WHERE ARE THEY NOW? 1969 World Champions: Ed Kranepool

By Brette Trost 

The Miracle Mets of 1969 shocked Major League Baseball and the world by giving the young Mets franchise its first World Championship. Each week we’ll take a look at what the members of the ’69 team are doing 46 years later, while reliving some of their best moments as members of the Mets. Check back weekly to learn what your favorite Amazin’ is up to now.

On a Thursday afternoon at Citi Field, a Mets legend is hiding among the fans. Sitting a few rows behind home plate is Ed Kranepool, the former slugger who made his debut for the Mets in their inaugural year as a fresh-faced 17-year-old.

As Kranepool enjoys a day at the ballpark, he reminisces on his time with the Mets, and what he considers to be the defining moment of that magical 1969 season.

With the Cubs up 5 ½ games in the NL East at the beginning of July, Chicago came to Shea Stadium to face the Mets in a three-game series. In the first game on July 8, Kranepool got the Mets off to a lead with a home run in the fifth off Fergie Jenkins.

However, the first-place Cubs battled back, going up 3-1. To begin what would become a magical end to the season, the Mets tied the game at three apiece in the bottom of the ninth, before Kranepool singled home Cleon Jones for the walk-off win.

“You have to beat the ball clubs that are ahead of you,” he said. “I beat them the first game with a base hit in the ninth inning, then Seaver pitched his near perfect game on the next night.”

Kranepool split his time between first base and the outfield before ending his career as one of the most successful pinch hitters in the game. He finished his Mets career with 118 home runs, which puts him in the top 10 all-time Mets leaders.

Kranepool played his entire 18-season career with the Amazin’s, and holds several offensive records at Shea Stadium. He has played the most games in a Mets uniform, with 1,853 total, and is second behind David Wright in hits, with 1,418.

He retired in 1979 at the age of 34, becoming the last original Met to leave the big leagues and was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1990.

A lifelong New Yorker, the Bronx-born Kranepool has stayed in the Big Apple following his retirement from baseball. For the last 25 years, Kranepool, now 70, has been working in the credit card processing business as well as working with charities to help fight autism and diabetes.

A regular at Citi Field, Kranepool still follows the team closely.

“The Mets are building a great pitching staff just like we had,” he said. “There’s a bright future ahead for everybody.”

He still keeps in touch with his former teammates who live in the New York area, such as Bud Harrelson who lives in Long Island. Art Shamsky who lives in Manhattan and Ed Charles who lives in Queens. He also keeps in touch with his former roommate Ron Swoboda, though Swoboda now resides in New Orleans.

“We have all kinds of reunions,” he said. “We have card shows and some of the guys just go out for dinner. It’s great to renew and rekindle all the old stories.”

So next time you’re at Citi Field, keep an eye out for this Mets legend, who may be sitting in the next section over, relishing the new, while keeping the past fresh in the minds of fans.

George and Billy in the studio, May 1969, during the production of the brilliant ‘That’s the Way God Planned It’.

“George is wonderful. George is very spiritual. He’s a very loving and humble person. He’s a very good friend and is like a brother to me.”

Billy about George. 

  • George helping Ringo write Octopus's Garden (part 1)
Play

George helping Ringo write Octopus’s Garden (part 1) (part 2)

Get Back sessions, 26 Jan. 1969.

GEORGE: Have you written any more words Ringo, to that one about Picasso?

RINGO: No. Have you heard the octopus one?

GEORGE: [amused] No.

[Ringo starts playing Octopus’s Garden on piano]

GEORGE: You learned A minor, eh?

RINGO: I’d like to be, underneath the sea, in an octopus’s garden in the shade. It would be nice, paradise, in an octopus’s garden in the shade.

RINGO: That’s all I’ve got.

[laughter]

GEORGE: Awww, that’s great!