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5 more things about Wander Franco’s big-league debut

20-year-old’s game one accomplishments draw references to B. J. Upton, Yoshi Tsutsugo and Jurickson Profar, among others.
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Wander Franco (5) hits a three-run home run tying the game 5-5 against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field in the fifth inning Field in St. Petersburg on Tuesday June 22, 2021.
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Wander Franco (5) hits a three-run home run tying the game 5-5 against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field in the fifth inning Field in St. Petersburg on Tuesday June 22, 2021. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jun. 23
Updated Jun. 23

Five more things about 20-year-old Wander Franco’s big-league debut, rapping a three-run game-tying homer, doubling, walking and playing well on defense.

  1. Franco, at 20 years and 113 days, was the second youngest Rays player at the time of his debut since B.J. Upton, who was 19.347 in August 2004, also against Boston.
  2. Franco was the seventh Ray to homer in his debut, joining Yoshi Tsutsugo last July, along with Willy Adames (2018), Brandon Guyer (2011), Elijah Dukes (2007), Delmon Young (2006) and Brent Abernathy (2001).
  3. Franco was the eighth-youngest player since 1901 (per baseball-reference.com data) to homer in his first career game, the youngest since Texas’ Jurickson Profar at 19 years and 195 days in 2012. Others younger than Franco: Miguel Cabrera (Marlins) in 2003, Clint Hurdle (Royals) in 1977, Denny McLain (Tigers) in 1963, Ted Tappe (Reds) in 1950 and Whitey Lockman (Giants) in 1945. (Washington’s Juan Soto is not included since his first homer was in a suspended game.)
  4. Franco was the youngest player to make his debut batting in the leadoff or No. 2 spot of a starting lineup since Andruw Jones, at 19.114, for the Braves in August 1996, and the youngest infielder to do so since Roberto Alomar (20.077) for the Padres in April 1988.
  5. Franco joined Taylor Walls, who debuted May 22, as the only Ray to have multiple extra-base hits in their debuts. Franco was the first Ray to have 3 RBIs in his debut, and the first to hit a game-tying homer.

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