of us went up to him-asking for him to sign things. He just kept walking away-didn't even turn around -just went into their offices. Mr. BigShot I thought. See if I give you the time of day anymore. When they played in S.L this past Sept. he and Cook were in front of me tossing. I yelled out to him & they just kept throwing though no one else was on the field. So he is a jerk- and do us fans cringe at the sight of him entering a game-to think we got 3 more yrs of this selfishness. Learn some real professionalism from a terrific person like Ventura.

Jim Alderson
April 7, 2001
Sessa54, I don't think that whether someone stops to sign autographs or not makes them a good or bad person. No major leaguer signs an autograph every time they are asked to. Not even Ventura. Statistically speaking, you are 0 for 2 in your Franco autograph requests. Similarly, you can't judge a season by 2 at- bats or 2 innings pitched. Also, I'd like to say I would rather have Johnny closing when its all on the line than Benitez who is more prone to the long ball in pressure situations. Benitez has been proving this to us for years.

Coach HoJo 20
April 29, 2001
John Franco is the heart and soul of the New York Mets. He bleeds Orange and Blue. The guy gives it his all. Definitely one of the greatest closer of all time.

His style doesn't "blow you away" But it works and its effective. A lot of so called Mets fans love to bash this guy. These so called fans will pull stuff out of no where to bash this guy. "I hate him because he blew save against the cubs once." Big deal. Nobody is perfect.

I hope John breaks the saves record. He definitely deserves it. And when he retires I hope this organization throws a huge farewell party for him. Followed buy the retiring of number 45. Franco deserves all that and more.

Coach HoJo 20
May 5, 2001
Elected the Team captain yesterday. He certainly deserves this prestigious honor. He also recorded his 421 save. Now he needs 52 saves to break Lee Smith's record. Good luck Johnny boy I will be rooting for you big time!!!!

May 7, 2001
One of the very few bright spots for the Mets during the awful 90's. He's become probably the best leader they've ever had. Maybe even better than Mex.

May 12, 2001
I think that "The Captain" should be the Mets new closer

May 24, 2001
I am thorougly confused why Mets fans are giving John Franco a pass even though he has been terrible most of this season, yet they are pounding on Armando Benitez even though he is 3-1, with 7 saves and no blown saves at this point of the season. People are calling for Franco to be the closer even though his ERA is almost 2 full runs higher than Benitez's...I don't get it. Somebody please give me a rational (and not an emotional) reason why this is the case.

Mr. Ribbonton
June 8, 2001
After seeing John Franco interviewed many times, he seems like the kind of person you'd love to hang out with or invite over to a bar-b-que. He seems so genuine, fun loving and just happy to be in New York. Hell, John could blow 10 saves in a row and I'd still think he is the way ALL ball players should be. Best of luck to you John for years to come.

November 16, 2001
It is hard to knock John Franco considering everything he has done for the organization. But how did I know he was going to give up a grand salami to Brian Jordan to lose a 2nd heartbreaker in the 9th against the Braves? That was a moment in truth. John can't win the big one when it is all on the line. I still love him though. He is all time Met for sure.

December 16, 2001
Truly awful down the stretch in 1990. Still I'd rather see him in a close game than Benitez.

December 18, 2001
My two most vivid memories of John Franco:

1. John Franco Day in 1996 against Chicago, John got EJECTED FROM THE GAME! How do you get ejected on your day?

2. He acted like a total jerk when I, along with some other people, met him a Shea when we were working there.

So not only does he always blow big saves, but he's an a**hole too!

March 22, 2002
Years ago the Mets and hated Yankees were to play a spring training game in Washington DC. The game was rained out. However several Mets and Yankees players signed autographs for fans. I was with my 3 young sons who were trying to get autographs. They were standing against the railing at the edge of the field. The crowd surged forward and my youngest, who was about 7 then, was pushed against the rail, pinned there and started crying. John Franco came up to the rail and yelled for the crowd to get back. As the crowd moved back John pulled my son up in his arms and wanted to place him down on the field. Security would not allow him to do that so he held him for a few minutes and then put him back in the stands and signed an autograph for him. To this day when ever we see or hear John Franco's name my family all smiles and says remember when.... John is a good man in our book and will always be.

May 16, 2002
If they only had a stat for making a colossal mess and getting yourself out of it. I love John's personality, and his heart but I think it's time to hang it up and maybe become Bobby V's bench coach. I'd say pitching coach by Charlie Hough is doing fine. I think the team could use being around John's enthusiasm and maybe start getting more than two runs a game.

Anthony V
June 19, 2002
He proved to truly be a team player when he agreed to change his uniform number from 31 to 45 in anticipation of the arrival of Mike Piazza without even being asked to. I realize this is merely symbolic but it could have perhaps played a minor role in Piazza's decision to sign.

Now the problem is, when they retire his number, which one do they retire?

July 18, 2002
Last year I was watching a game Mets vs. Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark (I'm born and raised in Queens but stuck in Arizona for a while.) I'm sitting there with my wife (we're both decked out in Mets clothing of course). Franco comes in against Luis Gonzalez and strikes him out with two on and the game on the line. I was so sick of hearing everyone screaming Gonzo! John made me proud to be a Mets fan (the Mets won) and shut up all those morons wearing purple.

