Times/Review to unveil 20 Greatest Athletes in area history

KENDRA BERRY GRAPHIC | Times/Review Newsgroup, publishers of The North Shore Sun, The Suffolk Times, Riverhead News-Review and Shelter Island Reporter is getting ready to unveil its list of the "20 Greatest Athletes" in area history later this summer.

The Times/Review Newsgroup is preparing to unveil its list of the “20 Greatest Athletes” in area history, and we’re asking our readers to contribute by nominating some of their favorite local sports figures.

The 20-day countdown will honor excellence in sports with profiles of all 20 selected athletes, related sidebars, republished game stories spanning decades, and alternative Top 5s from others in the community.

“The idea is to engage our readers every day for three weeks with a series that adds up to a history lesson in local sports,” said Times/Review web editor Grant Parpan, who has been planning out the series along with sports editors Bob Liepa and Joe Werkmeister. “A lot of people will be surprised to know that three Riverhead High graduates have played in the NFL, or that a few local athletes have competed in the Olympics.”

The series will kick off online July 29, when athlete No. 20 is unveiled. A new athlete will then be revealed on our websites each day, culminating with the “Greatest Athlete” in area history, who will be announced August 17. Each week’s issue of The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review will feature a recap of the athletes unveiled that week.

In order to be eligible for the list an athlete must have spent a portion of his or her formative years living in our coverage area, spanning east from Coram and Mount Sinai across the North Fork to Orient and Shelter Island. Participants in all sports are up for consideration, from baseball and basketball players to those who have participated in water and motorsports.

Athletes will be considered based on their overall body of work, not just based on how they did when they played locally.

“Obviously the players who had better college careers or who went on to play professionally will rate very highly,” Mr. Werkmeister said. “But there are also those athletes whose high school careers were so special they’re hard to ignore.”

“It’s been a real challenge trying to narrow down our list,” added Mr. Liepa. “Trying to determine who had a better career between two athletes in different sports is no easy task.”

If you have an athlete you’d like to see given consideration for the list, email Grant Parpan. The “20 Greatest Athletes” are expected to be finalized in the coming week.