Good evening baseball fans and fellow fans of Ed. In case you didn’t notice the name of this blog, All Things Ed, it’s a tribute to my baseball hero while I was struggling with the Mendoza line in little league: Ed Kranepool. I wish I could say that Ed and I have a deep and personal relationship. Sadly, we’ve only met once, and it was just for a moment at a spring training game at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg on March 14, 1977 against the Dodgers. Sure, the Mets won 5-3 on the back of a HUGE 2 run home run by Dave Kingman that nearly hit neighboring Bayfront Center. But that’s not why my buddy Dave and I were allowed to skip school to attend. Rather it was to see one person who befriended a lousy little leaguer the year before in spring training. In the spring of 1976, Ed’s wife was admitted to Bayfront Medical Center and ended up on my mom’s floor, who was a nurse at the time. She called me up and asked “Do you know who Ed Kranepool is? For occupation he said ‘baseball player – NY Mets'”? I said I sure did and had a couple of his baseball cards. Over the next few days, Ed relayed messages, mainly batting tips about opening up my stance to see the ball better, and passed along an autographed baseball. When he returned to NY, he even sent a personalized autographed photo. And this was back in the day when players didn’t care if it came from there home address, so it came from his house in South Farmingdale! I was in heaven. Even told my coach one day when working on my stance that a PRO baseball player named Ed Kranepool suggested I open it up! So in 1977, Dave and I made posters and brought them to the game to cheer on our hero. Dave rooted for the Dodgers and my “Let’s Go Big Ed” poster and I pulled for the Mets. During warmups we were able to get Ed to sign it, and when I told him who I was, he was very happy to come over and sign it and asked about my mom. What a cool guy! My budding baseball career fizzled out faster than a late round draft pick called up in September call ups who can’t hit a curve ball! But thanks to Mr. Kranepool, my love for baseball never died. I devoutly read every box score, looking to see how he did. Picked up books on Casey Stengel, Yogi, and all the legends. So for this, I thank you, Ed Kranepool!
So…. what’s this about Kranepool winning a game in the 8th? Well, on this day, June 15, back in 1963, Ed hit a solo shot
in the top of the 8th against Joey Jay of the Reds to put the Mets up 2-1. It was the second home run of his major league career, and came when he was only 18 years old and less than a year out of high school. The Mets had signed Kranepool on June 27, 1962, a day after he graduated from James Monroe High School in the Bronx. His signing bonus of $85,000 (worth about $665,000 today) was used to get him mom into a nice three bedroom house in Parkchester. You see, Ed’s father was killed in France in WWII, just four months before Ed was born. Oh, and he splurged on a new T-bird! At the end of the 1979 season, Ed hung up his spikes as a life long member of the Mets, and the last of the original Mets, having made his debut in September 1962. And on a side note, Ed shares the same birthday as my daughter, Ashley – November 8th! So here’s to you, Ed, on the anniversary of you second career dinger. And thanks for everything! If you’d like to see a few of then vs now videos of Ed, here are some courtesy of YouTube
Kranepool hits a 4 bagger in the World Series
Kranepool interviewed by Pulitzer Prize-winning sports writer Ira Berkow for Berkow’s book “Summers at Shea”
(note this interview is an hour long so sit back and enjoy!)
And Ed’s iconic performance on Saturday Night Live with Bill Murray, addressing accusations about fellow Met players by Chico Escuela, can be found here.