September 23, 2002
For those of you who trash Franco for not signing for them he gave my kids a ball after Jay Payton broke my kids hearts.

Also I played in a WMCA 2 hand touch football league about 20 years ago and as we show up to play the game against this team from Bensonhurst we look up and their QB was John Franco of the Reds. He killed us. He also decked one of my teammates while he was playing defense. After the game he was really cool and talked to us before he went home.

November 24, 2002
Should have retired three years ago. Never enjoyed watching him pitch and I have never forgiven him for blowing those saves in the last week of the 1998 season that blew the playoffs for the Mets.

January 2, 2003
I know John Franco in person. I saw him a couple of weeks ago and he said he was going good. He said he should be back by June of 2003. Franco is a good closer. He's better than Benitez.

January 7, 2003
I agree as a person John is terrific, I think he is a generous chartible guy and one hell of a motivator, but as a reliever even during his hey-day with the Reds I felt he had nothing and was a total junk-baller. The only reason he got his stuff over was because the hitters hadn't figured him out yet. Now all he's good for is getting out September call-ups because they haven't realized that he's going to throw that out of the strike-zone into the dirt type garbage that he throws & although Benitez wins the ultimate choke award for pitching in games where it counts, I've been to oh so many Met games where they were ahead 6-4 or 3-2 and John came in and gave the game away, he should stop thinking about a 2003 comeback and go into coaching, I think thats where he'll do his best work of his career.

Tom Howard
July 22, 2003
I remember how mad John Franco was when the Mets kept Rick Reed after he played as a "scab" player. Franco was the union rep at the time and didn't seem to care that Rick Reed needed the money to pay for his Mother's substantial medical bills. It seemed Franco didn't care when the umpires went on strike and he crossed their picket line. And now we find out that Franco goes straight to the owner and tells him who to get rid of. Is this what a "good" union man does? It's time to retire John.

Max Power
July 24, 2003
It was good to see Johnny get a save the other night although it was pretty shaky. The pitch he made to Bobby Abreu was up in the strike zone, definitely not where he wanted it but he worked through it and got the last out. But the next day he was in position for another save and almost blew it. Art Howe had to take him out of the game and let Dan Wheeler bail him out. If only Art could have done that to Benitez he might not have had so many blown saves. But, at this point it appears Franco is shot. I love ya Johnny but I think it's time to hang them up with your buddy David Cone.

August 12, 2003
Ok John, You proved you could come back from the "Tommy John" surgery. But it also shows my man you have nothing left in the tank. Retire before you get released. And what is this smiling every time you give up the winning hit? We could do without that also.

August 12, 2003
John-I think that's enough after Saturday nights game. I hate it when these guys don't know when to give it up, they would rather go out stinking on ice than leaving a nice career intact. (And I'm being kind here in John's case.) For the past 3 or 4 years he can only get rookies and September call-ups out with that garbage he throws with absolutely no velocity. Steve Finley jacked him out of the park on Saturday because a veteran who knows better is going to cream him time & time again. I never thought he was amazing when he supposedly considered good, and now I think it's time to become a coach. I love his attitude and always have, but I think he should have become part of the Mets coaching staff years ago instead of inflicting this kind of pain on us fans. He reminds me of that guy everyone loves in a bar who insists on singing karoake even though he's horrible and everyone humors him. In this case letting Johnny sing is hurting the team. Say goodnight Gracie and hang it up already.

Kenny M
September 16, 2003
I agree totally with Shari..I'm sure he is a great guy, epitomizes New York and the organization, is a company guy who the Wilpons love, and presses the right buttons with management, media, and community, but as a player, I ALWAYS felt he was overly praised and overrated. He has career stats due to a few good seasons but mostly due to longevity, and seems like he is always on the DL, but for some reason (probably as I stated above), this guy hangs on year after year and makes no impact on the team whatsoever. Just a good guy who people seem to like to have around. John should have retired years ago, and when I heard that he underwent that surgery recently to prolong his career rather than retire, I couldn't believe that he or the team allowed that to happen. But why not hang on if you were paid millions per year? It will kill me someday when he is elected into the Mets HOF, which is unfortunately already a done deal. Hang it up, John.

Pat Stafford
February 2, 2004
The memory of Franco that stands out most is in 1997 when he grew a goatee and he screamed, "Come on Butch!" at Butch Huskey who couldn't catch up to any fly balls and he blew the save. 'Nuff said.

Jonathan Stern
February 5, 2004
Local boy makes good. Plays for his favorite team, helps it win a pennant. Racks up a record number of saves before settling for setup role. Dresses up like Santa Claus at each of his team's Xmas dinners...

I don't know why, but, though I'd like to, I have never really been able to embrace the man who has put in more consecutive seasons in a Mets uniform than Ed Kranepool. Maybe it's because the Save is such a hollow stat. Maybe it's because Franco was among the pitchers who made the Save such a hollow stat. Maybe it's because I haven't forgotten the way he set in motion the 1998 choke (I was there that night). And maybe it's because of the way he has remained while so many others have gone... amidst rumors of backstabbing by certain key teammates, Franco among them.

