Julio Franco, 56, joins semi-pro team in Japan as player-manager

Julio Franco, seen here with the Fort Worth Cats last summer, is still playing baseball in 2015.
Julio Franco, seen here with the Fort Worth Cats last summer, is still playing baseball in 2015. (Star-Telegram)

It has now been eight years since Julio Franco last played in MLB, but his playing days are still not over. The 56-year-old Franco went 6-for-27 (.222) in seven games with the independent Fort Worth Cats last season, and now he's heading to Japan to continue playing.

According to a report, Franco has signed with the Ishikawa Million Stars, a semi-pro team in Japan.

The Million Stars have since announced the signing of Franco as a player-manager, according to Yakyu Baka. They're holding a press conference this coming week.

When he last played in MLB, Franco became the oldest player in history to hit a grand slam (age 47), hit a home run (age 48), and appear in a game as a non-pitcher (48). He's also a member of the 4,000 hit club when you include all of his professional hits, meaning the minors, MLB, winter ball, Japan, etc. Franco's still looking to add to that total too. Good for him.

The Million Stars play in the six team Baseball Challenge League in Japan. It appears they are the league's dominant team, winning three championships since the league formed in 2007. Among the other players on the Million Stars roster are Shinji Mori, a long-time NPB player who signed with the Rays in 2005 but never pitched for them due to a shoulder injury, and Eri Yoshida, a female knuckleballer.

Franco played with eight MLB teams from 1982-2007.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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