Monday, January 22, 2018

Ed Kranepool (#212)

Here’s an Original Met. Well, not from day 1, but from year 1.

Ed played 18 seasons (1962-79), all with the Mets. His career home run total of 118 (in 1853 games) was atypical for a corner infielder.

Kranepool was signed by the Mets in late-June 1962, and fast-tracked his way through the organization (20 games in Class D, 7 in Class A, and 14 in triple-A), making his major-league debut with 3 games against the Cubs in the final week of the season (at age 17).

Ed began the 1963 season with the Mets (playing mostly as a right fielder) but by early-July was sent down to triple-A Buffalo, returning to New York in September.

In 1964 Ed took over as the regular 1st baseman on May 31st and started 101 of the final 119 games (replacing the trio of Tim Harkness, Dick Smith, and Frank Thomas).

On the last day before his call-up, he played both ends of a doubleheader for triple-A Buffalo (18 innings). The following day he played both games of a doubleheader for the Mets. Game #2 went 23 innings, and Ed was in the lineup for the entire 2 games. In 2 days he played a total of 50 innings!

Ed continued as the regular 1st baseman from 1964-69, although he was platooned quite a bit in 1968, and gave way to Donn Clendenon for most of the final 2 months in 1969. He made his only All-star team in 1965.

1970 was an off-year for Kranepool. He was sent down to AAA in late-June due to his .118 batting average. He returned 2 months later, but only played 43 games for the Mets that season. He was back in 1971, starting 2/3 of the games to Clendenon’s 1/3.

Ed only started half of the games at 1st base in 1972. The remaining games saw a mix of 6 other players starting there, including Willie Mays for 9 games.

The final 7 years saw Kranepool in a backup role, starting a few dozen games at 1B and a few dozen in the outfield each year. However, he was the team’s primary 1st baseman from 1975-76, starting less than half the games, but just a bit more than Dave Kingman (’75) and Joe Torre (’76).

Kranepool retired after the 1979 season, and was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1990.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Born on the Same Day - 10/14/1940

Another installment in my "Born on the Same Day" series, featuring players who were born on the same day (!) and year. 

This is post #18 in the series: Tommy Harper and Billy Sorrell - both born on 10/14/1940.

Tommy Harper came up with the Reds in 1962 and was a starting corner outfielder for them from 1963 to 1967 (leading the NL with 127 runs scored in 1965).

After 1 year in Cleveland, he was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft and was their starting 2B/3B in 1969. That season he led the AL in stolen bases (and also in times caught stealing).
He played 2 more seasons with the Brewers as their starting 3rd baseman (although by July 1971 he had moved back to the outfield).

Harper was a starting outfielder for the Red Sox from 1972-74, then strangely enough was traded to the Angels after the season for a utility infielder! He bounced to the Athletics and Orioles in late-75 and 1976 before retiring.

Billy Sorrell had a much shorter career. After playing in the Phillies' farm system from 1960-66, the Giants selected him in the Rule 5 draft (snaring Sorrell a spot on the 1967 Giants Rookie Stars card), but returned him to Philadelphia after a few weeks.

The Mets picked him up in 1968 for AAA depth, and he also played for the Royals' AAA team from 1969-71. Sorrell managed to see action in 57 games for the Royals in 1970, which is why this card exists. He finished up with 2 years in Japan (1972-73).