The last point should be treated with caution. We don't know the whole story about Franco or about the post-Subway-Series Mets. All we know is that the Mets have spent $300 million+ to lose with a ragtag bunch led by a round-table of Franco, Leiter, Piazza, and now... Glavine(!), all of whom were, according to Nelson Doubleday, honorary GM's.

Too many things don't cohere about Franco, the last three seasons, the Mets in general. One thing is for sure: Franco's ultimate Met legacy is FAR from determined. It will be interesting how much of the truth comes out over the next several decades. And whether Franco will be remembered with fondness or with disdain.

Jonathan Stern
February 10, 2004
After Pete Rose was banned from baseball, I was chatting with a Reds fan who told me that he heard that several of Rose's players were involved with gambling as well, among them John Franco. Anyone?

Also, I was at John Franco Day in 1996. A Cubs pitcher threw inside to Pete Harnisch (dumb move). Harnisch responded by punching the Cubs catcher (his long-time friend Scott Servais!), triggering the longest bench- clearing brawl I have ever seen live at Shea. Dallas Green towered over everyone on the field - it was funny to see this big white-haired guy in the center of the whole thing.

Later, Franco emerged out of the dugout partially out of uniform, screaming at someone. Then we realized: he had been thrown out of the game! On his own day! The same day that had been declared John Franco day in Queens and Brooklyn. The fans were cheering "Franco! Franco! Franco!" It was great! I was cheering for him, too. I guess it's okay to cheer a guy standing up for his teammate on a day that began with a lovefest in his honor. Even with kids in the park.

During his speech, Franco referred to Dallas as "a second father figure." Interesting, considering the way in which Green is generally remembered by players and fans.

February 17, 2004
Jonathan I completely understand your sentiments. I don't know about the part about the backstabbing. As a person I find John quite likeable, but the plain fact is HE JUST ISN'T THAT GOOD. Even in his prime I never thought he was great, and the last 5 years or so all he is good for is getting out September call-ups who don't realize he's going to throw that 80 mph junk in the dirt. Every game I was ever at that he came into he gave up the lead. I wish he would retire and become a coach already.

April 10, 2004
Basically I hate John Franco. He's just a smug Napoloean complex typical Brooklyn punk. We all know the type and he's a jinx. The Reds couldn't win until he was gone, and now the Mets will never win until he is gone. He is the physical embodiment of what is wrong with the Mets. They want to go young and safe so no Vlad or A-rod but here he comes to load the bases every 5 days, and why? Because the worst owner in sports history likes the guy. GIVE ME A BREAK! Every time I see him I get angry. He is so awful, he never did what he was supposed to do here, he's not a fan favorite.

Mr. Sparkle
April 10, 2004
John Franco has had a great career but it is time to hang them up. He can't do it anymore. I love the guy but enough is enough. The Mets are loyal to him but he is taking up a roster spot for someone who deserves it more. Maybe Ricky Botalico would have made the team if John weren't around. Last night John stunk up the joint and showed he will have more off nights than on nights. Time to be a coach, which I believe he would be a great one. It's too bad his injury lost him his closer's job and his shot at the all time save record.

June 14, 2004
My memories of John have not changed-I absolutely cringe when he comes into a game. Now that he's older he is not fooling anyone with that crap he throws in the dirt, he has no velocity on his pitches and he never did. All he is good for is getting out rookies and September call ups that never faced him before, and he's not even so good at getting those guys out. Yes he is one of the all time save gurus, but if they had my favorite stat that I call "The Agita Save" where you come into a game make and absolute mess and get out of it by the skin of your teeth-he would truly be Agita Save Leader in all of baseball. I wish he would just retire already and stop taking up a roster spot.

June 14, 2004
John Franco was never a guy hitters feard, was never a guy who spelled "game over" when he was called in from the pen. As so many have posted here, the save is the biggest BS stat in baseball (look at how many 3+ inning saves Tug McGraw got for the Mets and Phils). A save is more meaningful for putting out a 6th inning fire than for pitching a scoreless 9th with a 3-run lead.

The Mets have no justification for carrying this guy except that he is a fellow Brooklynite like Wilpon. Even though the hung around to appear in the 2000 WS, that team will leave no historical charm as the previous pennant winners-- they were two-time wild card teams. That is the type of soft rule by which Franco has coattailed his entire career.

June 14, 2004
Enough with this Franco-bashing. He is still an effective pitcher. Not to mention Johnny is is a team guy, something that is completely absent from today's game. Even Piazza, who I love, put himself in front of the team when he bristled at the idea of playing first. (to break Fisk's record) Franco turned down a sure chance to become the all-time save leader (with Philly or Baltimore in 2000) to stick with the Mets. How many of these overpaid babies would do that?

Furthermore, had Bobby V used Franco a little more in the 2000 World Series, since the Mets had a great defense and Franco is a ground-ball pitcher and the Yanks were heavy on lefties perhaps we wouldn't have whimpered out in 5 sorry games. Go Johnny Go!

June 28, 2004
Franco has been just as hitable now with his "new arm" as he was before the surgery. Hang it up Franco and just be a bullpen coach.

