2018 IABF honorees

Sep 26, 2018 574

We are honored to announce our 2018 Italian American Baseball Foundation award recipients. John Franco – ‘2018 Guest of Honor” and Jon Morosi – “2018 IABF Baseball Executive”. Both men will be honored at our 2018 IABF Gala Dinner on Thursday December 6, 2018 at Carmine & Sons Restaurant in Brooklyn https://iabf.foundation/3rd-annual-iabf-fundraising-dinner/

John Anthony Franco (born September 17, 1960) During a 22-year professional baseball career spanning 1984–2005, John pitched for three different National League teams, the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, and Houston Astros. His 1,119 career games pitched is an NL record, and ranks fourth in major league history. His 424 career saves ranks fifth all-time in major league history (ranking second when he retired), and remains the most by a left-hander. For 15 of his 22 seasons, he played for the New York Mets, serving as team captain in his final years with the team.

John grew up in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. His father, Jim Franco, was a New York City Department of Sanitation worker who encouraged his son's baseball aspirations; Franco honored his father by wearing an orange Sanitation Department work-shirt under his jersey. John graduated from Lafayette High School in Brooklyn and St. John's University in Queens, where he pitched two no-hitters in his freshman year.

Franco was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8, 1981 in the 5th round of the amateur draft. Before reaching the major leagues, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on May 9, 1983 Franco debuted with the Reds on April 24, 1984. Throughout his six seasons with the Reds, Franco was a successful closer, winning the National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award in 1988. He helped the Reds finish second four seasons in a row (1985–1988).

On December 6, 1989, at the age of 29, he was traded to the new York Mets. During his time with the Mets, he won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award in 1990 and was named the team captain. He led the league in saves for the 1988, 1990, and 1994 seasons. He reached the postseason for the first time in 1999 and the World Series in 2000. On May 11, 1996, in a game against the Chicago Cubs, the Mets held "John Franco Day" to celebrate his 300th career save. John is married to his high school sweetheart, Rose, whom he has known since he was 17. They have three children: J.J., Nicole and Ella.

Jon Paul Morosi is a baseball reporter for MLB Network, appearing on MLB Central regularly throughout the season. Jon also contributes to FOX Sports, as an in-game reporter on national broadcasts and analyst for MLB WhipAround.

Jon’s greatest passion is for international baseball, and through his reporting he’s helped to raise awareness for the sport’s growth in Italy and elsewhere around the world. He covered the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics, reporting on the MLB Network broadcast of every Team USA game as the U.S. won gold in 2017. A personal highlight for him was interviewing Italian manager Marco Mazzieri, in Italian, at the 2016 MLB Winter Meetings. The first World Baseball Classic game Jon covered was Italy’s comeback win over Mexico in 2013, which helped to inspire his interest in the game’s global potential.

Jon covered the Rays’ historic trip to Cuba in 2016, as well as the 2015 Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico and 2018 Puerto Rico Series between the Indians and Twins. Jon has covered 10 World Series. The first was in 2004, when he was the youngest print reporter in the press box as the Red Sox won their first title in 86 years. Jon later worked as a baseball writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Detroit Free Press, where he covered the Tigers’ run to the 2006 World Series and earned recognition from the Associated Press sports editors for his game story on Justin Verlander’s first career no-hitter in 2007.

Jon is a proud third-generation Italian American. His father’s family emigrated from Assisi, Umbria, and his mother’s family is from Bernate Ticino and Cuggiono, Lombardy. He lives in his native Michigan with his wife, Alexis, and their three daughters.

Congratulations to John and Jon !

SOURCE: Italian American Baseball Foundation

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