Last week, David Wright passed Ed Kranepool for the Mets all-time hit leader…
MetsBlog’s Brian Erni recently talked with Kranepool to get his take on being passed by Wright, as well as his take on the direction of the franchise:
Ed Kranepool: Obviously records are made to be broken. David is a gentleman and has been a class act for the ball club. He’s been held in high esteem for a number of years, so if anyone was going to do it, I’m glad it was him. You know, you’re a little disappointed that you’re not going to be number one. But if you have to be number two, I can’t think of a better guy to replace me. I just shouldn’t have had that last slump the last 30 years (laughs) and let him catch up to me.
Brian Erni: You’re a guy who played his entire career for one team. What do you think that means for a player, especially in today’s modern game?
Ed Kranepool: Well, there are different things happening now. Free agency creates a different situation. David is going to go through it soon and have the opportunity to have a big contract. If he doesn’t take advantage of that now, it’s going to pass him by. So he has to make a major decision and decide whether the ball club is going to rebuild fast enough that he’ll be part of a pennant contender. He certainly wants to be on a winner. He has that decision. We didn’t have that luxury during the height of our careers, so you were going to stay longer with one organization. You were forced to. And fortunately, for me, we started winning, and it was fun. But then when we started losing again, it wasn’t. And losing is very difficult for a player.
Brian Erni: Your name has been back in the news with David’s pursuit of the franchise hit record, and it may have given some younger fans who started watching the Mets after you retired in 1979 the opportunity to get more familiar with your career. What do you think your legacy is in Mets history?
Ed Kranepool: Well, I still have some records there. I still have the most games and the most pinch hits, so they’re not all gone. When you’re in the papers, it’s positive and people still recognize your name now after all these years. Being out of the game for 30-some-odd years, I still am recognized in New York and that’s certainly been a plus for me.
Brian Erni: I know you get out to the park a lot as part of the Mets Alumni Association. What’s your overall take on the club? Are you interested to see what direction they take next offseason? Especially as it pertains to David and a potential contract extension.
Ed Kranepool: I’m always interested to see what way they’re going to go. I’m a Mets fan. Having played my whole career there, I identify with them, so it’s always better to see them in a winning situation. It has to be going forward through the offense and a solidified bullpen. They probably can’t stand still. Had they finished .500, maybe you wouldn’t see a change in direction, but they came back to a point where the ball club showed they need some changes. They’ve had some encouragement with some young arms, but they have to develop them.
Brian Erni: Speaking of the young arms, have you gotten a chance to see Matt Harvey pitch at all? Either at the ballpark on on TV?
Ed Kranepool: I’ve seen him in person. He has a live arm and certainly has potential. But you’ve got to take it to the next stage now. He’s shown he can pitch at this level and he can compete, and he wants to compete. They have a few kids that can do that with good arms. Now you have to take it to the next stage and see how they do. I think they have some bright stars coming up, but there’s a big difference between Triple A and the Majors. [Harvey] has shown he can do it up here, now he just has to show us on a consistent basis.
Brian Erni: Ed, thanks for the time and congratulations on a great career.