Tag: ed kranepool

7 DUPACR: Hubie Brooks

With 7 Days Until Pitchers And Catchers Report, I select former #7 Hubie Brooks to represent the day.

I’m certain that many of you are wondering why it wasn’t Eddie Kranepool. I’ll tell you why: because to me, Hubie Brooks always represented optimism, and Kranepool represented pessimism.

The fact that Ed Kranepool led the Mets in so many career categories was a testament to how bad the Mets were in their first 20 years of existence. If he had been property of any other franchise in MLB, Kranepool’s career would have lasted less than five years. But because the Mets were absolutely awful, and because Joan Payson had a creepy, illogical preference to keep Eddie under contract, he was able to spend 18 seasons as a mediocre big leaguer. OK, there was that stretch toward the end when he was a masterful pinch-hitter — albeit for a last-place team — and there was the 1971 season, when he was an adequate offensive player, but overall, Ed Kranepool symbolized the futility of the Mets franchise.

In contrast, Hubie Brooks symbolized the hope of what the Mets could be, and what they would eventually become, in the 1980s. Ironically, the team needed to part with Brooks in order to realize their destiny — he was the key player going to Montreal in the trade for Gary Carter — but still in all, Hubie equaled hope for we frustrated fans in the early 80s.

A first-round pick out of Arizona State in 1978, Hubie was the first home-grown position player to show any kind of potential in a long, long time — maybe the first ever (you can’t count Mike Vail, can you?). Looking back at his numbers, he doesn’t look all that impressive in his first few years, but trust me, you had to be there to “get it” — this was a team, remember, whose homerun leader often put 15 or less balls over the fence. If you lived through the years of Frank Taveras, Doug Flynn, and Roy Staiger, then you know where I’m coming from; Brooks was a star in comparison.

As it turned out, Hubie’s time in New York was mostly marked by unfulfilled potential — though we never saw it that way. Rather, we saw him as a kid who probably still belonged in the minors, but was up in the bigs cutting his teeth, and would eventually be a perennial All-Star. Brooks did eventually become a decent ballplayer, but it happened with the Expos and Dodgers … and by the time he returned to Flushing, he was already on the downside of his career. Again, the irony: his best years were bookended by his Mets years.

So that’s it — Hubie’s my man for #7. You are free to disagree and suggest your own representative. Please do so in the comments, and provide some reasoning and/or memory to support your selection.

We have a week to go, folks … giddyup!

The countdown thus far:

#7 Hubie Brooks
#8 Gary Carter
#9 Gregg Jefferies
#10 Rusty Staub
#11 Lenny Randle
#12 John Stearns
#13 Edgardo Alfonzo
#14 Gil Hodges
#15 Jerry Grote
#16 Dwight Gooden
#17 Felix Millan
#18 Darryl Strawberry
#19 Anthony Young
#20 Howard Johnson
#21 Gary Rajsich
#22 Ray Knight
#23 Doug Flynn
#24 Kelvin Torve
#25 Willie Montanez (no link … sadly, didn’t have time to write a post)
#26 Dave Kingman
#27 Pete Harnisch
#28 John Milner
#29 Alex Trevino
#30 Jackson Todd


1969 Mets Game 123: Win Over Dodgers

Mets 7 Dodgers 4

The love-hate relationship between Ron Swoboda and the Shea faithful continues.

Swoboda swatted a screwball from the hand of Jim Brewer with the bases juiced in the seventh to send home three runners and give the Mets a 6-4 lead they wouldn’t relinquish — much to the delight of the 48,435 fans at Shea Stadium, who showered him with applause.

Initially the recipient of catcalls and boos, “Rocky” was in the middle of everything in this contest, or so it seemed. He walked with the bases loaded in the first to give the Mets and Gary Gentry a 1-0 lead, and in the sixth, with LA up by one, Swoboda threw out speedster Willie Crawford attempting to go from first to third on a single by Ted Sizemore.

Gentry was hit hard by the suddenly potent Dodgers lineup, and removed after allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in only 4 2/3 innings — an outburst highlighted by Wes Parker’s 13th homer of the year, a towering, 2-run blast in the third. Jack DiLauro put out the fire in the fifth and held the Dodgers scoreless in the sixth before yielding to Cal Koonce, who won his sixth straight game in relief.


Swoboda — who was 2-for-3 on the day with 4 RBI — started against a righthander (Don Sutton) for the third straight game, and I’m wondering how Gil Hodges comes up with these hunches. Sutton is a curveball specialist — the kind Swoboda has struggled against all year — and Rocky is only hitting .243. At least Hodges isn’t taking at-bats away from Art Shamsky, who started at 1B and went 2-for-5 in the cleanup spot. Though, getting Swoboda and Shamsky in the lineup does mean that Eddie Kranepool rides the bench. Kranepool was starting to get it going last week but went cold again — he’s 0 for his last 9. It’s been that kind of year for the 24-year-old, and one wonders if he’ll ever hit enough to play first base in the big leagues.

Jerry Grote struck three singles, scored twice, and drove in a run — but was victimized by the base thefts of Maury Wills and Willie Davis. Cleon Jones also had three hits.

Davis had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 22 games.

Nolan Ryan is pulling extra duty on his reserve hitch so he can be available for the entire month of September, weekends included. Something tells me the Mets will be happy to have the young fireballer available down the stretch.

The Mets closed a wildly successful homestand with nine wins against one loss, and now head to the West Coast — against whom they are 21-5.

Scoreboard Watching

The Cubs split a doubleheader with the Astros. In the opener, Ernie Banks hit his 492nd and 493rd career homers, tying him for ninth place with Lou Gehrig.

The Cubs are now 79-49, eight wins better than the Mets’ 71-52, but the key number is in the loss column. The Mets can always win more games but the Cubs can’t lose less. It’s only taken a week to see Chicago’s season-high, 9-game lead shrink to 5. If the Mets can keep up this pace they may pull off a miracle comparable to Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon.