Julio Franco turns 48
It's not that he didn't appreciate the tribute. He just doesn't like cake.
"I like to be me. I like to be nothing special because I like to do things my own way," he said before the Mets played St. Louis.
Franco is the oldest player in the major leagues since Minnie Minoso made a two-game comeback with the Chicago White Sox in 1980 at age 57. He is batting .272 with one homer and 16 RBIs.
On April 20 he became the oldest player in major league history to hit a home run, connecting at San Diego off Scott Linebrink. The previous mark was held by Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Jack Quinn, who was 46 years, 357 days when he homered on June 27, 1930.
Franco broke into the major leagues in 1982, and during the offseason the Mets gave him a $2.2 million, two-year contract. He hopes to play until he's at least 50.
"It goes to show you -- living right," New York manager Willie Randolph said.
During an on-field ceremony before the game, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and general manager Omar Minaya gave Franco a cake as Franco's wife, Rosie, and son, Joshua, flanked him.
"I don't expect anything," he said. "If they give it to me, I accept it. People always ask me, `What do you want?' -- particularly in the family -- `What do you need?' I don't need anything."
He does like one type of gift, however.
"I appreciate a good book," he said.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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