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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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The Shea Countdown: 46-41

46: Monday, June 23 vs Mariners

Ladies and gentlemen, as we welcome in the Seattle Mariners, who have come a long way to play at Shea Stadium, we would like to pay tribute of sorts to those who got here from not so far away. As you know, Mets is short for Metropolitan Baseball Club of New York, a team founded to appeal to baseball fans all over the Metropolitan area.

Therefore, tonight we want to recognize several Mets players who grew up in these parts and eventually achieved a dream: Become a New York Metropolitan and play in front of the home folks right here at Shea.

Representing Connecticut, he was a high school phenom in Waterbury and a well-loved Met during his three seasons at Shea in the mid-1990s. Please welcome back Rico Brogna.

Representing New Jersey, he was born in Glen Ridge and starred at Parsippany Hills High School. He was respected throughout baseball as one of the best pinch-hitters and good guys in the game, say hi to Joe Orsulak.

Representing Westchester, from Mount Vernon, he goes down as one of the best players ever developed by the Mets, even if he went on to ply most of his trade in other uniforms. We’re glad he’s here with us tonight, give a warm hand to Ken Singleton.

Representing Long Island, out of Oak Beach, the man whose cap simply would not stay on his head. How about tipping your cap to the pride of Connetquot High School, John Pacella?

Representing Brooklyn, home to many great Mets not to mention a pretty good single-A team, we brought back a talented lefty who made a real mark during his four seasons in a Mets uniform. Let’s say hello to Pete Falcone.

Representing Queens, a schoolboy star from Bayside, he played for the Mets in the ’60s, in the ’70s and came back for more in the ’80s. The author of some memorable hits and great glovework around first base, welcome Mike Jorgensen.

And to lead our Metropolitan players up the right field line to take down number 46, we have someone who got to know Shea Stadium like no other player growing up. He didn’t only pitch here, he sold hot dogs here. Nobody could be more local than the Flushing Flash himself. Representing not only the neighborhood, but everyone who ever vended a frankfurter on behalf of Harry M. Stevens or Aramark at Shea, ladies and gentlemen, Ed Glynn.

45: Tuesday, June 24 vs Mariners

Ladies and gentlemen, given the edifice that’s steadily rising where much of Shea Stadium’s parking lot used to be, it’s no wonder we have urged you to take public transportation to every game. The irony that Shea was built with as much parking as it was, reflecting a time when the car was undeniably king without consequences, is not lost on Mets management. Today we are all more conscious of the need to conserve precious resources, which is why Citi Field will be a green facility and we’re not talking only about the outfield grass.

Of course being a city field itself, Shea Stadium never could have succeeded without the benefit of public transit, which for tens of millions of fans since 1964 has meant the IRT Flushing line, better known these days as the 7 train. The 7 is world famous because in a very real sense, it carries the world between Queens and Manhattan. More languages are spoken by more people from more places on Earth on the 7 than on any train anywhere. The Mets are proud to be a stop on so elevated a line.

To honor the integral role the 7 train has played in the history of Shea Stadium, we have asked Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger to take the local out to the right field wall and remove number 45. And to escort him for a safe ride, we’ve invited back a quartet of Met motormen. Whoever the 7 didn’t drive home, these sluggers often did.

Please welcome these RBI specialists back to the Willets Point-Shea Stadium on the 7 line:

• He tagged National League pitchers for more than a decade and a half, including five with the Mets. He drove home 90 runners in 1983, say hello to George Foster.

• One of the real fan favorites in his Met prime, nobody was more colorful around the first base bag, particularly when he went into his home run trot. With 96 runs batted in from the 1978 Mets, how about a warm greeting for Willie Montañez?

• His Hall of Fame credentials were burnished by consecutive Met seasons in which he drove in more than 90 runs, including an even 100 in 1993. How about a hand for Cooperstown’s own Eddie Murray?

• And someone who can tell you that if you get off at the Willets Point-Shea Stadium stop, you can check out not only the baseball at Shea but also the site of the 1964 World’s Fair. He drove in a then-team record 117 runs in 1996 and two years later when some new uniforms were introduced, he became one of the Mets’ original men in black. Welcome home to Shea Stadium Bernard Gilkey.

44: Wednesday, June 25 vs Mariners

It’s good to have you at the game, ladies and gentlemen, and for those of you watching at home, it’s good to have you looking in. Sometimes you see things that the camera picks up before the folks here do, and as a result, some people become instantly recognizable outside of Shea Stadium. One such person experienced that phenomenon 22 Octobers ago when she added a new bit of body language to the fan vernacular. A longtime season ticketholder, you know her as the lady who sat behind home plate throughout the 1986 postseason and twirled her arms tirelessly. Put your hands together for Bo Field.

Some people catch even the camera crews at Shea by surprise. Our next guest, who will join Bo in taking down number 44, did not come through Gate A, B, C, D or E on the evening of October 25, 1986. Yet he found his way into the ballpark from above, however briefly. The Mets couldn’t officially approve of his actions then — and we’re certainly not sanctioning them or anything like them now — but we have to admit the thought of this man and his parachute brings a smile to our faces more than two decades later. Say hello to Michael Sergio.

43: Friday, June 27 vs Yankees

Ladies and gentlemen and guests who are joining us here tonight for the first time in 2008, this is the juncture in the game when we pause to pay homage to the people and events that have defined Shea Stadium across its 45 fun-filled seasons. But it turns out another nearby baseball stadium is also commemorating a final year, and we’d like to give it our own special tribute.

Since that structure opened in 1976, it has hosted many memorable ballgames and provided the stage for many a superstar. When we think of that place, we are moved to recall one evening in particular. The night was as historic as any in the annals of New York baseball and we have with us the pitcher who made it so.

His lifetime record as a Met at Shea Stadium was 14-13. But as a Met at the other place, he threw nine scoreless innings and collected a 6-0 shutout in the first-ever regular season Interleague game in the city of New York. Please welcome back to remove number 43, the author of that June 16, 1997 masterpiece, Dave Mlicki.

42: Saturday, June 28 vs Yankees

A good Saturday to you, ladies and gentlemen. Saturdays at Shea between the Mets and their crosstown opponents have always been special and have rarely failed to produce drama of the highest order.

The dramatics were never as intense as they were on the afternoon of July 10, 1999. In a back-and-forth affair that featured six home runs by the visiting team and one massive shot to the picnic tent roof by Mets catcher Mike Piazza, it was our special guest who will be taking down number 42 who brought down the house. It was his two-out single in the bottom of the ninth off the opposition’s closer that plated the tying and winning runs to give that particular battle of New York to the Mets by a score of 9 to 8. To everybody who was at Shea Stadium that Saturday afternoon, there is no question what game they saw. It was the Matt Franco game.

Ladies and gentlemen, pinch-hitter deluxe Matt Franco.

41: Sunday, June 29 vs Yankees

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been said in New York you’re either a Mets fan or you root for some other team. Few are the issues that can bridge the divide. But tonight we hope we can if just for the moment that it takes to remove number 41 from the right field wall.

More than a hundred men have played for both the Mets and their local American League counterparts. But nobody has been more celebrated or beloved by both fan bases than this man, who not played for but coached and managed both teams in a career highlighted by his piloting of the 1973 Mets to their improbable National League pennant. Accompanied by one of his many protégés, Willie Randolph — another man who has achieved a measure of success on both sides of the Triborough — welcome home to Shea Stadium the one, the only Yogi Berra.

Numbers 52-47 were revealed here.

13 comments to The Shea Countdown: 46-41

  • Anonymous

    This was a good one. Some great names in there. Always good to see Rico and Joe Orsulak. And Mike Jorgensen, and even Matt Franco. And of course (genuflect, please…) Dave Mlicki.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, Dave Mlicki. I spent so many fruitless hours trying to convince people to call you The Mlikman.

  • Anonymous

    The Mets are proud to be a stop on so elevated a line.

    Very nice…very nice, indeed…
    And…Willie Montanez! My fave Willie story: my Dad, my friend Chris & I go to 1978 Oldtimer's Day — the one where they tried to bring Ralph Kiner in via hot-air balloon.
    During the game itself (Mets/Cubs), Bobby Murcer hits a bullet onehopper to Ol' Guillermo at firstbase. Willie spears it and stands stock-still next to the bag. Murcer quit on the play half-way down the line and headed for the dugout. 30 years later and Montanez still hasn't touched the base…

  • Anonymous

    HI Greg,
    Great job as always, but please excuse me for the following observations.
    What happened to the biggest local hero of them all, Eddie Kranepool? The Bronx wasn't even represented in that parade of Mets who grew up in the area (are you saving steady Eddie for another day?).
    Why not include those who were the first to play for the Mets at Shea and the Yankees crosstown: Bob Friend, Hal Rennif and Harmonica Phil Linz?
    Again, you're doing a superb job with the Shea countdown, better than Jay Horowitz could ever do. So please remember that my comments aren't personal…, they're strictly business :) .:)

  • Anonymous

    You should write for the Public Address Guy. Great stuff. I wondered where Franco was in the hometown rundown, I assume he'll alight somewhere else. Have you considered making the number pullers into a list? Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Keep that business comin' Joe and stay tuned. We're only halfway through the countdown. (Steady Eddie did more than be from the Bronx, so I'd pay close attention as the list gets lighter.)

  • Anonymous

    Franco got delayed by a Sanitation truck and couldn't make it for this number, so he gave Falcone a call and he filled in at the last minute. It was all we could do to get his intro to Alex Anthony by first pitch. Glad you're enjoying.

  • Anonymous

    OK Greg,
    And don't forget, I'm also a James Monroe graduate – but that's where the resemblence ends.

  • Anonymous

    Greg,
    The powers that be might be listening after all…

  • Anonymous

    Even if they thought of it on their own, way to go.

  • Anonymous

    No love for the Island of Staten either, but I figure famous Met residents Johnny Franco and Mookie will be more appropriately used later.
    Maybe you could have thrown in Shortest Met Ever – Matt Galante.

  • Anonymous

    I think of Staten Island, I think of George Bamberger. Probably why I steered clear of Staten Island.

  • Anonymous

    This Milkman only rang once, but what a delivery he made.