When the thought of a Mets closer comes to mind, a few names should pop up. They’ve employed several notable ninth-inning men over the years. None was more important to the franchise than John Franco.
Franco’s 276 career Mets saves blows the competition out of the water. Armando Benitez and Jeurys Familia rank second and third. Combined, they barely beat out Franco.
Franco first joined the Mets for the 1990 season when he made his lone All-Star appearance while representing the Amazins. He had already been there three times as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately, he only got to go back once more with the Mets.
Despite the lack of Midsummer Classic accolades, Franco managed to compile saves and deliver quality outings. For 14 seasons, they could call upon him from the bullpen with the hope of getting a big out.
Franco was tremendous in the postseason, too. His 1.88 ERA in two trips to the playoffs is a credit to his talent under pressure.
Nobody pitched in more games for the Mets than Franco. His 695 appearances beat out the competition and likely will remain a franchise record for a lot longer.
Franco’s time with the Mets included a 3.10 ERA and 592 total strikeouts. Add this to his performance with the Reds and he’s a borderline National Baseball Hall of Famer. Perhaps one day in the future we do see him get into Cooperstown?
Until then, Franco will remain an all-time great member of the Mets. As a kid from Queens, it’s surely an accomplishment he is about to have.