The New York Mets are poised to conclude their 56th year of operation. Looking back, it is rather surprising that prior to David Wright there have been only two players who spent their entire careers with the Mets.
The more time goes by, the more grateful I am to have seen Ed Kranepool play out his final seasons with the Mets. Eddie hit a majestic home run against the Giants at Shea Stadium one night in the summer of '76, that I swear still has yet to land. That was a pretty big deal for this nine year old. The Mets were in existence for six years the year I was born, and were around for thirteen years once I finally latched on as a die hard fan in '74. Being part of two N.L. pennants and a Word Series title made Kranepool an endearing player through his continuing years. But he was additionally beloved as a local guy from Bronx. By the late 70s we recognized we were watching his last games. Before chants in the early 1980s of Rusty! Rusty! Rusty! ... Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! was the anthem of 1979. His name still resonates with fans today. No disrespect to Jose Reyes, but when I think number seven, Steady Eddie Kranepool is the first former Mets player whom immediately jumps to mind.
By the time of Kranepool's retirement, the organization itself was only 18-years old. Five years later another career Met decided to call it quits. For twelve seasons Ron Hodges faithfully served as spot starter and primary backup to Jerry Grote, and John Stearns. Hodges began his Mets career as a rookie with the 1973 N.L. champs, and retired after the 1984 season.
The organization has certainly honored players through the years and decades. They feature Hall of Fame members as well. However, never before have they been able to properly honor and celebrate one of its own home grown, career-long great players, for David Wright is effectively their first, and easily the greatest life long ambassador they've ever had.
On September 29, 2018, Wright plays his last game with the only club he's ever known. Thus David Wright becomes only the third player to spend his entire playing career with the New York Mets. He also retires arguably with the distinction of being the greatest home grown positional product and ultimately one of the greatest players in Mets history. Darryl Strawberry still leads the Mets all-time in home runs, while Ed Kranepool still holds the club record in games played. Otherwise, David Wright has damn near rewritten the entire Mets records book. And on Sunday Citi Field fills to capacity with fans showering David Wright with fifteen years worth of thanks, appreciation, and praise for being one of MLB's greatest yet humble stars to ever don a Mets uniform.