Jonathan Stern
August 10, 2004
Whoa! I made a mistake - I left out a couple of words: "John Franco put in more seasons in a Mets uniform than ANYONE EXCEPT Ed Kranepool." Honest! I left out those two words by mistake. I knew that Kranepool put in 18 while Franco is on his 15th. Funny how even talking about sports can be a test of one's manhood... or womanhood.

The late September night Franco blew a save to effectively end the 1998 Mets' postseason chances was one of the ugliest evenings at Shea I have ever attended. Even the weather was ugly: huge, thick, tar- black clouds rolling over the decrepit ballpark like the shadows that used to scare me as a child. And when the inning ended, all around me, perhaps all over the entire New York tri-state area, cries of, "FRANCO SUCKS! FRANCO SUCKS! FRANCO SUCKS!" Thousands of men, women, children, maybe even a couple of nuns, all united in one angry, violent, terrifying chant of unrestrained hatred.

I didn't join in. I was too numb from the game, the weather, and the sheer hostility of so many who were around me. The fans weren't wrong, but they weren't right either. Franco blew it, plain and simple. Top of 9th, bases empty, no outs, three-run lead, close the damn game, that's your job! He didn't, and he must have felt like someone ripped out his insides.

August 10, 2004
I promise this will be the last time I post on Franco-- - but for ANYONE to say he is still an effective pitcher may be the most outlandish remark on this whole website. He is a pure mop up man at this point in his career, and Art Howe knows it. Franco is never brought in to get a key out, because he can't ( neither can Stanton, but thats another story). The fact that the Mets are not letting Royce Ring get the innings Franco is wasting and develop as a major leaguer shows that management has no intention of stepping down from their pompous stance. (See the Mike Cameron vs Vladimir Guerrero, or the Kaz Matsui vs Miguel Tejada debacles.) Franco is the symbol of the "also ran" status that apparently will pervade Shea Stadium for years to come, as it has throughout his career.

September 1, 2004
Here is what I will always remember about John Franco. He is the biggest con artist in sports history. First, he has conned the press into believing he is a team first kind of guy-- anyone who watched though can remember how many times he has glared at a fielder who made an error behind him, and usually he made sure that the error led to disaster ( when you walk 1/2 the hitters you face, it's true, there is no room for errors). Then he tried to make the players union into a gang, terrorizing the Rick Reeds for not belonging to Johnny's "club." And finally, he conned Mets management into believeing a 42 year coming back from arm surgery was worth the roster spot, and the $$ they spend, when he is absolutely incapable of working a scoreless inning anymore. The guy is an albatross, and the ship is sinking under his weight.

September 9, 2004
My 8-year old and I have seen him many times around Staten Island either at soccer or basketball games with his son. Although he is trying to have his "family time", he ALWAYS takes time out to meet and sign for anyone who happens to ask him. A class act, nice guy, and a future Hall of Famer! Can be on my team any time! Thank you John!

Joe P.
September 24, 2004
Johnny- I love ya, you're from my old neighborhood, I've been following your career since the beginning. But (as much as I hate to admit it) it's time. You got a great personality, and will make a fine coach. Hang it up. You have already proven yourself, especially coming back from the elbow surgery. {Just stay out of the front office stuff. You are a part of 'The Committee', and could have had a hand in the Kazmir mess. Was it that important to hear the rest of that song in Spring Training?)

Bubba Agbayani
December 15, 2004
Good riddance to the most damaging player in Met history. Over 100 blown saves as a Met. The 1998 wild card race lost single handedly by him. 2001 home run to Jordan. Clubhouse belligerent and Jeff Wilpon sycophant. And worst of all, the progenitor of the Kazmir trade, costing us 200 wins in the future. I don't want to see your ugly mug again at Shea.

December 27, 2004
On the influence of John Franco in his firing, Bobby Valentine said: "I think John Franco thought he could manage and was going to manage, and it clouded a lot of the decisions he made. He was never in my office to help me with any information. Many players thought Johnny was in it for something other than the well-being of me and the Mets." Yup just another reason to love Franco, and wish he would have been jettisoned years ago.

Mr. Sparkle
January 10, 2005
John had only 19 blown saves for the Mets. I know a lot of fans don't like him but he was a very effective closer for the better part of 10 seasons for the Mets. He blew a few games, like game 6 in Atlanta along with Armando and Kenny Rogers, but he did so many more positive things than negative. He got the only Met win in the 2000 Series, and if he had been closing instead of Armando we might have won that series. Yes, he definitely overstayed his welcome but he is one of the best closers we ever had. Maybe he was a little selfish at the end but overall he was great to have on the team.

January 10, 2005
Thank god we have cut this "Hometown" hero loose. He was a good closer at some time, but that era passed years ago. He is a great example of a person whose vision of his own importance clouds his judgement. He used his power and influence poorly and along with Al Leiter was actually working, unknowingly, against organizational improvement. The loss of these two guys will positively affect the team for the next few years regardless of the talent loss.

January 14, 2005
Respectfully Mr. Sparkle I agree with you most of the time, but not here. Franco had only 19 blown saves in the books, but I think you have lost sight of all of the games he came in to "save" and he let the opposing team tie it where he either came away with a no decision or a win when someone else bailed him out. I call this particular stat "The Agita Save" too bad those aren't on the books.

