The Full Wiki

Ed Kranepool: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ed Kranepool

First baseman
Born: November 8, 1944 (1944-11-08) (age 65)
Bronx, New York
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
September 22, 1962 for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1979 for the New York Mets
Career statistics
Batting average     .261
Home runs     118
Runs batted in     614
Career highlights and awards

Edward Emil Kranepool (born November 8, 1944) is a former first baseman who spent his entire Major League Baseball career with the New York Mets.

Born in the Bronx, New York, Kranepool attended James Monroe High School, where he began playing baseball and basketball. Mets' scout Bubber Jonnard signed Kranepool in 1962 at the age of seventeen as an amateur free agent.

Contents

Seventeen year old debuts with the Mets

After batting a combined .301 at three levels of the Mets' minor league system in 1962, Kranepool received a September call-up in just his first professional season. At age 17, Kranepool was six years younger than the next-youngest '62 Met, a reflection of the disastrous decision of Met management to select mostly older veterans in the expansion draft. He made his major league debut wearing number 21 on September 22, 1962 as a late inning defensive replacement for Gil Hodges at first base in a 9-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at the Polo Grounds. He grounded out to Cubs second baseman Ken Hubbs in his only at bat.[1] He made his first start the next day, September 23, where he played first, and went one for four with a double.[2]

Kranepool began the 1963 season splitting playing time with "Marvelous" Marv Throneberry at first base and Duke Snider in right field. By May 5, Throneberry's ineptitude at the plate (.143 batting average and only one RBI in the first 23 games of the season) wore thin on Met fans and management, and he was demoted to the Mets' Triple A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. Tim Harkness was awarded the first base job with Snider shifting to left field, and Kranepool becoming the Mets' everyday right fielder. This, however, did not last, as Kranepool was sent down to the minors in July with a .190 batting average. He resurfaced later in the season as a September call-up, and went four for five with a run batted in and a run scored in his first game back.[3] He continued to hit better following his late season call-up, and managed to bring his batting average up to .209 for the season.

Earning the first base job

With Harkness, Dick Smith and Frank Thomas all splitting time at first base, Kranepool received most of his playing time in right field at the start of the 1964 season. On May 24, Joe Christopher was batting .303, and had won a starting job in manager Casey Stengel's eyes. He was awarded the right field job, and Kranepool was demoted to Buffalo with a .139 batting average.

Kranepool played just fifteen games with the Bisons, hitting three home runs and batting .352 to earn a promotion back to the Mets. His first game back was at first base in game one of a May 31 double header against the San Francisco Giants. Kranepool also played first in the second game of the double header, which went 23 innings. Kranepool ended up playing all 32 innings, going four for fourteen over the two games. "I wish we could have played another forty minutes," Kranepool was later quoted as saying of the record setting double header that lasted nearly ten hours and ended at 11:20 PM. "That way, I could always say I played in a game that started in May and ended in June."[4]

These two games were the start of a thirteen game hitting streak that saw Kranepool's batting average rise to .264. For the season, Kranepool batted .257 with ten home runs and 45 RBIs.

All-Star

Prior to the start of the 1965 season, the Mets acquired future Hall of fame] pitcher Warren Spahn from the Milwaukee Braves. Kranepool gave up his number 21 to Spahn, who had worn that number his entire career, and began wearing number 7.

Kranepool was batting .287 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs to be named the sole Mets representative at the 1965 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, though he did not play. By the end of the season, Kranepool's batting average fell to .253, but that was still enough to lead the team that lost 112 games that season, and finished in tenth place in the National League. He also led his team with 133 hits and 24 doubles.

In 1966, Kranepool paced the Mets with a career high sixteen home runs to help the Mets avoid a last place finish and 100 losses for the first time in franchise history (95).

Amazin' Mets

On May 21, 1969, the Mets won their third game in a row for a .500 winning percentage 36 games into the season for the first time in franchise history. This was followed by a five game losing streak that saw the Mets fall into fourth place in the newly aligned National League East.

The Mets then went on an eleven game winning streak that included a two home run performance by Kranepool against the Los Angeles Dodgers.[5] By the end of the streak, the Mets were in second place, seven games back of the Chicago Cubs.

