Kirkpatrick spent most of the 1960s in the Angels' organization. Signed before the 1962 season, he was primarily a catcher for his first 2 minor-league seasons, before switching over to the outfield in 1964.
Ed made his major-league debut in September 1962, but played most of the '62, '63, and '65 seasons in the minors. He had significant playing time with the Angels during 1964, sharing the left field starting assignments with Willie Smith and Jimmy Piersall.
Kirkpatrick was recalled from the minors in September 1965, and made most of the starts in right field the rest of the way. He stuck with the Angels for all of 1966, becoming the primary right fielder (69 starts) along with a dozen starts in left field.
The acquisitions of Jimmie Hall and Roger Repoz in 1967 made the outfield fairly crowded, so Ed played back in triple-A that season, save for 3 games in July.
Kirkpatrick returned to the Angels for 1968, his last before a pre-season trade in 1969 which sent him to the Royals for pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm.
Freed from the logjam in the Angels' outfield, Ed was a fulltime regular for the Royals from 1969 to 1973. Most of his time from 1970-72 was spent behind the plate, sharing the job with Ellie Rodriguez (’70) and Jerry May (’71), and starting 104 games behind the dish in 1972.
In 1973, Fran Healy and Carl Taylor took over the backstopping, moving Kirkpatrick back to his old right field position, which he divvied up with Hal McRae.
Ed was traded to the Pirates after the 1973 season for pitcher Nelson Briles. He shared the first base duties with Bob Robertson in 1974, but when Willie Stargell moved to 1st base in 1975, Ed spent the next 2 seasons as the 5th or 6th outfielder.
Ed played for the Pirates, Rangers, and Brewers in 1977, then following his March 1978 release, he split the '78 season between the Angels' AAA team and the Mexican league, before retiring.
Kirkpatrick was in a car accident in 1981, and suffered a heart attack during brain surgery. This left him in a coma for several months, and permanently paralyzed. He died in 2010 at age 66.