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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tony Franklin spent more than four decades in game, as player, then as manager, coach

South Bend White Sox hitter Jimmy Hurst had been struggling at the plate, but his manager Tony Franklin stepped in to help, Hurst recalled to The South Bend Tribune after this April 1993 game.

"Tony said just stay back and relax," Hurst told The Tribune after a night that included a big home run. "I did and I hit the ball good my last three at bats."

By that point, Franklin had helped young players for more than a decade, mostly as a manager in the minors. He went on to spend more than two decades more in that role and similar ones. He also later even got a brief look at the bigs.

Franklin's long career in the pros began as a player himself in 1970, signed by the Reds out of Los Angeles City College.

Franklin started with the Reds at single-A Tampa. He made AA Trois-Riveres in 1972 and then AAA Indianapolis in 1975. He hit .235 over 99 games at Indianapolis.

He continued playing through 1978, but he didn't make the bigs. He then started his coaching career.

Franklin first served as a player-coach in 1978 at single-A West Palm Beach. He coached 1979 AAA Rochester. His first managerial stint came in 1982, at short-season Geneva. 

He arrived at single-A Sarasota, AA Birmingham in 1991 and then single-A South Bend in 1993. He moved to organization roving infield instructor for 1994. Then to the Padres in that role in 1996.

He stayed as Padres minor league infield coordinator through 2006. He then arrived with the Yankees as manager at AA Trenton in 2007.

In September 2008, after four decades in the game, Franklin got to spend a brief stint as an extra member of the Yankees' coaching staff in the Bronx, The New York Post wrote.

"This is fantastic," Franklin told The Post after arriving. "It doesn't get any better than this."

Franklin stayed in Trenton through 2014. He then turned roving instructor for 2015.

"This will be my 46th season," Franklin told going into 2015. "I hope that I've been able to learn some things and be able to pass them on to the younger coaches and managers, and that they can pass that on to their players."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,828
Made the Majors:1,288-33.7%
Never Made Majors:2,540-66.3%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:526
10+ Seasons in the Minors:322

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