The twice-yearly inter-league series between the Yankees and Mets is always a big deal. But last night's game, and it's duel between Roger Clemens and Julio Franco became one for the ages. Ahem, the old ages.
When 48-year-old Julio Franco flied out against 44-year-old Roger Clemens ending the second, they became the oldest batter-pitcher matchup in the major leagues since Nick Altrock of the Washington Senators grounded out against the Philadelphia Athletics' Rube Walberg in the 11th inning on Oct. 1, 1933, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.Just for comparison' sake it should be noted if you were to take a closer look, last night's game has a more legitimate claim for the oldest matchup. The Senators-Athletics game was more of a stunt. Altrock was 57, and he hadn't played since 1919. It was the final game of his career, and it took place on the last day of the season.
Clemens and Franco totaled 93 years 246 days, while Altrock and Walberg added up to 94 years 80 days.
The battle between Clemens and Franco, on the other hand, was a more serious game between teams with playoff aspirations. And while Franco can still carry his load, you still have to wonder of Mets manager Willy Randolph put him in just to get a rise out of everyone.
Julio Franco's career is a great story - one of endurance, determination, and grit. He'll never be as famous as Clemens, but his longevity and his durability is something to be admired. Especially for a guy whom everyone knows is not 48.