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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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Glide On Down to QBC

If you’re the type of Mets fan to read a blog about the Mets in a month when the Mets aren’t playing, then you’re the type of Mets fan who should be attending an enormous Mets event in the next month the Mets aren’t playing.

The Queens Baseball Convention is coming to McFadden’s Citi Field on Saturday, January 10. QBC 15 promises to build on the joy and fun that made QBC 14 such a fantastic baseball oasis in the midst of winter.

Mookie Wilson will be there. Wally Backman will be there. Jason Fry will be there. I’ll be there. So many others will be there. You can check out the whole schedule here.

I’m particularly proud that for this second QBC we will again be presenting the Gil Hodges Unforgettable Fire Award, a gesture conceived as a way to a) keep Gil’s name and memory blazing for all Mets fans to see and b) honor a Met who, when we think of him, warms our hearts, brightens our spirits and lights our way — just like the thought of Gil Hodges still does.

Last year, upon dedicating the award, we presented it to Gil’s family as our way of saying we, as Mets fans, are forever proud of what he means to our team. This year, we are thrilled to be able to present it to one of the players Gil managed to a world championship, someone who personifies the parameters of the prize.

Graciously joining us at QBC to accept the Gil Hodges Unforgettable Fire Award will be Ed Charles. You may know him as the Glider or the Poet Laureate of Baseball or the Elder Statesman of the 1969 Mets. We know him as someone who crafted a baseball life like no other, dating from his childhood in segregated Florida when he was inspired by the sight of Jackie Robinson in Spring Training (a story portrayed in the movie 42) and winding through an unfairly long minor league apprenticeship. It took a decade for Ed Charles to reach the majors, but once he made it, as a Kansas City Athletic — debuting the very same day the Mets franchise did — it was clear he belonged.

A trade to the Mets in 1967 made him a New Yorker. His presence as a savvy veteran on a team comprised mostly of youngsters proved enormous in developing the team that would become forever known as the Miracle Mets. It is telling, perhaps, that in the famous photo snapped after the final out of the 1969 World Series we see rushing onto the scene to join pitcher Jerry Koosman and catcher Jerry Grote in full embrace is the third baseman.

Ed Charles wasn’t gliding that day.

Winning a world championship marked both the high point and the end point of Ed’s active career. He pursued other vocations over the next several decades — most notably working with New York City youth who could benefit from his help — but he never fully departed baseball. Ed scouted for the Mets, coached fantasy campers (who uniformly express delight remembering their interaction with him), became a welcome guest every time he showed up at Shea Stadium and Citi Field and lent his poetry to numerous commemorative and celebratory occasions.

In short, Ed Charles has been a tremendous gift to baseball and to Mets fans. We are humbled to have the chance to recognize him with the Gil Hodges Unforgettable Fire Award.

I hope you’ll be there with us at the Queens Baseball Convention to give him the greeting he deserves. Plus the joy and fun you’ll have on January 10. Find out more about attending here.

3 comments to Glide On Down to QBC

  • argman

    I won’t be able to attend as I’ll be out of town, but I have fond memories of Ed Charles. As an 11-year old in 1968 I sent a letter to him, and he sent back a personally signed full color photo, as well as two cards with his poems, also personally signed. I have never forgotten this personal act of reaching out to a young fan. He may not have been an all-star player, but he was and is a first class person. I am so happy that he is receiving this richly deserved award.

  • Michael G.

    Ed Charles is a gentleman of the first order. I had an opportunity to meet The Glider recently and he presented me with two of his poems, one of which he autographed. I consider him one of “Jackie’s Disciples” — players who came after Robinson and through their perseverance, playing under some oppressive conditions, helped to complete the integration of baseball that Robinson started. In addition to Ed, there are several Mets from the early 60’s who belong to this group, including Al Jackson, Choo-Choo Coleman, Charlie Neal, Joe Christopher, Felix Mantilla, among others. The Mets organization should create an exhibit recognizing these players and their contribution in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda or the Mets museum at Citi Field.

  • Tim H

    I hope the link below (to an earlier posting of mine from September) works. [It does, but you have to scroll down afterwards to get to my comment .] It simply recounts a nice interaction I had as a 17-year-old Shea vendor with Mr Ed Charles.

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