Though I’ve not heard many arguing for John Franco’s election to Baseball’s Hall Of Fame following the Astros cutting Johnny B. Badd loose this weekend, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney seeks to end the debate before it starts.
I’ll try to politely explain where John Franco scored relatively poorly among the best relievers of his generation: on The Oh Shoot Meter.
As in, “Oh shoot, John Franco is coming into the game.”
This is not something that was probably heard too often in the opposing dugouts.
There are no numbers to quantify this particular measurement, but we know, from conversations with many players and managers, that Dennis Eckersley did very well on The Oh Shoot Meter. So did Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter. Trevor Hoffman has done very well. And at some point down the road, this category could be renamed the Mariano Rivera Meter, because it’s possible that no reliever has been as feared by opponents as Rivera.
Gossage gave the best description of this phenomenon that I’ve heard, while speaking of Rivera. The opposing players are “sitting in the dugout thinking, ‘We’ve got no [explicit] chance,'” Gossage said, his voice rising and his eyes widening. “It’s [expletive] over. This guy walks in and they are [expletive] done.”
That’s The Oh Shoot Meter.
Buster is too polite to mention The Oh Shit Meter, in which a reliever’s own teammates are thinking “oh, shit” each time he enters the game for anything other than mop-up duties. During his final years in Flushing, I’d say John Franco measured quite highly on The Oh Shit Meter. Though enshrinement in Cooperstown is highly unlikely, I would personally petition the Mets to retire Franco’s number as long as he promises in writing to never pitch again.
Hitting cleanup for the first-place Washington Nationals this evening against Pedro Martinez : 1B Carlos Baerga (O HR’s, 7 RBI’s).