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With Youthful Passion

Posted August. 30, 2005 06:50,   


KBO’s Song Jin-woo (Hanhwa) and MLB’s Julio Franco (Atlanta)—they are the oldest players in their respective leagues.

Song Jin-woo’s “official” date of birth is 1966, but it is actually 1964, which means he is already over 40.

Franco goes even further. When he was in Samsung in 2000 he claimed to have been born in 1961. His actual birth year is 1958, but even this is not a plausible figure. If he were in Korea, he would be around the same age as one of the senior team managers.

To Song and Franco, however, age is merely a number. With one more win, Song Jin-woo will be the first pitcher in the history of Korean professional baseball to attain his 190th career win. Franco is one home run shy from becoming the oldest player to hit one, a title that has been held by Jack Quinn since 1930. What is the secret to their long running career?

Song Jin-woo-

Song Jin-woo, who is known to enjoy visiting the sauna, always makes a “V” sign with his fingers inside the bathtub. His whole body is in the water but his index and middle fingers, the fingers that he use when pitching, are kept out of the water. He does so in order to protect the hardened skin around those fingers. This is an example of how precise Song is in self-management.

He does not eat any particular health food and does not train more than other players. However, he often says to himself, “I am young.” When he received elbow surgery in 2003, he repeated his “I will get well soon” spell and promptly returned to the mound the next year.

He enjoys traditional Korean food, such as soybean paste and dried radish leaves, and also enjoys seafood. He does drinks alcohol from time to time, but never smokes. His goal is to make it to his 200th career win. He plans to retire once he loses his strength.

Julio Franco-

On August 24, the day of his 47th birthday, the American media turned their attention on the secret to Franco’s career. He introduced the “four secrets” that he always used since his Major League debut in 1982. They are: praying to God, eating well, resting well, and training hard.

Franco stills eats five meals a day. He does weight training and fills up on nutrition from time to time. He takes long naps in the clubhouse.

Because of this, Franco is known to be the healthiest and most physically fit player on his team. He even uses a heavy bat that weighs up to 1kg.

Franco was on the bench in the August 29 game against Milwaukee due to pains in his right elbow, but he will definitely achieve his goal of staying in the league until the age of 50.