Former New York Mets closer John Franco received only 4.6 percent of vote in the 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, falling short of the five percent needed to continue appearing on the ballot. Franco didn't exactly take the news that he has been closed out of appearing on future ballots very well.
"It is disappointing," Franco said from his home. "I was hoping for at least 5 percent. I thought I'd get five. Anyone who has the fourth-most of anything -- hits, RBIs, wins, saves -- you figured it had to mean something. But it's another one of those things that you have no control over. So you just have to take it.
"I know there are a lot of guys who vote who have problems with saves. ... the saves rule," Franco said. "But you have to be a pretty good pitcher to become the closer. And saves are the only thing we have to measure how a closer does.
"I know I had a good career. I'm proud of what I accomplished. I'm proud I was on the ballot."
Franco spent 14 of his 21 major-league seasons with the Mets. His 424 saves place him fourth on the all-time list behind Trevor Hoffman (601), Mariano Rivera (559) and Lee Smith (478). Smith, incidentally, received 45.3 percent of the vote.
Closers are getting more recognition by Hall of Fame voters as Bruce Sutter, Dennis Eckersley and Goose Gossage have been inducted. Franco, though, won't be joining them. Personally, I don't think he -- or anyone -- should be surprised.