It took months but a retired New York firefighter finally got to meet Julio Franco–and return one of the more historic home run balls in baseball history to the man who hit it.
Tom Dunn was on a ballpark vacation in Arizona. Julio Franco was getting a rare plate appearance. The convergence turned magical when some pool party-goers at Bank One Ballpark tossed Dunn the ball that splashed into their neighborhood after Franco tatooed it. The 49 year-old Franco had homered off 45 year-old Randy Johnson during that May 4 contest in Phoenix.
Unless Franco manages to hit another home run in the final 2 1/2 weeks of the season, the ball will be the last blast from the oldest player ever to appear regularly in the Major Leagues.
It took a little detective work…and a lot of patience… but Dunn was finally able to connect with Franco Tuesday night. An appreciative Franco traded one of his last game-used bats to Dunn in exchange for a ball that’s special for a number of reasons.