No one has played more games in a New York Mets uniform than the 1853 that Ed Kranepool did from 1962 up until 1979. Up until 2012, Kranepool led the Mets in hits with 1,418 before third baseman David Wright passed him.
“I had a 30-year slump,” Kranepool joked as he talked to Wallace Matthews of The New York Times, “and David caught me.”
That turns out to be the only light-hearted part of the sad predicament the former Met is in right. The 73-year-old Kranepool is awaiting a kidney transplant that he hopes will take place early in 2018. He also recently had all of the toes on his left foot amputated as he continues to battle health issues stemming from life-long diabetes.
The long-time Mets first baseman is selling off most of the baseball memorabilia that is left in his Long Island home though he insist it’s not because he needs the money, “I just don’t have space for it, there’s no more space on the walls, and my closets are full. I’ve given so much away to my kids and grandkids that they can’t take any more. So now, I’d rather the fans have it.”
Kranepool saw his fair share of ups and downs with the Mets organization being a part of teams that lost at least 100 games in five of his first six seasons as a major leaguer.
The Bronx native was a key cog off the bench for the Miracle Mets in 1969 and again in 1973 when the Mets made it to the World Series. That connection to the organization seems to mean very little to organization as Kranepool says that Jay Horowitz, Mets media relations director, is the only person from the Mets to contact him during his recent health issues.
Horwitz proclaims that the bad blood between Kranepool and the Wilpons stems from an incident at an annual team dinner five or six years ago in the midst of the time period when the Mets were looking to recruit investors to buy minority stakes in the team because of their involvement in the Bernie Madoff fraud scheme.
Horwitz tells Wallace, “Ed approached Jeff in front of a lot of people and said, ‘I hear you are selling shares in your team.”
And then, according to Horwitz, Kranepool added: “I don’t want shares. I want to buy the whole team so I can run it better than you and your father.”
Kranepool was part of a group led by Martin Luther King III that showed interest in buying stake in the Mets back in 2011. The group also included TV executive Larry Meli and Donn Clendenon Jr., the son of former the Met outfielder. The group insisted that they wanted to buy at least 50 percent of the team.
In the end, Mets ownership ended up selling 12 minority shares of the team at $20 million each.
The Wilpons still apparently holding a grudge with Kranepool have not reached out to him at all in recent years and neither Fred or Jeff responded to an interview request by The New York Times.
Horwitz remains the only one to talk to Kranepool, “Jay Horwitz is a sweetheart,” Kranepool said. “He’s been a true friend and a gentleman. He’s called me a couple of times. But he’s the only one who has. Not that I need them to do anything for me, but Fred or somebody could have called to say, ‘How you feeling?’”
“I did a lot for that ball club,’’ Kranepool added. “Don’t treat me like an outsider.’’
Kranepool says he will keep his 1969 World Series ring despite previous thoughts of selling it. Though he will be selling off his massive collection of memorabilla that includes signed items by Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays. Potential buyers can look at the items at Kranepool’s home until the end of the year then they will to auction.
Kranepool made his major league debut for the Mets on Sept. 22, 1962 at just 17-years-old. Almost exactly 17 years later on Sept. 30, 1979 he would play in his final game in the organization, fittingly as a pinch hitter.
In 1974, Kranepool hit .486 as a pinch hitter, still the major league record for best average in a season with at least 30 at-bats. He’s also the Mets all-time leader in pinch hits with 90.
Ed has decided to seek out a donor for a kidney privately rather than be place on a waiting list and has even heard from longtime Mets fans trying to offer help.
To read the entire story by Wallace Matthews head over here.