Navigate Left
  • Photo taken by Molly Myers on Sept. 3, 2023 downtown across from where the Farmers Market is held.


    Abandoned shoes in Chico: photo series

  • Left side of table, Jenna McMahon, Nathan Chiochios and Jessica Miller sit with, on the right side front to back, Callum Standish, Molly Myers, Nadia Hill, and Grace Stark at  Estom Jamani Dining Commons. Photo taken April 29 by a kind employee at the dining hall.


    The Orion tries the dining hall

  • Both faculty members’ and students’ mental health are suffering due to a lack of support at Chico State and across the California State University System. Photo by Vie Studio on Pexels.


    Faculty, students’ mental health continue to suffer

  • Thanks to horror films, some names have been ruined ... or made cool. Photo by Jeswin Thomas from Pexels.

    Arts & Entertainment

    Names horror films have ruined … or made cool

  • Sydney Sweeney in Immaculate. Photo courtesy of NEON.

    Arts & Entertainment

    He said, she said: ‘Immaculate’

Navigate Right
Breaking News
Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Former Wildcat remembered as ‘positive force,’ great teammate

Christian Franco played for Chico State during the 1999 and 2000 baseball seasons. Photo courtesy of the Chico State.

Christian Franco, an alumnus who was a standout Wildcat baseball player during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, passed away Feb. 15 in a fatal car crash in Chula Vista. He was 37 years old.

Franco started his baseball career at Sweetwater High School in the suburbs of San Diego. He went on to play at Southwestern College, also located in San Diego.

He then joined the Wildcats and played for the 1999 NCAA Championship-winning team. He was a summer league player for the semi-pro San Diego Stars in the summer following the championship. He then helped the 2000 team win the CCAA Championship Tournament.

Franco’s death was a tremendous loss, said Lindsay Meggs, Chico State baseball head coach from 1994-2006. He said Franco impacted everyone he came into contact with and that he made the world a better place.

“The great thing was, he was the same type of player as he was a person,” Meggs said. “He had a great personality. He was a fun guy, he was a great teammate and real high-energy kid.

Franco played many roles for the team and pushed to make everyone better, Meggs said. He was a positive force when he was in the lineup and he was a great team player when he wasn’t.

Franco went on to play a few years in the minor leagues after Chico State. He had great talent as a Wildcat, Meggs said.

“He was as athletic a guy as we had on the team,” Meggs said. “He could run, hit, hit for power and he could really throw.”

Head baseball coach Dave Taylor, who was an assistant in 1999 and 2000, had some fond words for what type of person Franco was to the team.

“He kept the clubhouse loose, just a good-natured kid.” Taylor said of Franco’s time with the team from 1999-2000.

He batted a team-high .393 off the bench in 1999. He then split time at multiple positions in the 2000 season while batting .330.

“That group from the 1999 team was one of those you could count on to be at most alumni games, so it’s just an unfortunate loss,” Taylor said.

His memorial was Feb. 25 in San Diego. Meggs will remember his former player for the great personality he had, both inside the lines and out, he said.

“When other guys were tired or run-down, he was always positive,” Meggs said. “He loved to play and be around his teammates. I’ll never forget that. He was a great kid.”

Chance Keenan and Nick Woodard can be reached at [email protected] or @chancelikelance and @nwoodard25 on Twitter.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Orion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *