There are stories that people write based on personal experiences in life or observations of events that they live through. This story is one that fell into our lap and touched our hearts as baseball fans. It’s the story of Jay Franklin, the Padres #1 draft choice in 1971. As Padres fan, we had never heard of Jay until Wayne was posting Happy Birthdays for Pades360.com last March 16, when he came across his name. BaseballReference.com did not have a picture for his page, but a search of the internet led Wayne to a picture we used for our Happy Birthday post. The best we can put together about Jay Franklin is as follows.
After being drafted by the Padres in 1971, Jay was assigned to the Tri-City Padres of the Northwest League where he compiled an 8-1 record with 134 strikeouts in 104 innings. The Padres called him up in September and he made his major league debut September 4 against the Atlanta Braves pitching 2 innings of shutout ball and striking out 2. He pitched out of the bullpen again on September 8 against the Reds giving up 1 unearned run in 1 1/3 innings of relief. On September 21, manager Preston Gomez gave the starting nod to Jay Franklin in a game against the Atlanta Braves, the first team he faced in his career. After getting Felix Millan to pop out to 1B Nate Colbert and Ralph Garr to ground out to SS Enzo Hernandez, Hank Aaron stepped up to the plate and hit his 638th career home run off Jay. Franklin would pitch a couple more innings giving up home runs to Darrell Evans and Ralph Garr before leaving in the 3rd inning. The future seemed bright for the young 18 year old pitcher, but an arm injury caused him to miss all of the 1972 season and he would never again pitch in the majors. He pitched in the Padres minor league system from 1973-1977 for AA Alexandria, AA Amarillo and AAA Hawaii before retiring at the end of the 1977 season.
Some more research led us to a Washington Post story from June 5, 2011 interview Jay did with writer Josh Barr, where he talked about his career and his life after baseball. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/former-madison-high-pitcher-jay-franklin-no-2-overall-draft-pick-in-1971-blames-subsequent-problems-on-baseball/2011/06/02/AGLSKlJH_story.html As you can read from the article, his life hasn’t been easy for Jay. We are in the process of attempting to reach out to Jay Franklin and give him this 1971 Topps Negative that we purchased.
Former Padres pitcher John D’Acquisto remembers him and encouraged us to reach out and talk to Jay about his career. We have also decided to sponsor Jay’s Baseball Reference page: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/f/frankja02.shtml
I can honestly say I am not sure this story is over, but if we never speak to Jay and he does read this, know that we at Padres360 have not forgotten you and want other Padres fans to know about you. You will be in our prayers and thoughts.
Wayne & Rebecca