Sep 08

Today in Mets’ History: Final Ed Kranepool home run.

The first Met I remember as a kid was Ed Kranepool. Maybe it was the way Bob Murphy pronounced his name, I don’t know. Who really knows why things stick in your head when you’re ten years old?

KRANEPOOL: Hit final homer on this date.

My family spent our summer vacations at my grandmother’s house in Pelham, and I watched a lot of Met games. This was before the 1969 season, and they usually lost, often in agonizing fashion.

Kranepool always stood out although he wasn’t a great player. At the time, he was pretty much the best the Mets had to offer.

By 1979, I was following the Mets in the box scores and occasionally the Game of the Week. Growing up near Cleveland, the Indians were on once or twice a week, and I always thought how great it would be to live in New York when the games were on every day.

On this date that season, Kranepool hit the 118th, and final, home run of his career in a 3-2, 15-inning win over Pittsburgh.

Kranepool made his debut as a 17-year old in the Mets’ inaugural 1962 season as a defensive replacement for Gil Hodges, Sept. 22, and the next day started his first game and collected his first hit.

He began the next season splitting time at first base and right field, and was getting more time the following year. In 1965, he gave up his No. 21 to Warren Spahn and began wearing No. 7, and was the Mets’ lone representative in the All-Star Game.

Kranepool was demoted to Tidewater in 1970 and contemplated retirement, but had his best season the following year. He lost his starting job in 1973 to John Milner, and was a platoon player the next two years, and finished his career as a role player/pinch hitter, retiring at 34 in 1979.

After retirement, Kranepool was part of a group that attempted to buy the Mets, but lost out to the Nelson Doubleday-Fred Wilpon group. He worked as a stockbroker after retirement and was inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame in 1990.

KRANEPOOL CAREER

 

Jul 31

Today in Mets’ History: Orosco beats Pirates twice.

Jesse Orosco had one of those days relievers only dream about on this date in 1983 when he beat the Pirates in both ends of a doubleheader, winning the first game in 12 innings, 7-6, and the nightcap, 1-0, also in 12 innings.

OROSCO: Iconic image.

Orosco, who pitched for the Mets, Dodgers (twice), Indians, Brewers, Orioles, Cardinals, Padres, Yankees and Twins (those last three teams all in the 2003 season), appeared in a major league record 1,252 games.

Orosco is the subject of one of the most enduring World Series photographs when he tossed his glove into the air after striking out Marty Barrett for the final out of the 1986 Series.

OROSCO CAREER

 

 

Jul 09

Today in Mets’ History: Always terrific, Seaver was nearly perfect.

It is possible this game in 1969 is most remembered from that amazing season. On this date in 1969, and maybe each day since for Tom Seaver, he’ll remember Jimmy Qualls’ sinking single into the left-center gap with one out in the eighth inning to break up his perfect game bid and forced him to settle for one-hit, 4-0 shutout.

SEAVER: Almost perfect on this day.

It was one of 31 hits Qualls had during his career. It was one of five one-hitters Seaver threw for the Mets. Years later, Seaver got his no-hitter, but it was while pitching for Cincinnati.

When asked which meant more to him, the one-hitter or the no-hitter, Seaver said: “The one-hitter.  I had better stuff that night and we were making a move on the Cubs.’’

BOX SCORE

Seaver’s game thrust the Mets into the national spotlight as a contender. I was living in Ohio at the time and rarely did the 11 p.m., sports feature clips from games other than the Indians, but they did on this night.

I always followed the box scores then, but after that game I started following them a little more closely.

 

Jun 03

Today in Mets History: A small, yet a big step.

Great journeys begin with small steps and the Mets took on this day in 1969 when Ed Kranepool homered twice to back Tom Seaver to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was the Mets’ sixth straight victory and it gave them a 24-23 record to pull them over .500 at the latest point in the season in club history.

BOX SCORE

I grew up in Cleveland, but had family in New York that we visited every summer. This was about the time I started paying attention to the Mets watching them on Channel 9.

I used to love watching Ralph, Murph and Lindsey Nelson.

The TV coverage of the Indians at the time was horrible, but these guys made it fun to watch the games, and when they started winning it was even better.

 

Jun 20

Mets Chat Room: Happy Father’s Day edition.

First things first, wishing you dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.

Game #69 at Yankees

I’d especially like to say hi to my dad, who introduced me to baseball, and nurtured my love for the sport as somebody who’d play catch with me in the back yard, take me to the Indians games and hit grounders to me as my Little League coach.

Baseball, to this day, has always been a common denominator in our lives. Even when we argued, as fathers and sons do, baseball was something we could always talk about.

Later, I brought him down to spring training with me and that was a wonderful, special time, one I’ll always be grateful for having experienced.

I love my dad and always will for the things he taught and gave me, and one of those things was baseball.

Thanks dad.

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