Thursday, February 28, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1983 Topps Traded #34T Julio Franco

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, February 28, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1983 Topps Traded #34T.
  • Player Name, position, team: Julio Franco, shortstop, Cleveland Indians.
  • Major League Debut: April 23, 1982.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1982 stats (Phillies): 16 G, 29 AB, 3 R, 8 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB, .310 SLG, 2 BB, 4 SO, .276 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Phillies as a Free Agent 04/23/1978. Traded by the Phillies to the Indians 12/09/1982. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 20. This is his first Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Julio smashed inside-the-park Homer, April 30, 1983."
  • Commentary: The card above is considered an XRC. What is an XRC? According to Beckett, it means Extended Rookie Card. It was designated by Dr. James Beckett, who had to find a way to determine what to call cards that were not distributed through normal channels, in this case, packs sold in Hobby stores and retail shops across the country. Even though under "normal" circumstances, this card, as it is Julio's first Topps card, would be considered a Rookie Card, because this card was included in a complete set that was exclusively sold in Hobby Shops, it did not fit the definition as established by Dr. Beckett. So hence the tag "XRC." Who knew that a throw-in to the infamous Phillies-Indians trade that sent Von Hayes to Philly for five players would have a long and prosperous career in baseball, not just in the United States, but around the world. He has spent time with teams in Japan (Chibe Lotte Marines 1995 & 1998), Mexico (Mexico City Tigres 1999 & 2001) and Korea (Samsung Lions 2000). But before he traveled the world as a professional hitting machine, Franco was a shortstop who wanted to show that he was worth keeping on a major league roster. After being traded to the Indians, he did just that. In 149 games, Franco hit for a .273 batting average, with 8 home runs (one an inside-the-park job as mentioned on the blurb on the back), 80 rbi's, 32 stolen bases, and by the time it was all said and done, runner-up in the AL Rookie of the Year race. In eight seasons at shortstop and eventually second base with Cleveland, Franco would hit 62 home runs, drive in 530 rbi's, hit for an average of .297, steal 147 bases, and one Silver Slugger Award. In December of 1988, Franco was traded to the Texas Rangers. In five seasons, he became a three-time All-Star (winning the MVP award in 1990's affair) won the batting title in 1991 (.341), consistently one of the Rangers' best hitters. He signed with the White Sox in a one-year deal and won his final Silver Slugger Award thanks to a .319 average and a career high 20 home runs. After the 1994 season, Julio began his world tour. He signed with the Chibe Lotte Marines in 1995, then returned to Cleveland in 1996, hitting .322 and an OPS of .877. He was released by the Indians during the 1997 season, but signed that day with the Brewers. He returned to Japan in 1998 to play for the Marines again. He returned to the US in 1999 after spending most of the year in Mexico City for an appearance with the Devil Rays. For the 2000 campaign, he signed with Samsung in South Korea. In 2001, after playing most of the season with Mexico City, the Braves purchased his contract. Now in his 40's, he would sign four one-year deals with Atlanta, serving as the Braves primary first baseman...IN HIS 40'S!!!. In each season, the Braves would make the playoffs. At the end of the 2005 season, he signed with the Mets. Even though father time was finally catching up to him, Franco still contributed with 3 home runs and 34 rbi's and 8 stolen bases (please note, the man was on the back end of 40, and he stole 8 bases). Released by the Mets in July, he returned to the Braves three days later, and after 15 games, rode off into the sunset. He played for 23 years in the majors. In 2527 games, his final numbers of .298, 173 home runs, 1194 rbi's, 281 stolen bases, and a .782 OPS. In 2013, only 6 BBWAA voters thought he was worth of being inducted into Cooperstown. At 1.1% he was removed from further consideration. Which is a shame. He had a wonderful career, playing well into his 40's, and still showed that he could hit...and do it well. As with many cards from 1983, Franco's card includes a couple of season highlights. However, these were not from games played in 1982 (which was the norm with 1983 Topps cards), but from the '83 season. These include: April 9: walloped first Major League homer in 8-4 win vs. Orioles; May 8: went 3-5 with homer and 4 rbi's in Indians' 13-6 verdict at Comiskey Park.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $3.00-$8.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 45 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2005 Topps #203. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.


JayBee Anama

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