David Wright closes on Ed Kranepool's team hits record

David Wright flies out in the first inning David Wright flies out in the first inning of a game against the Miami Marlins. (Sept. 22, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

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As career members of the New York Mets, Ed Kranepool and David Wright share a common understanding. Through some of the good, and all of the bad, they have remained constants with the only organization that either of them has ever known.

It's only fitting that one of the club's most hallowed records -- the all-time lead in hits -- will be passed down from one to the other.

Since his retirement in 1979, Kranepool has reigned as the all-time franchise leader with 1,418 hits. But Wright has 1,414 entering Sunday's game and a good chance of making a record his own before the season is over.

"It's something that I'm really proud about," Wright said. "Obviously it's humbling and very exciting to be able to break some of these team records. I'm very proud of that."

Over the years, the two have increasingly been linked as franchise mainstays.

Kranepool's first hit came as a 17-year-old bonus baby late in 1962, the club's dismal inaugural season, and the first of 18 he spent as a fan favorite with the Mets. He watched the team languish after expansion, rise to win a World Series, before plunging once more into a period darkness.

In the process, Kranepool collected more hits than any other player in team history.

"But if anyone's going to break it, I'm glad it's David Wright," Kranepool said in a telephone interview last week. "David has been a mainstay in that organization and he's been a class act."

From the first time they met, Kranepool never forgot how Wright insisted upon addressing him as "Mr. Kranepool." From then on, whenever his travels have taken him to the ballpark, Kranepool has made it a point to visit with Wright.

"He always has very nice things to say to me," Wright said. "He's always very encouraging. Obviously, that's really nice when some of these former players come back and are as helpful and encouraging as Ed is."

Lately, Kranepool has often reminded Wright to keep his head up.

"This is always the most difficult thing," Kranepool said. "You play because you have championship goals. I don't see any goals here coming into the last weeks. They're playing Miami to stay out of last place. That's no fun."

Wright acknowledges that the countdown to the franchise hits mark should be a more joyful occasion, but it's difficult to to savor considering the team's current state. The Mets have won just five games at home since the All-Star Break.

"I'm sure I'll enjoy it much more when I'm done playing and I can look back," Wright said. "But as of now, it's difficult to sit back and truly enjoy it and truly pat yourself on the back because of the position we put ourselves in the second half."

Nevertheless, Wright takes pride in etching his name into the franchise record books. His relationship with Kranepool has given those achievements even more context.

"He's out here somewhat frequently so I get a chance to talk to him," Wright said. "It's nice to be able to, some of these players that come back including Ed, to get to know and understand the history of the organization."

In that history, few have been as prominent as Wright, who also owns the franchise record for doubles, runs, runs batted in and total bases. He has accomplished all of that in some 600 fewer at-bats than Kranepool, a one-time All-Star who spent much of his career as a role player.

Still, Wright draws an important distinction between he and Kranepool, one that may determine how many more hits he collects for the only franchise he's ever known.

"He experienced the bad and the ugly, then won a championship," Wright said. "So I'd love to have similar team career paths. That would be nice."

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