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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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Hit Us With Their First Shot

So, what do these fellows…

Felipe Alou
Orlando Cepeda
Carl Everett
Jose Guillen
Brian L. Hunter
Julian Javier
Derek Jeter
Eddie Kasko
Jason Kendall
B.J. Surhoff

…have in common? (Aside from each of them likely providing a better closer for Our Beloved Detroit Tigers than Jose Valverde?)

That’s what we asked a few days ago — what’s the Met-related thread that connects ten seemingly disparate players, and how, specifically, does each player therein connect to that thread? We were curious because we had two copies of the A+E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions release, New York Mets 50 Greatest Players, to give away and we made that eleven-part question our barrier to receipt.

Congratulations to the two Mets fans who cleared the barrier and won our contest: Tom Zapata and Menachem Jerenberg. They discerned the connective tissue of our quiz was that the aforementioned players registered the first regular-season hit ever against the New York Mets for each of the franchises — in their current incarnation — that made the 2012 postseason. They also matched the player with the franchise for which he got the hit.

In chronological order, here are the hitmakers and their respective hits (all of which came in the first inning of the games in question):

• Julian Javier singled for the St. Louis Cardinals off Roger Craig on April 11, 1962, at the first Busch Stadium/old Sportsman’s Park (the first hit against the Mets by any member of any team, as the Cardinals were the Mets’ first opponent).

• Eddie Kasko singled for the Cincinnati Reds off Craig Anderson on April 24, 1962, at Crosley Field.

• Orlando Cepeda singled for the San Francisco Giants off Jay Hook on May 26, 1962, at Candlestick Park.

• Felipe Alou singled for the Atlanta Braves off Jack Fisher on April 15, 1966, at Shea Stadium.

• A younger, healthier Derek Jeter singled for the New York Yankees off Dave Mlicki on June 16, 1997, at renovated Yankee Stadium. (Mlicki ultimately did OK, though, you might remember.)

• Brian L. Hunter singled for the Detroit Tigers off Mark Clark on June 30, 1997, at Tiger Stadium.

• B.J. Surhoff singled for the Baltimore Orioles off Mlicki on August 29, 1997, at Camden Yards.

• Carl Everett singled for the Texas Rangers off Steve Trachsel on June 10, 2003, at the Ballpark in Arlington. (Major league debut for Jose Reyes as well.)

• Jose Guillen doubled for the Washington Nationals off T#m Gl@v!ne on April 22, 2005, at Shea Stadium. (Only the second Mets win among these ten games and an event so transcendent that the brand new blog Faith and Fear in Flushing offered in-depth coverage.)

Thanks again to A+E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions for providing promotional materials. New York Mets 50 Greatest Players is available here and highly recommended.

Stay tuned for one more quiz — and a very grand prize — coming soon.

6 comments to Hit Us With Their First Shot

  • Andee

    Yikes…Jeter. I may not like the Yankees, but that one (current series) hurt to watch. I’m sure the Tigers would rather beat the Yankees at full strength, not because their captain is injured. I wonder, though, how many of their “fans” will now decline to watch because he isn’t playing.

  • Steve D

    I fully expected Girardi to say Jeter had a sprained ankle and will be playing tomorrow. The whole room gasped when Girardi announced it. As a Met fan who despises the Yankess, I have a soft spot for a couple of them…Lou Gehrig…Rivera and now Jeter. I will ;ilely never live to see a Met batter who remotely approaches what Jeter has accomplished.

  • ljcmets

    I was reading a blog on University of Michigan sports (catching up on our trouncing of Illinois) when I noticed an open thread on the Tigers-Yankees game. Needless to say, the comments there during the bottom of the ninth were very entertaining. You could substitute any recent Mets closer (Francisco, K-Rod, Looper, Benitez, even Wagner) for Valverde and believe you were reading about the Mets. One recurring question: Why does Leland continue to stick with “his guy” Valverde as the closer when it was obvious that Fister could start the ninth and/or other relievers were pitching better as of late? Oy!

    Because of Jeter’s roots in Michigan and particularly because of his association with U-M, people on that blog were shocked and saddened at his injury. Just as you stated, Andee, there were a lot of comments to the effect of “We want to beat the Yankees at their best, not this way.” I went to bed before Girardi’s press conference, so I didn’t know the extent of the injury until this morning, but it was painful to watch. I have always admired Jeter and never understood the scorn for him in certain quarters. As I live in Albany, perhaps I was just that much removed from the daily tabloid nonsense to retain my admiration. I do know that last year, while eating lunch in a diner with my husband, all of a sudden the entire restaurant erupted in applause and cheers…because Jeter had just recorded his 3000th hit. I hope there are more hits to come for him (although please no more against the Mets!), and it’s not the end of his career.

  • Dave

    OK, let’s stop talking about the Yankees, their season is 27 outs and the best starting pitcher in baseball away from ending anyway. Boo hoo.

    Greg, you do realize that this quiz was Rain Man-level stuff, don’t you? I mean, I’ve been paying attention to the details and sweating the small stuff for 43+ years now, but this might as well have been a doctoral level quantum physics final exam from MIT to me. Wow.

    • Dave

      Oops…wishful thinking. They’re 54 outs away from going home. Duh.

    • Being Rain Man a lot easier with Baseball-Reference and a couple of hints dropped in bold.

      That team that’s 27 + 27 outs + however many extra outs are involved…never, ever, ever count them down. It’s just not worth it.