Andy from Rego Park
January 24, 2005
It's official... Franco has inked a one-year pact with the 'stros... closing the book on a long history with the Mets that, when you come right down to it, wasn't really filled with signature moments. True, he made his milestone saves with the Mets, was a team leader and the team's captain, but I have a hard time remembering Franco slamming the door on any big big wins. Like Armando Benitez, Johnny B. Goode had a tendency to let the big ones blow up on him (Brian Jordan, for example.) Maybe its just that the big losses hurt more than the big wins felt good.

That said, whether you agreed with him or not, he was a stand-up guy and never forgot his hometown roots. He'll be back... sooner or later, in some capacity, he'll be back.

April 12, 2005
Nothing gave me more pleasure yesterday than to watch this smug little jerk do what he has done so many times for the Mets at Shea stadium-he coughed up a 2 run single to left hand hitting Cliff Floyd. I giggled with delight when I saw it happen. Watching him do this for a team other than the Mets has been one of my baseball fantasies for the last 15 years.

February 12, 2006
To me he is the textbook example of what an overrated player is. Puts up good numbers, but if you saw him struggle to throw strikes the way he did so many times you'd wonder how he even got to the show. If you were smart enough to just stand there he'd walk you.

Then there are the "intangibles". I remember one spring training where they had Isringhausen stay at his place with him so Franco could mentor him. Isringhausen then goes out and melts down and he gets traded.

Then there was a game I was at shortly after the player's strike when between innings a loud firecracker goes off in the bullpen, clearing it out and Franco runs out first onto the warning track then gestures like "I didn't do it."

There was another game I was at where I saw him struggle through an inning throwing ball after ball and when he finally got the third out he waves goodbye to the umpire and gets ejected.

He'd get a pass on this kind of stuff because of an amicable relationship with the reporters. He always gave good quote. Not my cup of tea. Glad he's gone, bringing him back in any capacity would be a mistake in my book.

April 21, 2006
I still can't believe the Mets traded Randy Myers for him. Completely overrated. Single-handedly blew the Mets chance for making the playoffs in 1998.

May 10, 2006
This guy seemed to start every hitter off with a 2-0 count. The next pitch would be in the dirt and more times than not the batter would swing at it. I hoped the National League would just let every hitter start off with an automatic 2-0 count when Franco was pitching simply to speed the game up.

August 2, 2006
I have to question a substantial amount of "pro"- Franco quotes here. I am a LIFETIME Mets fan - however I was never a fan of Franco, on the contrary everytime he was brought into a game in a save situation I would shut the t.v. or radio off. This was always substantiated every time Franco would get an out and have that "Thank God" look on his face. He was more surprised that he got the out than all of us. He should without a doubt be remembered as a Red, and should not be listed on the "Hometown Heroes" vote!

Mitch Cohen
August 24, 2006
My one vivid memory of John Franco was in the 1991 season, during the latter part of the season, when the Mets were in their free fall. I had gone to a game on September 8, 1991, between the Mets and Braves, which was started, ironically, by Tom Glavine. After Glavine got hit hard in the first inning, for four runs, he settled down, as good pitchers do, allowing nothing more, and allowing Atlanta to rally, with the key blow being a home run by first baseman Brian Hunter of the Braves, off John Franco, one of only two that Franco allowed that year. Atlanta went on to win the game, and, it was a great moment for me as a Braves fan, to be at that game, and see my team rally, against a great closer like Franco, who had saved so many games against us.

August 24, 2006
Although Johnny Franco made me cringe whenever he was brought in to save a game, he was without a doubt the most personable of all the Mets. He always made sure that every kid who was waiting patiently for him to sign a baseball, a cap or a card got his signature.

September 8, 2006
I will never understand a pitcher that starts off the batter with a change-up. What are you changing-up from--NOTHING. Dumb pitcher.

Also heard a rumor that he along with Leiter pushed Wilpon to trade Kazmir, because they did not like Kazmir. Way to go team player.

This site must contain all the pro-Franco supporters, because I have never met one in person.

The Ghost of Bad Met Trades Past
December 6, 2006
Played with the Mets for what... 14 years? The Mets still got the short end of the Myers for Franco trade.

January 24, 2007
I think that on balance, the Mets got the better of the Randy Myers for John Franco trade. Yes, in the later years Franco was inconsistent but if you look at his stats, he put up very good ERA and K numbers every year.

Unfortunately, he's going to be remembered as someone who blew some big games, but not someone who saved a lot of games for a lot of bad Mets teams.

January 24, 2007
All we need to remember about Johnny Franco is his strikeout of Bariod Bonds (looking) to end Gane 2 of the 2000 NLDS. A great moment in Mets history...

John Cropp
October 20, 2008
When 31 goes on the wall, it will be for John Franco as much as for Mike Piazza.

Even if the Mets don't want to acknowledge it, John Franco was the only consistently good thing about the team from the day he arrived until Piazza joined the team.

37 Casey Stengel 14 Gil Hodges 41 Tom Seaver 42 Jackie Robinson 31 Mike Piazza (John Franco)

Herbie Versmels
February 5, 2009
You've gotta be kidding me with the #31 commentary.

Franco's the most overrated Met of all-time, and weaseled his way into the Wilpons' trust-tree along the way.