On July 8, Kranepool hit a fifth inning home run off Fergie Jenkins to give the Mets a 1-0 lead over the Cubs. By the time the Mets batted in the ninth inning, however, the first place Cubs had taken a 3-1 lead. The Mets scored three runs in the ninth to win the game, with Cleon Jones scoring the last run on Kranepool's single to center.[6]

The Mets completed their remarkable "Miracle" 1969 season, in which the team, backed by Kranepool, Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, won their first ever World Series title against the Baltimore Orioles. Kranepool hit a home run in game three of the series, a 5-0 win for the Mets.[7]

Demoted to Tidewater

Period BA OBP SLG OPS
Through 1970 .246 .298 .358 .656
After 1970 .278 .333 .398 .732

On June 23, 1970, Kranepool was batting just .118, and was demoted to the Mets' triple A affiliate, the Tidewater Tides. He considered retirement, but instead, he accepted his reassignment, and batted .310 in 47 games at Tidewater. He was back with the Mets by the middle of August, but saw very little playing time. For the season, Kranepool had only 52 plate appearances in 43 games.

Kranepool would bounce back with perhaps his best season in 1971, batting .280 with 14 home runs, 58 RBI and an OPS+[8] of 123. He also led the National League with a .998 fielding percentage. The late-career demotion marked a turning point for Kranepool, with him becoming a useful hitter and first baseman/outfielder despite never entering a season with a specific full-time role.

In 1973, Kranepool lost his starting job at first base to John Milner. Kranepool still managed to play 100 games and making 320 plate appearances backing up Milner at first and Cleon Jones in left. The Mets won the NL East, and faced the Cincinnati Reds in the 1973 National League Championship Series. Kranepool's only appearance in the NLCS was in game five, and he drove in the first two runs of the Mets' series clinching victory to lead his team to the 1973 World Series.[9]

Joan Payson passes away

Kranepool batted .300 in consecutive seasons in 1974 and 1975 sharing first base duties with Milner and Dave Kingman. When Mets owner Joan Payson died on October 4, 1975, she left the team to her husband Charles. While Joan had been the driving force behind the Mets, her survivors did not share her enthusiasm. Charles delegated his authority to his three daughters, who left control over baseball matters to club chairman M. Donald Grant. According to an Interview with Kranepool, he was the only Met player invited to Mrs. Payson's Funeral[10]

The Mets enjoyed the second best winning percentage in franchise history in 1976 when they went 86-76 to finish third in the NL East. Kranepool was again a regular first baseman with the Mets that season, batting .292 with ten home runs and 49 RBIs.

"Grant's Tomb"

Contract disputes with Kingman and star pitcher Tom Seaver erupted in 1977 over money. It came to a head two weeks after Joe Torre grabbed the reigns on June 15, when Grant traded Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman. Kingman was also traded to the San Diego Padres for minor league pitcher Paul Siebert and Bobby Valentine. Somewhat more quietly that day, they also acquired Joel Youngblood from the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Phillips. To make room for Youngblood on the Mets' active roster, Torre retired as a player.[11]

In all fairness, Grant did acquire some good, young talent for Seaver. Still, from a public-relations perspective, the Seaver and Kingman trades were a disaster. That the Mets were a failing team was apparent, and June 15, 1977 would forever be known to Mets fans as the "Saturday Night Massacre."

By this time, it was obvious that Grant had mismanaged the team and failed to invest in its future. Shea Stadium became known as "Grant's Tomb" in the New York sports pages. Charles Payson himself fired Grant at the end of the 1978 season following two consecutive last place finishes.

Pinch-hitter

Matinee idol centerfielder Lee Mazzilli became the face of the organization. Kranepool, perhaps as a symbol of the Mets' past glory, emerged as something as a fan favorite as well, despite a limited pinch hitting role he'd been relegated to at this point in his career. From 1974 through 1978, Kranepool hit .396 as a pinch hitter, batting .486 in the role in 1974.

When he retired after the 1979 season at the age of 34, he left as the all-time club leader in eight offensive categories, of which he still leads in four (at-bats: 5436; hits: 1418; doubles: 225; and total bases: 2047). He has also played more games in a Met uniform (1853) than any other player. He would become a legend among Met fans for playing eighteen seasons, all of them with the Mets. No other Met player has ever played for the team for that long. He was the last of the 1962 Mets to remain with the team, and the last of that team to retire from Major League Baseball.

