What is this 20 Greatest Athletes in area history list?

KENDRA BERRY GRAPHIC | Over the next 20 days, the Times/Review sports department will unveil its list of the 20 Greatest Athletes in area history.

Over the next 20 days, the Times/Review sports department will unveil its list of the 20 Greatest Athletes in area history.

Needless to say, creating the list was a massive undertaking. More than a month ago we put together a list of more than 30 nominees. We also solicited nominees from the community, which expanded our list to about 40 individuals.

Earlier this month, the list was finalized by our sports staff.

Beginning today and concluding Aug. 17, features and opinion pieces about those we chose as the area’s finest athletes of all-time will fill our websites and sports sections. We’ll also publish profiles of prominent athletes who didn’t make the list and others who could make such a list in the future.

We feel confident our list is fair and conclusive, but we also realize this sort of retrospective is based primarily on opinion.
Some readers will agree with us. Others will not.

We hope to hear from you, our loyal readers, every day. We hope this generates debate within your neighborhoods and even inside your own homes. “How could they choose this person and not that guy? Why would she be No. 7? She should have been lower. She should have been higher.”

We have also asked several area figures to pen their lists of the top five athletes to ever play at each local high school.

We will also re-publish stories from our newspapers and other publications that capture key moments in many of these athletes’ careers.

We chose the top 20 based not just on their local performance but also on the way they represented their respective colleges or competed internationally or professionally. Although in some instances, as with Creighton and Edwards today, we placed extra importance on high school performance, since we felt their accomplishments warranted extra attention.

Athletes were not judged on pure athletic ability but also on the success they’ve been able to achieve within their sport.

Many of these athletes haven’t won just Suffolk County and Long Island championships in high school, they’ve also claimed titles in college. Some have even reached the pinnacle of their sport, and their journeys began here, on the North Fork and in eastern Suffolk County.

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. All but one athlete, who lived here but attended a private high school elsewhere, competed at one of the 11 high schools we cover. Nine of those schools are represented on the list.

In the next 20 days you will read about the area’s best athletes, whose careers span 14 sports and nearly 100 years.

They are the local sports elite.

We hope you enjoy reading about what they’ve done, what they’re doing, where they’ve been and where they are.

Oh, and let the debate begin.

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