August 19, 1969 |
Santa Monica, California
|Batted: Left||Threw: Right|
|September 6, 1995 for the Chicago Cubs|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 27, 2003 for the Atlanta Braves|
|Runs batted in||117|
Matthew Neil Franco (born August 19, 1969 in Santa Monica, California) is a former professional baseball player who played first base in the major leagues from 1995–2003, and in Nippon Professional Baseball from 2004-2006.
Franco started his pro career in 1987 with the Rookie League Wytheville Cubs in the Appalachian League. Matt then started the 1988 season in short season rookie ball, again with the Wytheville Cubs and hit .392 there and was promoted to the Low Level A ball New York/Penn League. Playing for the Winston-Salem Spirit of the Carolina League in 1991. Franco then moved up to class Double-A and for the next two seasons played for the Chicago Cubs Double-A affiliates in the Southern League, first with the Charlotte Knights in 1992, and then the Orlando Cubs in 1993. This came about with the Charlotte Knights being awarded membership into the Triple-A International league for the 1993 season. Franco would move up to Triple-A as well in 1993. After starting the season in Orlando he ended the season in Des Monies with the Iowa Cubs of the Triple-A American Association. Franco would return to the Iowa Cubs the next season before breaking into the Major Leagues with the Chicago Cubs in 1995.
A highlight of his career occurred on July 10, 1999. With the Mets trailing the Yankees by one run with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth, Franco came up with a pinch hit single off of Mariano Rivera to score two runs and give the Mets a 9-8 win.
On December 13, 2007, he was named in the Mitchell Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation Into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball.
Franco, who currently lives in Simi Valley, California, is the nephew of actor Kurt Russell (his mother, Jill Franco, being Russell's sister). He holds the major league record with 20 pinch hit walks in a season.