Though still relatively young at this time, he was never an athletic player, and was only useful as long as his pinch-hits kept dropping in. He had also reportedly had some friction with the team's ownership group, led by Lorinda DeRoulet, that was controlling the team after Payson's death. When the team was sold after the 1979 season to a group headed by Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon, Kranepool was part of one of the groups offering a losing bid.[12]

Seasons Games AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO Avg. Slg. SF
18 1853 5436 536 1418 225 25 118 614 15 454 581 .261 .377 58

Kranepool had a career fielding percentage at first base of .994 and .975 as an outfielder.

Gillette commercials

In a 1978 television commercial for Gillette Foamy shaving cream. The ad began with black-and-white film footage of Kranepool striking out, and an announcer saying, "From 1962 to 1970, Ed Kranepool batted .227. Then Ed switched to Gillette Foamy." The ad showed Kranepool in front of a mirror, lathering up and shaving, and switched to color footage of him hitting a ball down the right-field line. The announcer said, "Since 1971, Ed's batted .283! What do you think of that, Ed?" As baseball players had long had a reputation for being superstitious, the ad closed with Kranepool standing in the dugout, in uniform but lathered up and holding up a can of Foamy, saying, "I don't know, but now I shave every other inning." The closing narration was, "Foamy: More than thick and rich enough for New York's heavy hitters."

Another Gillette commercial featured Kranepool lighting a candle in his bathroom and trying to shave using Foamy during a blackout. The ad was clearly inspired by the New York blackout of the previous season, which came during a Met home game at Shea Stadium on July 13, 1977. Kranepool also appeared in an ad for SportsPhone with Jerry Koosman.

He caught flack for a 1986 campaign commercial he did for New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato in which he appeared wearing a New York Mets uniform. Following protest from the Mets' ownership group, the commercial was quickly pulled. Kranepool also appeared on Saturday Night Live in a cameo appearance, being interviewed by Bill Murray during a skit filmed during spring training in 1979, regarding Chico Escuela's (portrayed by Garrett Morris) tell all book, Bad Stuff 'bout The Mets (a parody of Sparky Lyle's tell all book about the New York Yankees, The Bronx Zoo).

Post retirement

Ed Kranepool made a living after retirement as a stockbroker and restaurateur, and was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1990. He is currently living in New York.

Quotes

He's only seventeen and he runs like he's thirty.
Casey Stengel, on why he kept Kranepool on the bench in 1962.

References

  1. ^ "Chicago Cubs 9, New York Mets 2". Baseball-reference.com. 1962-09-22. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN196209220.shtml.  
  2. ^ "New York Mets 2, Chicago Cubs 1". Baseball-reference.com. 1962-09-23. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN196209230.shtml.  
  3. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals 6, New York Mets 5". Baseball-reference.com. 1963-09-04. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196309040.shtml.  
  4. ^ "San Francisco Giants 8, New York Mets 6". Baseball-reference.com. 1964-05-31. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN196405312.shtml.  
  5. ^ "New York Mets 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 2". Baseball-reference.com. 1969-06-03. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN196906030.shtml.  
  6. ^ "New York Mets 4, Chicago Cubs 3". Baseball-reference.com. 1969-07-08. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN196907080.shtml.  
  7. ^ http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1969/B10140NYN1969.htm Box Score of Game 3, 1969 World Series, October 14, 1969
  8. ^ This statistic would not gain currency for a few decades, but is a pretty reliable objective measure of a player's performance, normalizing for the his home park and league-era environments.
  9. ^ "1973 National League Championship Series, Game 5". Baseball-reference.com. 1973-10-10. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN197310100.shtml.  
  10. ^ Interview with Ed Kranepool. Jimmy Scott's High and Tight. Posted January 11, 2010. http://www.jimmyscottshighandtight.com/node/1017.
  11. ^ "The Top 50 Mets of All Time: #43 Joel Youngblood". http://www.amazinavenue.com/story/2007/1/22/04216/2770. Retrieved 2009-09-06.  
  12. ^ "The Ultimate Mets Database: Ed Kranepool". http://ultimatemets.com/profile.php?PlayerCode=0007&tabno=7. Retrieved 2009-12-23.  
Advertisements

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message