Gary Carter: Gone, But Not Forgotten
Five years ago, the game of baseball lost a legend. He was a Hall of Famer on the field and a Hall of Famer off of it as well. On this date (February 16, 2017), Gary Carter passed away. He was my idol — my baseball hero — and he was taken away from us all too soon.
Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, I wanted to be Gary Carter. I wore #8, played catcher in Little League and tried to do what he did on the field. I might have even curled my hair.
As five years have passed, I’ve thought about The Kid a lot. I’ve interviewed and asked countless players over the past five years their thoughts on Gary Carter. They all had nothing but great things to say.
Here’s my interview from 2012 with Wally Backman:
Here’s my 2016 interview with Darryl Strawberry
As I sit here and think about what The Kid meant to me — and to the game of baseball — I think that the world would be a better place today if there were more people like Gary Carter in it.
After his death, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated said:
“I cannot conjure a single image of Gary Carter with anything but a smile on his face. I have no recollection of a gloomy Carter, not even as his knees began to announce a slow surrender … Carter played every day with the joy as if it were the opening day of Little League. Gary actually took a lot of grief from his teammates for being a straight arrow. It wasn’t the cool thing to do but on the same token, I think he actually served as a role model for a lot of these guys as they aged. He was the ballast of that team. They did have a lot of fun, there’s no question about that, but they were also one of the fiercest, most competitive teams I’ve ever seen and obviously their comebacks from the ’86 postseason defines that team. Carter was a huge part of that.”
RIP, Kid. You left an indelible mark on me.