First, I have long thought the Indians never did enough to keep (and especially to bring back) their best players of the 80s/90s. Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez and Oscar Vizquel. Two them are definitely HOFers if no PED involvement is discovered. The question has raged as to whether we did enough to keep them originally and whether we did enough to bring them back later in their careers. I have ALWAYS been about how HOFers make your franchise. Living in St. Louis and seeing the monuments around there I can imagine my grandkids at Progressive Field climbing around on statues of Thome and Vizquel and, had things broken differently for their careers, statues of Ramirez, Albert Belle and Carlos Baerga. I still hold hope that Vizquel and Thome go in as Indians although that is far from a sure thing. Still, they made their name and fame in Cleveland so I can hope that common sense wins out and they go in as Indians.
But what does all this have to do with Julio Franco? Well, the recent discussion about Ichiro and the Pete Rose hit record brings something up that I have written about before: Does Julio Franco beling in the HOF? Well 3000 hits is still a good indicator of HOF status and if you count Franco's two years in Japan and one year in Korea he as 3028 hits. That doesn't even count his one season in the Mexican League. So if we are going to have a discussion about Ichiro being the all-time hits leader then I think the veterans committee, when the time is right, should have a serious discussion about putting Julio Franco in the Hall of Fame. Hey, I don't know if he would even go in as an Indian and the Indians could have secured that if they would have signed and played him those three years. I know a lot of this is on Franco as he followed the money (and the guaranteed playing time) outside of the US. Instead of taking a minor league deal or having to wait and hope he got a late contract (see Marlon Byrd this year) he took good money and went to play overseas. Nonetheless, I think these stats count. His history shows that had he been in the majors those four years he played outside the country he could have probably gotten to 3000 hits. Just wish the Indians, in his case and others, would have done more to secure these guys getting into the HOF with the Indian "C" on their bronze non-talking heads!
In my book Julio Franco is a HOFer. Maybe the Ichiro hit record discussion will bring light to Julio Franco's status, as well. Let's hope so and let's hope he goes in as an Indian.