Julio Franco broke a long standing major league record when he broke Jack Quinn’s 1930 mark for being the oldest player to hit a homerun in the Major Leagues. Jack Quinn is one of my all time favorite ballplayers. I’ve never seen video of him, none exists. He died before my dad was born, he’s not in the Hall of Fame, but he’s one of the most interesting players to read about.
Jack Quinn got into baseball in his mid-twenties completely by chance (a manager of a baseball team saw the young coal miner return a foul ball by throwing it so hard and accurately that he immediately offered Quinn a start in their next game for five dollars [only 2.50 if he lost]). He played baseball until he was fifty years old. He was the former record holder for being the oldest person to hit a Major League homerun (again, he was a pitcher) until last week. He was teamates with 31 Hall of Famers (of course, there was no Hall of Fame then). He held the season save record for a while (before anyone cared about saves). He played baseball for 24 years, half in the deadball era and half in the “Ruth” era.
Heh, he also gave up the 26th homerun of Babe Ruth’s 1919 season; that homerun broke the single season record (Ruth would later break his own record a few times over). Why am I such a fan of this guy? My grandmother took me to a collectibles shop in Alberquerque when I was 9 or 10 years old. It was a scary looking store with a lot of military stuff like Nazi helmets and uniforms. It also had a modest selection of tobacco cards. As a way of spoiling her grandchild, she was going to buy me one card, my choice. Eventually I decided on the one card, the one you see with this post, a t209 of Jack Quinn from the nineteen-teens.
I felt bad when Julio Franco broke his record. I was hoping maybe with the news of the record there would be some interest in profiling the man who held the record for 75 years, but there hasn’t been any reporting as such. Well, Quinn is still the oldest player ever to pitch in a World Series…maybe someone will notice Quinn when someone breaks that record.