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12/09/2005 7:05 PM ET
Mets sign infielder Julio Franco
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The New York Mets today signed free agent infielder Julio Franco to a two-year contract.

Franco, who turned 47 on August 23, will enter his 29th professional season in 2006. He is the oldest player in the majors. Julio hit .275 (64-233) with 30 runs scored, 12 doubles, one triple, nine home runs and 42 RBI in 108 games last season in Atlanta. He also led the Braves with 14 pinch-hits.

"I have admired Julio Franco for years," said Mets General Manager Omar Minaya. "Julio can help us off the bench as a pinch-hitter and in the field at first base. He brings a legendary workout routine and a positive energy to the clubhouse."

Julio ranks 78th on the All-Time Hit List with 2,521 base hits and is fourth among active players. Only Rafael Palmeiro (3,020), Craig Biggio (2,795) and Barry Bonds (2,742) have more hits. Franco has the most hits (2,521) by a Dominican-born player in major league history.

Since 2001, Franco has hit .292 (344-1,178) with 59 doubles, seven triples, 29 home runs and 171 RBI in 466 contests with the Braves.

Julio's next home run will make him the oldest in major league history to crack a home run. Athletics' pitcher Jack Quinn was 46 years and 357 days old when he went deep on June 27, 1930. Franco is also the oldest player to hit a grand slam, hit a pinch-hit home run, register a multi-home run game, swipe two bases in a game and is the second oldest to collect a triple.

The 6-1, 210-pounder is a three-time All-Star (1989, 1990 and 1991) and he was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1990 All-Star Game at Wrigley Field.

Franco has constructed a .299 (2,521-8,422) batting average, with 394 doubles, 54 triples, 170 home runs and 1,152 RBI in 2,377 games with the Phillies, Indians, Rangers, White Sox, Brewers, Devil Rays and Braves. Julio made his major league debut in 1982 with the Phillies.

He has more than 3,800 hits between the majors, minors and his time in Japan, Korea and Mexico.

A five-time Silver Slugger (1988-1991, 1994), Julio owns three of the top four highest single-season batting averages by a player who is 43-or-older (.309 in 2004, .294 in 2003 and .284 in 2002). Only Hall of Famer Sam Rice is in the top four with his .293 batting average in 1934 at age 44.

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