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Ed Kranepool returns to Citi Field 30 days after kidney transplant and offers to pinch-hit

Former Met Ed Kranepool returned to Citi Field on Thursday, June 6, 2019 to address the media on his recent kidney transplant surgery.  (Credit: Newsday / Casey Musarra)

Thirty days after receiving his new kidney, Ed Kranepool was back at Citi Field and immediately offered up his services to Mets manager Mickey Callaway.

“I feel great, ready for a comeback. I told Mickey I can pinch-hit today for him if [Robinson] Cano can’t hit,” Kranepool joked at Citi Field before Thursday’s game against the Giants. “Some of these injuries, I’ll be ready to go out there.

“This is 30 days after the fact and I’m feeling great. And this is because of the people up here, not myself. I’m not the star of this show. We have a number of people on stage that made this happen.”

 On that stage Thursday with Kranepool was his kidney donor, 56-year-old Mets fan Deborah Barbieri of Glenwood Landing, and his doctors Dr. Frank Darras and Dr. Wayne Waltzer. Darras is the medical director of the kidney transplant program at Stony Brook University Hospital, and Waltzer is the chief of transplant services and chairman of the department of urology.

“Just like the Mets, we’re a team that works very well together,” Darras said. “We’re just pleased not only on behalf of Ed Kranepool and the Mets, but to raise awareness for organ donation. While Mr. Kranepool is ready to pinch-hit today, I think I can throw an inning if Mickey Callaway needs me.”

Barbieri’s husband, Al, also was a recent recipient of a kidney transplant, from Port Authority policeman  and Oakdale resident Brian Cooney, who also was present at the ceremony.

Deborah Barbieri was not a donor match for her husband, but her rare A/B blood type was a match for the 74-year-old Kranepool, who had been waiting for a transplant for more than two years before undergoing surgery on May 7.

“I’m feeling great and I appreciate the Mets giving us the opportunity to be here today. Jeff Wilpon has been great to me, getting me an awful lot of publicity,” said Kranepool, a member of the Mets’ 1969 championship team being celebrated by the organization throughout this season. “It was through the program and the visibility that we got that we were able to be here 30 days after the fact."

Kranepool appeared in three games as a 17-year-old during the Mets’ inaugural season, and the Bronx product played 18 seasons for the franchise, finishing as the team’s all-time leader in games played with 1,853.

Kranepool and Deborah Barbieri threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Thursday's game.

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