Kranepool signed with the Mets out of James Monroe High in the Bronx for $85,000. Asked why the 6'3", lefthanded first baseman was being kept on the bench in 1962, manager Casey Stengel replied, "Listen. He's only seventeen and he runs like he's thirty." When, by nineteen, Kranepool hadn't developed as expected, a New York newspaper headline asked, "Is Ed Kranepool Over the Hill?" He endured such taunts but later enjoyed glory. After six years, including the 1969 World Championship season, as the Mets' most regular first baseman, in 1970 hefty number 7 was sent to the minors, and considered retiring. But in 1971, he hit .280 with career highs in HR, RBI, and runs scored, and led the league with a .998 fielding average. He flowered as a pinch hitter late in his career, batting a ML-record .486 in 1974 (with a league-leading 17 pinch hits) and hit .396 in the role from 1974 through 1978. Kranepool played in each of the Mets' first 18 seasons, retiring as the all-time club leader in eight offensive categories. He made money away from baseball as a stockbroker and restaurateur. (KT)
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