We've now hit the 1990's in our All Star Memories series, where the glory days of the late 1980's came to a screeching halt for the New York Mets. By 1990, World Series heroes Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Jesse Orosco were gone and Darryl Strawberry was about to begin his final year of play as a member of the Mets. With the changing of the guard, the Mets began to look to build a new dynasty. One of the first pieces they added to the puzzle was closer John Franco. Franco, a native of Brooklyn, was acquired in a December 1989 trade for Randy Myers and Kip Gross. Franco, who was a three time All Star at the time of the trade, quickly established himself as the best closer in Mets' history. Franco would make only more All Star team as a Met, in 1990.
1990: Franco had a strong debut season with the Mets in 1990, leading the league with 33 saves and compiling a 2.53 ERA in 55 appearances. Franco was one of three Mets selected to the game, along with Strawberry and Frank Viola. Franco pitched a perfect ninth inning for the National League, which was hosting the game at Wrigley Field. Unfortunately for Franco, the National League would go on to lose the game 2-0.
Franco would go on to have one of the most successful careers for a reliever in major league history. Franco pitched for the Mets from 1990-2004, and set the team's franchise record with 276 saves over the course of his Mets' career. Franco would finish his career with 424 saves, good for fourth most in major league history and the most by a left handed pitcher. Franco retired after a brief stint with the Houston Astros in the 2005 season, and after his retirement he has been an ambassador for baseball and the Mets. Franco most recently participated in the All Star Weekend festivities as a representative of the Mets, attending numerous events such as Fan Fest and was the captain of the National League squad in the Taco Bell All Star Legends and Celebrities Softball Game.
Check back later in the week for a special edition of All Star Memories!
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- Mets 101 All-Star Memories: Frank Viola (1990-1991)
- Mets 101 All Star Memories: John Stearns (1977, 1979-1980, 1982)
- Mets 101 All Star Memories: Jesse Orosco
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