Mike Freire - Blast From The Past (Ed Kranepool)


OK, so I will admit that the Mets' startling downturn has gotten to me quite a bit.  That has resulted in a bit of a negative turn in my recent contributions to this site and in my general fandom as a whole.  While I try to "call them like I see them", I prefer to be positive whenever possible.

With that said, I wanted to switch things up a bit and take a different approach for this series of articles.  I am calling them my "blast from the past" and I will pick a player from the Mets' teams of the past and take a deeper look at them, using the fancy "new" statistical models that may not have been in existence at that time.

Recent installments of this series have focused on players like Hubie Brooks, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry and even Kevin Mitchell.  However, in an effort to focus a bit on players that were not considered "stars", I wanted to take a look at a former player who was viewed as rather ordinary by the name of Ed Kranepool.

Before I begin, I want to share a story with you that relates to the subject for this installment.  As a very young lad, my family lived in North Jersey for a spell before relocating to Upstate New York.  My step father (who has since passed), used to watch a lot of baseball so that meant that I watched a lot of baseball since we only had one TV and he was in firm control of what channel we watched.  As luck would have it, we were "treated" to Mets' telecasts more often then any other team, so that's what was on TV when I was forming my allegiances (I know, why couldn't we have tuned into the Yankees channel......but what fun would that be).

My step father was pretty vocal and never shied away from letting the players know how he felt (not that they could hear him through the TV).  For quite a while, I thought Ed Kranepool's actual first name was a curse word that we will skip, since it always preceded his last name in one of my step father's very loud rants (I eventually learned his real first name after I started reading the newspaper).

As amusing as that story may be, I recall Ed being the target of a lot of fan's abuse during that time and I can only shake my head at what he would have endured today with social media outlets and 24 hour news cycles.  So, that memory piqued my interest and I wanted to see just how good OR bad our former first baseman (and part time outfielder) was.

Ed was born in November of 1944 and subsequently signed with the Mets in June of 1962 as a 17 year old amateur free agent, so he was affiliated with the very first edition of the Mets (although he didn't play much that year).  Eventually, he worked his way into the big league lineup and was a semi-regular contributor from that point until he stopped playing after the 1979 season.  All told, he was a life long Met (which almost never happens anymore, with the advent of free agency and team payroll imbalances) and he was also a part of eighteen different seasons, to include the 1969 World Champions which is pretty cool if you ask me.

During his time on the field, he compiled almost 6000 plate appearances (5,997 to be exact), which is roughly the equivalent of ten full seasons if you use 600 plate appearances as a full season for computations.  So, ten seasons worth of at bats over an eighteen year career usually means that you were injury prone and/or a part time (platoon) player.

With that said, his career statistical line is as follows;

.261/.316/.377  (.693 OPS, which isn't great)

118 HR/614 RBI/15 SB/536 R

4.4 Career WAR (also not great)

***almost -11.0 dWAR (which is not what you want from your first baseman)

OR, using our divisor, an "average" Ed Kranepool season would look like this;

.261/.316/.377  (.693 OPS)

12 HR/61 RBI/1.5 SB/53 R

0.44 WAR and -1.1 dWAR

Well, sometimes when you research something, you find out that things weren't as good as you thought.  I know it was a different era, but those numbers are vintage 2018 Adrian Gonzalez territory.  I respect Ed as one of the "original Mets", but I also see why my step father had some colorful things to say about his contributions on the field.

I was too young to truly remember much about his career, but perhaps some of our more seasoned readers can add to the details in this article?


Mack Ade said...

I had the honor of being on the same field with Ed in 1962 (Polo Grounds) when the Mets' Solly Hemus and Cookie Lavagetto held an open tryout sponsored by the old Daily Mirror newspaper.

A Met through and through.

Thomas Brennan said...

Eddie K was the Mets' only 17 year old major leaguer.

I wonder what his game would have been like with today's training regimens (assuming, of course, he did not get hurt in the process). He always looked physically like a guy in an adjoining cubicle in the office physically. I'll bet it would have made a real difference. he always looked like he never lifted a weight. I look at Pete Alonso now, who was also slow but went thru a grueling workout regimen all winter.

By Alonso's current age, Kranepool had a ton of major league ABs, so I hope (not to digress) that Peter is allowed SOON to try out his wares in Queens.

All the best to Eddie Kranepool, who thrilled us with the best pinch hitting this side of Rusty Staub.

Hobie said...

I knew a guy who played with Ed at Jmes Monroe HS. This acquaintance could hit but was defensively challenged so they "hid" him at 2B allowing Krane to cover the right side of the IF.

He was slow to be sure. The opening day 1963 (played hooky that day) NYM OF of Krane (at 18, RF), Snider (CF) & Frank Thomas (LF) had to be the all-time slowest.

Mack's Mets © 2012