NEW YORK — Baseball legend Ed Kranepool, an icon of the 1969 Miracle Mets, needs a kidney transplant and plans to auction off his prized World Series ring to fund his medical bills.
The beloved Kranepool, who played first base for the Mets and knocked one out of the park in Game 3 of the 1969 World Series, needs a kidney because of complications from his diabetes, the New York Daily News reported.
“It’s like getting hit in the head with a sledgehammer,” Kranepool told The News. “You’ve felt pretty healthy your whole life. That was scary. That’s when it bangs you in the head — now you’ve got a problem. It’s not something where you can take medicine. You have to take that step.”
Kranepool has already lost a big toe, and the next step in his treatment is getting a kidney. He’s on a waiting list while he hopes for a “perfect match” to come along.
“It’s a procedure that two people have to agree on doing. I’ve already gone in for my testing. But you have to be ready to move (if a donor is found) and that could be overnight,” he told The News.
Kranepool told Newsday he did not inform the Mets, where he spent his entire career, about his hospitalization at Stony Brook University Hospital. He lives in Old Westbury and works for a credit-card processing company.
The former baseball player, who was with the Mets since the team was formed in 1962, plans to auction off his ring and other memorabilia through Goldin Auctions to fund his hospital bills. The ring, an expert told The News, could go for up to $100,000, and would be the only one from the 1969 team to have reached the auction block.
“The golden years aren’t so golden,” Kranepool told Newsday. “They’re a little rusty.”