He had as much to do with the crappy construction of the early 90's team with Leiter -- as anyone else could've; throwing their terrible "suggestions" up to management.

Guy's as overrated a closer as they come (just look at his WHIP) -- and really, I don't see what the fascination has ever been with this guy....other than longevity on horrendous teams.

If anything, he's the epitome of an organization who ran on a treadmill at the same, slow speed for years. Lucky for him, the '99 and '00 teams finally made the postseason.

February 9, 2009
Herbie has hit the nail on the head; this guy is a joke who, amidst total mediocrity, managed to promote himself to the point of claiming legitimacy. But suddenly the Trevor Hoffmans, Lee Smiths, and John Francos are being exposed for what they were, one-dimensional players who found a salary-pumping statistical niche to make a name for themselves. They got the money, we can't take that back, but as far as the accolades, history will leave them as the (so-so) aberrations they truly were.

Feat Fan
February 11, 2009
He was no Dick Radatz, Bruce Sutter or even Stu Miller! Actually, he wasn't even Jack Hamilton. Another just okay reliever who hung on to "save" games with a 7.76 ERA, a compiler!

Randy Scouse Git
February 16, 2009
What's with all these pathetic comments about John? Don't you people know that he is one of the all-time great relief pitchers? The Mets were fortunate to have him for 15 years of his career that featured a National League record for games pitched.

Let me refresh your memories - assuming you have any, that is! When John arrived in 1990, he became the first Met ever to win the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award with a team record 33 saves. It was his first of five 30-save seasons with the team. One of these years was strike-shortened 1994 and, on top of that, he saved 29 games in 1995, which also had a reduced schedule. John was also the first lefty to reach both the 300 and 400 save marks. That's something nobody can take away from him. The Mets may not have always contended while he was here, but John was still a guy who got the job done. He was the finest relief pitcher the Mets ever had.

I'm not going to judge if he's Hall of Fame caliber. Whether he is or not may be irrelevant since relievers always have a hard time getting inducted anyway. But John deserves a lot more respect than what he's been getting on this website!

Maureen Marsh
February 20, 2009
I grew up with Johnny Franco. I lived in Marlboro Projects on Stillwell Ave. in Brooklyn. I lived in 7a and his family lived in 7d. What a great family he has. I was so surprised when I saw him pitching for the N.Y. Mets, still my favorite team. I was trying to get in touch with him when I saw him on the field but never got through. The memories Of Brooklyn and the Francos will last a lifetime. Not to mention Coney Island also! Go METS!

February 20, 2009
The most recent comments posted by Randy Scouse Git pretty much tell the story exactly: he starts by challenging my memory and then pours out the meaningless numbers by which he defines John Franco.

It would seem to me that any fan who was born before 1975, and therefore can remember baseball further back than the mid 80's are the ones who agree with me.

What I DO remember is that it wasn't only the HOF'ers (Fingers, Eck, Goose et al) that dwarfed John Franco, but there were men like Mike Marshall, Tug McGraw, Don McMahon, Lindsay McDaniel, Steve Hamilton, Kent Tekulve who had wonderful careers as relievers. Their value wasn't measured in saves, but in their ability to give their teams the chance to win. A middle relief hold a la early Rick Aguilera was worth at least as much as a sloppy 9th inning where the opponent ONLY scored 1 or 2 runs. If one looks back at the performances and RELIABILITY of these men, (the certainty they would get the job done) while ignoring the save statistic altogether, the bartender will have called last call long before anyone bothered mentioning John (PUNK) Franco.

Edgy DC
February 23, 2009
I'll take Git's numbers over calling the guy a punk because you don't like the closer-driven system under which he was asked to pitch. I'll also take them over the made-up scenario implying that giving up one- two runs per inning in a three-run save was typical.

It wasn't. He gave the team a 3.10 ERA over 15 years. If he left the team after, say, 11 years, it would have been a 2.81 ERA. If Art Howe used him as a lefthanded specialist at the end of his career --- a role many other fine lefthanded closers transitioned to --- it probably also would have been lower. But he lost his effectiveness against righthanders after his surgery. Nothing shocking there.

His career ended with diminishing performance. It happens to everybody. That's not punk, it's reality.

I'm 41. It's not about age. It's about perspective.

June 16, 2010
The Hall of Fame ought to have a special ballot for relief pitchers. Some are already in the Hall, but many others are not and should be by now. If there was such an election, John and the other great closers would get the honor they deserve.

January 17, 2011
I can't believe Johnny got snubbed big time in the Hall of Fame voting. The man with the most saves for a lefty reliever arguably deserves to be in the Hall, or at least another shot on the ballot! The writers gave him barely anything, which is unbelievable.

I think that non-Mets fans will never appreciate John Franco like us Mets fans do. Sure, only a handful of his Mets seasons were winning seasons, but he was healthy and dependable for the most part, and for 15 years (minus '02 since he was hurt all year). He racked up saves, and was very underrated throughout his career.

One day, maybe this error will be corrected and Franco will go in the Hall. For now, we can look forward to an eventual Mets Hall of Fame induction, and maybe even a retired number (45, I would guess). All in all, Johnny had a great Mets career and I'm sure everyone appreciates all the work he does now to help the Mets off the field as a respectable club ambassador.

