Former Texas Rangers star Julio Franco is making a baseball comeback – he’ll suit up for the Fort Worth Cats when the local minor league team opens its first homestand of the season on May 20.
Franco, 55, will be a player-coach, Cats General Manager Craig Brasfield said in a news release posted on the team’s website.
Because of the addition of the 1991 American League batting champion to the roster, the team said, the United League has extended the Cats’ homestand through Wednesday, May 28. Franco becomes one of a “rare fraternity” of ballplayers to play professional baseball in five decades, according to the release.
Franco’s Major League career spanned 26 years and eight different teams, including his 1989-1993 stint with the Rangers. He collected more than 4,200 base hits and was Most Valuable Player in the 1990 All-Star Game.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to play and coach in Fort Worth and reconnect with my friends, former teammates and Texas Rangers staff members,” Franco said. “I love Fort Worth and I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with the younger players and entertain the fans.”
“I’m excited to have Julio as both a hitting coach and player,” said Mike Marshall, current Cats’ manager and a playing contemporary of Franco. “Our players and fans are very lucky to get this opportunity and I’m sure Julio will make an immediate impact on the players and the community.”
The Cats open their 2014 season at LaGrave Field in Fort Worth on Tuesday, May 20, when they host the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings at 7:05 p.m. The initial homestand includes nine games through May 28.
The Cats are scheduled to play 54 home games this season. Tickets can be purchased online at FWCats.com or by calling (817) 332-CATS.