Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Tuesday, April 27, 1999
Release #149 -99

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Curt Ritter (212) 788-2958

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Proclaims April 27th "John Franco Day" In New York City

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today presented New York Mets pitcher and Brooklyn native, John Franco, with the Key to the City -- one of the City's highest honors -- for his record breaking 400th career save. Franco is only the second pitcher and the first left-hander in the history of Major League Baseball to achieve this feat. During the ceremony at City Hall, the Mayor also proclaimed today, "John Franco Day" in New York City.

"It's a great pleasure to welcome John Franco and his family to City Hall to celebrate an amazing achievement in the game of baseball and to present him with the Key to the City," said Mayor Giuliani. "John's patience, perseverance and heart have been an inspiration to baseball fans and to all New Yorkers. As a young man John was discouraged from pursuing a career in baseball. He was told he didn't possess the physical stature to play in the Major Leagues. But John knew that determination and dedication to dreams mean more than measurements.

"Heart has been the key to John's extraordinary career," the Mayor continued. "It is heart that has allowed him to pitch as well as he has in tense situations at the end of a game. He shows heart in his work ethic and his commitment to the hard-working men and women of this City, particularly the members of the Department of Sanitation, where his father worked for many years. Born in Brooklyn, educated at St. John's, where he pitched two no-hitters during his freshman year, and a current resident of Staten Island, John is a hometown hero and proof that there are plenty of people in professional sports worthy of our admiration and respect. In that spirit it's my pleasure to read this proclamation and declare today, April 27th, John Franco Day."

Franco achieved his 400th save on April 14th during the Mets' 4-1 victory over the Florida Marlins at Shea Stadium. Through April 25th Franco leads the National League with seven saves and has an ERA of 1.08. The Mayor was joined at today's ceremony by Mets Chairman of the Board Nelson Doubleday, Mets General Manager and Senior Vice President Steve Phillips, Mets Manager Bobby Valentine and Sanitation Commissioner Kevin Farrell.

The Key to the City honors distinguished persons, honored guests and outstanding civic contributors to New York City. The presentation of a Key to the City can be traced back to medieval times, when cities were enclosed by walls and locked gates. By the middle of the 1800's, it became customary to give a Key to the City as a direct symbol of the City's wish that a guest feel free to come and go at will.

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