made their MLB debuts in the year of my birth, 1982. Other notables on that list include Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly, and Julio Franco. The only one of these men who is still playing professional baseball is...Franco.
Julio, now 56 years of age, will be playing in an independent league in Japan, where he will also perform managerial duties for the Ishikawa Million Stars. I love the notion of somebody who is nearly my father's age still working as a pro athlete. He had a 23-year big league career, and was still an above-average hitter as a reserve for the Braves at age 46. In addition to the 2,527 games he logged in the majors, he also spent time in the top pro leagues in Japan, Mexico, and Korea. Last year he played sparingly as player-manager of the independent Fort Worth Cats, collecting six hits, two walks, and a sac fly in 30 trips to the plate despite being nearly 30 years older than the average player in his league. Now that Minnie Minoso is no longer taking his swings, I'm glad there's another evergreen ballplayer to take up his mantle.