You can’t tell the story of the Mets without mentioning Ed Kranepool. He’s one of only three players in franchise history to spend their entire 10+ year career with the Mets. Every one of his 1,853 games over 18 years took place with this ball club. You don’t see that very often.
Kranepool was never a great MLB player. He made one trip to the All-Star Game in 1965. I would argue it wasn’t nearly his best season. He barely hit .250 and his OBP on the year was scraping the .300 mark. Still, it’s nice to know such a loyal player could get his one moment.
Yet another thing you don’t see often, Kranepool debuted as a 17-year-old. We know the 1962 Mets were infamously bad. Were they bad enough to recruit 17-year-olds?
Kranepool wasn’t just any teenager hoping to play a kid’s game for a living. He became a pretty stable hitter for the Mets. In total, he slashed .261/.316/.377 in his 5,997 trips to the plate.
Every year, the Mets knew who their primary first baseman would be. Kranepool also spent some time in the corner outfield to add another dimension to his game. It likely helped him stick around longer. Although, some productive years in the final seasons surely helped as well.
For example, “The Krane” hit .299/.349/.419 from 1974 to 1977. He was a part-time player at this stage of his career, but a very valuable piece on the roster. Often, he was a bat off the bench they could count on.
When we compare Kranepool’s statistics to other Mets players both from the past and present, they’re quite underwhelming. Other than games played, he’s not a leader in any category.
He was a leader in the locker room, though. Greatness isn’t always measured by how many home runs you hit or strikeouts you accumulate. In Kranepool’s case, it’s about what he meant to the franchise.