Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, March 3.
Rather than talking about the present exhibition season just now, I’ll take a moment for the man who was the face of the Mets’ franchise from their inception through the Miracle Mets year of 1969 and the near-miss just 4 years later. Ed Kranepool was an outfielder early on. He was their token all-star at the 1965 All-Star game played in Minnesota. He later became a rock at first base, then as good a pinch-hitter as the Mets ever had. Nobody played more games as a Met than Ed Kranepool’s 1853 and the way free agency is nobody probably will play that many games for the Mets or any other team. Now, at 72 one of the Miracle Mets needs a miracle. He needs a kidney transplant.
Kranepool suffers from the ravages of diabetes. It struck him in 1979 in his mid-thirties. Since 2008 diabetes became an uninvited and unwelcome house guest in my life. So a story like this hits me harder than somebody for whom “diabetes” is just a word, not a constant and unpleasant companion.
So far, I suffer from numbness in both feet and count my blessings that the trouble is no worse. Half the world’s diabetics have this problem. Many who can see lose their sight. I never had my sight, so I had the jump on diabetes in that regard.
Insulin and other medications keep the internal terrorist under control but just for so long.
In Kranepool’s case the dire trouble he’s in now began with a toe infection last August. Yes folks, diabetics and healthy folks, a toe infection. From there the disease ran wild. Kranepool’s left big toe was amputated two days ago. In September His kidneys failed which is where the miracle part comes in. He has gone public with the fact that he needs a kidney, a fact he has faced privately since September.
To partially cover his medical bills Kranepool has no choice but to put his 1969 World Series ring and other prized memorabilia up for auction. The ring itself will be sold in mid-May and Ken Golden who will conduct the auction says it could bring anywhere between 50 and 100 thousand dollars. Golden says no Mets’ 1969 World Series ring has become available.
As I see it this radical step, selling Kranepool’s memorabilia shouldn’t be necessary. Somebody should cut a check and cut it very soon.
Some modern era Met or other big leaguer with a multi-million dollar contract should step up to the plate and cover the expenses of Kranepool’s treatment whether or not a kidney donor is found in time.
The sad truth is Kranepool could lose his life as many do while waiting on the transplant list. He shouldn’t have to go to his eternal reward knowing he had to part with priceless rewards from his life’s work and leave them in the hands of strangers just to keep living. There should be a 7-figure check for old number 7.
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