Shickhaus Franks
August 31, 2011
As I was reading many of the fans comments about Mr. Franco, I realized that he gets thrown under the bus a lot but NOT by me; how can anyone DISLIKE the guy who introduced Lou Monte's "LAZY MARY" as part of the 7th inning stretch.

Also, before he joined the Mets as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, he was involved in 2 of the craziest Mets-Reds games in the late 80's.
(1) The July 22, 1986 brawl where Franco was on the mound when Dave Parker dropped the fly ball which led to the wild Ray Knight-Eric Davis brawl and the double switching by Davey Johnson.
(2) Was on the mound when Mookie Wilson hit the ground ball base hit that scored Hojo with the bang-bang play that ump Dave Pallone called Mookie safe (belatedly) which led to the wild altercation between Pete Rose and Pallone.

Plus we cannot leave out him helping New York City recover from the horrible terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; I can still remember thinking about his son's Little League coach that died on that bad day (He was a member of the FDNY). Plus that same son is now an Ivy Leaguer playing ball at Brown University (the same school that produced ESPN's Chris Berman).

January 26, 2012
Congrats to John Franco for being the 26th inductee into the Mets Hall of Fame!!! A well deserved honor for arguably the greatest left-handed closer ever. I actually met Franco last week and got his autograph and a picture with him! It was a fun day.

January 30, 2012
Game 6 of the 1999 playoffs against the Braves. Mind-melting up-and-down game, Mets have lead in the 8th. Franco doesn't hold the runner on and they score, tying the game up. This seems pretty typical of my memory of Franco; game in mid-June against the Cubs? No problem. Season on the line? Forget about it. When Franco was traded to the Mets he was at the time the longest-serving major league player without any post-season games played. Frankly a lot of the reason was staring at him when he shaved in the morning. And I learn that he's the guy that suggested playing Crazy Mary in the 7th inning. Now I really hate him.

April 6, 2012
The Wilpon era mascot, this statistical joke of a team leader should be hushed and whispered about like ancestors who held slaves or ran ponzi schemes. Instead the biggest horses behinds of a management in all of sports chooses to immortalize this punk in the Mets Hall of Fame, a place for visiting fans to obviously come and laugh as they haven't since childhood. The day he tried to freeze Rick Reed out of the Mets clubhouse he disqualified himself as a team Hall of Famer. But team Wilpon doesn't care about that, or the fact that he led the team to winning NOTHING ( 2 wild cards aren't exactly enshrinement-able)... they may get to sell a couple of his ridiculous black jerseys in that gift shop they call their Hall of Fame.

April 6, 2012
Metsmindless, when are you going to grow up and stop referring to John as a "punk?" Just accept the fact that he is the Mets' all-time leader in saves and will continue to be for a long time to come. Mr. Franco is also one of the most respected and well- liked people in the history of the team. Let's not forget his role when the 9-11 tragedy occurred.

There is nothing about John that merits the word "punk".

April 13, 2012
There are several reasons why in fact punk is the cleaned up version of what Franco deserves to be called. The Rick Reed "incident" (and it wasn't an incident, it was an ongoing campaign to belittle a man) should suffice for all of us. I do have 2 personal stories that add to my distaste for the guy, but they would be considered hearsay to repeat them here. I know you don't know me, but I ask you to please trust me, I know what I am talking about.

And incidentally, I was working in the World Financial Center on 9/11/01 and I experienced first hand the fear and horror of the event, and I was back to work THERE on the following Monday (that's right) and was exposed to all the sadness and toxins and whatever else was thrust upon us. I saw true heroes down there day after day. John Franco wearing an FDNY hat and serving cookies to affected families was a nice gesture, but that's all it was because that's all as a ballplayer he had to offer. We somehow make a big deal of the return of baseball to Shea Stadium that fall. Don't be fooled, this guy was a jackass 365 days a year both before and soon after that little show.

On his first trip to NY as a Cincy Red, he dissed my autograph seeking younger brother in such an arrogant way, and that arrogance never disappeared for a moment. But not to worry, his peers knew he was bag of hot air.

How many All Star snubs does it take to be told, "we don't respect you" He has a trophy room full of those my friend. Luckily for him he found the one loser, Fred Wilpon, who would be bamboozled by Franco's Brooklyn-ness. And the way Lee Smith is being ignored by the Hall of Fame tells you exactly how to value all those saves Franco compiled.

April 20, 2012
I'm glad to see that John will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. He belongs with all the great Mets players of the past. The team has never had a better relief pitcher.

John should also be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Let's hope that one day there will be a ballot for relievers like himself that have been passed over for induction.

The Genuine Mets Mind
April 20, 2012
John's election to the Mets Hall of Fame is a just and worthy award. The man was an outstanding pitcher who ranks among the best relievers of all-time. John compiled his high total of saves because of his natural ability and durability. Only when he was in his mid 40s did he struggle with injuries.

In addition to his team record for saves, John became the Mets' first Reliever of the Year in the National League. Before Billy Wagner, he was tops in career saves among left-handers. These facts are not meaningless. They reflect a pitcher who was able to do his job with the game on the line. Relief pitchers are expected to come through in the clutch. John did this on many an occasion. The Mets' shortcomings during John's decade-and-a-half in New York do not take away from his accomplishments.

