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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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The Fifteenth Percentile

Let's see…Trachsel's out…there's no obvious replacement…McEwing's role has been usurped…he's versatile…

I think I know who our new fifth starter is going to be.

Instead of dwelling on the suddenly unsettling immediate future, this seems as good a time as any to delve into past glories. Though when you're talking about the Mets, glory is a tenuous concept. For example, no Met has even won an MVP.

Some fans see a lack of awards like that and ask “so? ” I dream awards that never were and ask “so what else?”

Following the 2001 season, the Mets' 40th campaign, I looked up (on the indispensable Baseball Reference) who had come closest to being Most Valuable. I was surprised to learn that 35 different Mets had garnered at least one MVP vote at least once. One search led to another and before I knew it, I had made it my mission to create a list of (drumroll please)…

The One Hundred Greatest Mets Of The First Forty Years.

After 40 seasons, there had been 668 players who had worn the blue and orange and white and black and Mercury, so choosing 100 of them made for an almost perfectly neat top 15% of all Mets. At the very least, these Mets were greater than 85% of their peers. For those who are still active, feel free to use this nugget at contract time.

What makes somebody one of The One Hundred Greatest Mets Of The First Forty Years?

Well first we take all the players who spent the defining balance of their careers in a Mets uniform and, while wearing those sacred garments, towered over the game like few others — men recognized by one and all as immortal in their time and for the ages.

And then we find 99 more guys.

I started with the MVP vote-getters, the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year winners and candidates, Gold Gloves, league leaders, team record holders, All-Stars and stuff like that. That made for about 70, most of whom I kept. The other 30 or so were recognized for some combination of achievement, longevity, memorable moment, contribution to winning and ur-Mets significance.

I also gave a little weight to Hall of Famers who spent at least one full season as a Met, a policy I will drop when I (presumably having not matured or altered my priorities one iota) revise the list after the 50th year of Mets baseball. We'll call that the Alomar/Glavine But Hopefully Not Martinez Exception. The thinking on HOFers is there's something to having those guys on your all-time roster and it can be argued that their Mets careers had at least a little, tiny something to do with their HOF selection. But the list strives to consider only what Mets players did as Mets players, in case you're looking for great Mets managers whose Mets playing days could be termed negligible.

Cutting off eligibility at the first 40 seasons appealed to my surprisingly meticulous nature. Besides, nothing achieved by anybody in 2002, 2003 or 2004 would've changed anything anyway, inclusion or ranking. Like Cooperstown, I'll wait a decent interval before considering the impact of anybody who's joined since 2001. (I felt players who joined the Mets in the years just prior to 2001 were fair game when this list was compiled given that one could pretty well gauge a player's impact on the '99 and '00 postseason teams.)

In ranking the One Hundred, I tended to be more impressed by a brief tenure that was punctuated by a singular feat in the spotlight than I was by several seasons of loitering. I also tried to emphasize the positive — that is, assign a player his place on the list for what he accomplished and don't penalize him for his lesser performances or generally unpleasant nature. And I really tried to take a cold eye to this and not make it a list of my favorite players, though some personal preferences probably seeped in.

So much for the Price Waterhouse stuff. On with the countdown, part one coming later today.

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