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 17

Today in Mets’ History: Big rally against Braves.

The Atlanta Braves didn’t always have a stranglehold on the Mets. On this date in 1973, Rusty Staub and John Milner each hit two-run homers as the Mets scored seven runs in the ninth inning in a dramatic 8-7 comeback victory at Atlanta.

Tug McGraw started and went six innings for the Mets, with Buzz Capra getting the win.

BOX SCORE

The Mets, who would play in the World Series that year, improved to 39-50 with the victory in sixth place in the NL East.

 

 

 

Jun 05

Today in Mets History: Mazzilli drafted.

A local boy made good for the Mets when on this day in 1973 they used their first-round pick to select Brooklyn Lincoln High School outfielder Lee Mazzilli.

MAZZILLI: Tabbed in draft.

Area kid, skilled and with movie star good looks, Mazzilli seemed destined to be a big New York star.

Three years later he debuted with the Mets and played with them through the 1982 season after which he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Ron Darling and Walt Terrell. It turned out to be a great deal for the Mets, who subsequently dealt Terrell to Detroit for Howard Johnson.

Mazzilli didn’t last a full season with the Rangers, who traded him to the Yankees. After the 1982 season, Mazzilli was traded to Pittsburgh, where he played three years. He was released, then re-signed with the Mets in July of the 1986 season.

Ironically, prior to that year, the Mets offered Ray Knight to Pittsburgh for Mazzilli, but the Pirates rejected the deal.

Mazzilli finished his career with Toronto in 1989, and managed the Baltimore Orioles in 2004, but was fired the following year.

Mazzilli’s best two years were 1979-80. In 1979, he represented the Mets in the All-Star Game at Seattle and hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and drove in the winning run in the ninth with a bases-loaded walk.

The following year, Mazzilli hit 18 homers with 76 RBI and 41 stolen bases.

MAZZILLI’S CAREER STATS

Mazzilli will also be remembered for testifying for immunity in the Pittsburgh drug trials along with teammates Dale Berra, Lee Lacy, John Milner and Rod Scurry.  Keith Hernandez also testified at the trial.

 

May 17

Today in Mets History: Milner unloads vs. Expos.


MILNER: Had big day vs. Expos.

Nicknamed “The Hammer,’’ because he could rake, John Milner is another whose career never lived up to its expectations because of injuries. In his case a succession of hamstring issues.

A left fielder and first baseman, Milner broke in with the Mets in 1971 and played through the 1977 season. He was traded to Pittsburgh (1978-81), played with Montreal (1981-82) and spent the latter part of the 1982 season back with Pittsburgh.

On this date in 1972, when he hamstrings were still fresh and had a lot of spring, Milner drove in five runs in a 12-2 rout of the Expos at Shea Stadium.

Milner finished with a career .249 average with 131 homers and 498 RBI.

Milner died Jan. 4, 2000, at age 50, from lung cancer.

CAREER RECORD

BOX SCORE

 

UP NEXT: Tonight’s line-up against Florida.