Congratulations to John on his election to the Mets Hall. It is a great and well-deserved honor.

Police Woman
April 20, 2012
John is a good man. I've met him at spring training several times and he always treated the fans very well. John took the time to speak with and sign things for me, my husband and my children. He was also very compassionate to the families of deceased police officers and firefighters after 9-11 when they needed it. That is something I will never forget!

My family and I have nothing but fond memories of John. It's good that he will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. I'm looking forward to the ceremony.

Hot Foot
April 20, 2012
John Franco represents what went terribly wrong with the Mets machine in the 1990s. They traded Randy Myers for him. Myers had character, intimidation factor, and blew people away with his fastball. Franco, well, lets just say he made us sweat out almost every one of his saves in a Mets uniform. Never did he overpower people. Never did he shoot rats with a bb gun in the bullpen. No, he just got by. After the Reds traded him, they won a World Series. What did the Mets get? A lot of Rolaids moments and balls in the dirt. Who cares if he's from NY? Somehow a lot of people on this site like him. I just don't get it.

Jimmy Fire
June 7, 2012
I'm with Hot Foot. I don't understand how so many people can have so many good memories of this guy. He was a walking disaster out there. He blew so many games in the first 2 months of the season that we were essentially eliminated before the AS break. I'm sure he's a heck of a nice guy, but a complete mutt in my book. He made his living getting young players to swing at stuff well out of the strike zone - a skill, no doubt, but not "closer" stuff. And that nonsense about not using him unless it was a save opportunity is horse hockey too. He's the LAST guy I want to see when the game is on the line. Here's the typical Franco "save":

- Walk - Sac bunt - Bloop single - Worm-burner through the right side - K - 3-run blast - I throw the remote at the TV and swear off baseball forever...again

I have to stop now before I do something I will later regret. ARRRGHHHH!

June 7, 2012
I will LMAO forever about Franco's induction to Mets HOF. ESPN decided it was such an unimportant event that they moved the game to Sunday night, thus cancelling any TV broadcast of the event. PERFECT. While Tom Seaver winning his 300th to overshadow Phil Rizzuto day was awesome, Seaver had to perform to get that done. In this case some network suits took care of it for all of us... a weekend with the ultimate high of Santana's gem and giving up a total of 1 run to the Cardinals over 3 games will need no memory of Franco.

Jonathan Stern
June 7, 2012
It seems to me a shame that Mets fans have a love/hate relationship with John Franco. I myself have written somewhat mixed comments about him over the years. However, as I heard the Hall of Fame ceremony over the radio, one thought occurred to me: he did not look like he used steroids. I'm not saying I know for sure one way or another. I am just making a little observation, that's all.

Old Fashioned Met
June 8, 2012
John's induction into the Mets Hall of Fame was a nice thing for him, I'm sure. But there are three other players that have the same first name as he who are more worthy of the honor - Matlack (spelled "Jon"), Milner and Stearns. Each one of these men accomplished more in a Mets uniform than did Mr. Franco - and they weren't with the team nearly as long. If this John is going to be a Mets HOF member, so should these other ones.

Also, why not induct another Brooklyn guy - Lee Mazzilli? He just might be more deserving, too!

John L.
July 6, 2012
He was a good (certainly not great) closer. The poster boy of why the save is the most overrated stat in baseball. Made me reach for the antacid whenever he entered a game. He usually dominated young/poor hitters with his change up in the dirt, however veterans would lay off that junk and go to town on his mediocre fastball. Closers have to be the most under appreciated of all MLB roles. As difficult as it is to say the closest thing to a sure bet in the ninth inning plays in the Bronx. As for earlier post stating Franco deserves consideration for the HOF, well not in this lifetime. The Mets HOF is about the correct recognition for Franco. As it should one day for Jesse Orosco.

Shickhaus Franks
October 14, 2014
Franco filled in for Josh Levin on WOR-AM 710 during some games this season and sounded refreshing.

Gets by Buckner
August 11, 2015
Whenever you hear John speak on the radio or during an interview, you just hear the love he has for the Mets and how much he REALLY wanted to win a championship here!!

August 26, 2015
I saw Franco on the field prior to the July 1 game vs the Cubs this year. I cracked up at how the Wilpons still want to promote this guy as a positive in Mets history Then I re-read the postings on this site... I found this entry of mine Metsmind August 10, 2004 ... Franco is the symbol of the "also ran" status that apparently will pervade Shea Stadium for years to come, as it has throughout his career.

Pretty good prediction a decade ago, huh? Hopefully the cycle will be broken this fall, as the organization finally has players (deGrom, Cespedes, Harvey) who are feared and respected by their opponents. And hopefully the Wilpons will quickly adopt these young men as symbols of their organization. A funny observation in re reading here...while plenty of fans relate a nice moment they spent with John Franco, it is the number of people who had bad experiences that is much more telling.... a lousy guy may have a few good moments, but a good guy wouldn't have as many foul moments with his fans as John Franco has.

A horrible era (and error) in Mets history that HOPEFULLY can be finally buried in the next few months.

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