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

 

Sep 06

Mets’ injury updates

Ike Davis has been working out for Terry Collins while the Mets are in Miami, and will return to New York after this series to be examined by team physicians.

Davis has been saying surgery won’t be needed on his left ankle, and is hoping the Mets’ doctors will confirm his self-diagnosis. Davis is expected to shut it down for the remainder of the season.

The Mets eschewed microfracture surgery over a month ago with the hope the injury would heal with rest and it would not be needed. So far, that gamble has paid off, we won’t know for sure until spring training.

Meanwhile, Johan Santana will throw a bullpen session today and pitch in a minor league playoff game Friday. Santana is hopeful of pitching a couple of innings in a major league game next week.

The Mets aren’t expecting Jon Niese of Scott Hairston to return this season.

 

Sep 03

Today in Mets’ History: Remembering Bob Ojeda.

Much of the greatness of the Mets’ 1986 rotation was in its depth, personified by Bob Ojeda. One first thinks of Doc Gooden and Ron Darling, then Sid Fernandez, but some would stumble on Ojeda.

OJEDA: Underrated straight shooter.

Ojeda, originally signed by Boston, was more than just the stereotypical “crafty lefthander.’’ He knew how to set up hitters, spot his pitches and climb the latter with them.

On this date in 1986, Ojeda gave up two runs on three hits in a complete-game 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium to increase his record to 16-4 at the time. He finished the season at 18-5 with a 2.57 ERA.

The Mets acquired Ojeda from the Red Sox after the 1985 season for reliever Calvin Schiraldi, and both would end up playing key roles the following season and in the 1986 World Series when New York beat Boston in seven games.

Ojeda had a critical, yet often forgotten part in the Mets’ 1986 postseason run when he won Game 2 of the NLCS against Houston after the Astros won the first game, and Game 3 of the World Series at Boston after the Mets lost the first two games.

Ojeda started Game 6 in both the NLCS and World Series, each won by the Mets in dramatic fashion, although he didn’t earn a decision.

Ojeda later pitched for Los Angeles, Cleveland and the Yankees before retiring early in the 1994 season.

Tragically, Ojeda was remembered for being the sole survivor in a 1993 spring training boating accident that killed fellow Cleveland teammates Steve Olin and Tim Crews.

Ojeda is currently a studio analyst on SNY and has proven to be a remarkable straight shooter, perceptive and not afraid to call somebody out.

Ojeda saw things clearly as a player, too, with this quote about raucous fans: “The fans throw different things. Rock stars have stuff like flowers and underwear. We get batteries and knives.’’

BOX SCORE

OJEDA CAREER

 

Sep 02

It’s Reyes’ call if he stays or not.

The Mets will make an offer for Jose Reyes this winter. Bet on it. He’s a core member of this team, which often wins when he’s on his game. However, making an offer and staying aren’t necessarily linked. And, the Einhorn deal falling through will have little bearing on the outcome.

REYES: What's he thinking?

How badly the Mets want to retain Reyes will be reflected in the dollar offer, which this spring was referred to as “Crawford money,” as in $142 million over seven years. At the time, Fred Wilpon said it wouldn’t happen, that something always happens to Reyes. Wilpon took heat for it at the time, but he was right.

Something has happened as in the form of two trips to the disabled list with hamstring injuries, critical for a speed player. The Mets need to be cautious with their offer to Reyes, even if there were no financial black clouds overhead. He’s a player who relies on legs that have been hurt. If it’s not the legs, it’s the oblique. It is always something.

The guy hasn’t stayed on the field for a complete season in three years and you know he’ll ask for at least five. Right now, that would be a risk.

The Mets might load up on the bucks and shorten up on the years. They could come in with $60 million over three years and if he proves healthy go through the process again. Or, maybe $80 million over four years. Even that’s a gamble for a team with as many questions as the Mets will face this winter.

Hometown discount? Probably not, even though the Mets did give him a long term deal early in his career when he desperately needed the money.

Both offers I listed are $20 million a season which is far from chump change. If Reyes likes New York as much as he says he does, he could consider going short and doing it again, and if he stays healthy, get another payday.

Both offers are enough for him and his family for generations, to live comfortable for the rest of their lives. The examples like Jered Weaver who ask “how much is enough?” are few and far between, and I don’t believe Reyes is one of those players.

The Mets will make an offer that would make him the highest-paid position player in franchise history and up there at his position with the likes of Derek Jeter, who has done it for 15 years. Their offer shouldn’t be classified as cheap considering Reyes’ issues, but will likely be rejected.

The contract won’t be what Reyes wants, but it will be more than what he needs. It’s all on him whether he stays.

Jul 28

An appreciation of Carlos Beltran

The inevitable happened and Carlos Beltran is now a member of the San Francisco Giants, where he has an opportunity to atone for taking strike three against Adam Wainwright in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.

One thing for certain is he wasn’t going to get it from the Mets, even had he stayed.

BELTRAN: Should be remembered positively.

After two injury riddled seasons and the Mets’ financial empire crumbling, we knew Beltran wouldn’t finish out the year. Saddled with a contract that didn’t allow compensatory draft picks, the Mets had to get something before he walked this winter.

General manager Sandy Alderson did as well as could be expected in getting one of the Giants’ top pitching prospects in Zachary Wheeler. He did so because San Francisco has a young and loaded rotation. F0r the Giants to repeat, they need a bat and Beltran was the best on the market.

In theory, the trade could help the Giants win this year and the rebuilding Mets in the future.

Unquestionably, Beltran’s agent, Scott Boras, played a persuasive role, as he made the impression to his client that with several salaries coming off the books next year, the Giants could have the resources to make an extension.

In dealing Beltran, the Mets gave up arguably the franchise’s most complete position player, even over Darryl Strawberry, David Wright and Jose Reyes. Beltran has all the tools and the Mets were lucky to have him. Unfortunately, too many Mets’ fans have a block on Beltran, and he hasn’t received the appreciation warranted a multiple All-Star.

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