Blog Entry

Farewell to 'The Kid' at 57

Posted on: February 16, 2012 5:42 pm
 
We've known this was coming now for nearly a year. But when the end finally arrived for Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter on a day when the baseball world was readying for the start of another spring training, it still seemed unreal.

The Kid? Gone?

He was only 57, with the smile and heart of a much younger man. His death Thursday came just two weeks after his last public appearance, a poignant visit with a Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team he helped coach before their season opener near his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

In grave shape with a body ravaged by a malignant brain tumor, it was touching -- and certainly not a surprise -- that Carter would haul himself out to the baseball field one final time. Nobody loved the game and the people who play it more than Carter.

It must have been a lump-in-the-throat scene in person, because just looking at the photos made the eyes well up with tears. The man provided so many memories in both New York, where he starred for the Mets' last World Series champion team in 1986, and in Montreal, where he helped author some of that city's finest baseball moments before the Expos sadly left town.

Gary Carter was an 11-time All-Star, earned three Gold Gloves and, most famously, keyed the Mets' three-run rally in the bottom of the 10th inning as they came back to beat Boston in Game 6 of the '86 World Series.

And while he created so many great memories, what's maybe most satisfying as we remember him today is how much he always enjoyed the ride while he was on it.
Comments

Since: Apr 21, 2007
Posted on: August 14, 2012 8:03 pm
 

Farewell to 'The Kid' at 57

Saw that you'd reviewed a recent post of mine, was intrigued by your handle, checked out your profile and came upon this post of yours about The Kid.  Loved it.  

Sometimes I almost hated Carter for the same reasons I "sometimes almost hated" Pete Rose (the player) - he seemd to enjoy the game SO much that you thought it had to be an act - totally phony.  But on balance, I always suspected he was one-of-a-kind... and deserved my admiration - which he did have.  Unlike Rose, The KID never did anything off the field to tarnish his on-field accomplishments.

Your anecdote about the 13-year old and the way Hernandez and Carter treated her was an eye-opener.  It is sad that there just aren't enough Gary Carters in the game - or on the planet - anymore.

Thanks for the post - hope to see more posts from you.


dlopez711
Since: Feb 11, 2012
Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:53 pm
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Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:17 pm
 

Farewell to 'The Kid' at 57

I was fortunate to have known Gary Carter in my capacity as a sportswriter, and those on this site who have painted a picture of a kind and caring gentleman have captured the true essence of the man.

I will never forget a day at Shea Stadium back in the '80s when a large contingent of national and local media showed up to cover the story of a 13-year-old girl who was recovering from a major heart operation and whose wish was to to meet her idol, Keith Hernandez.  Mets VP Jay Horwitz arranged for the teenager to attend the game that evening and to be presented with a glove, bat and ball given to her personally by Hernandez.

The first baseman did as he was asked.  He gave her the gifts and posed with the girl for a few seconds, but as soon as the cameras were lowered and the press wandered off for other stories (or for dinner, which often is more important than stories), Hernandez decided he had done what was required of him.  He abruptly walked off into the dugout and disappeared down the runway to the Mets' clubhouse, leaving the little girl alone on the field.

Just one look at the teenager's face showerd how hurt she felt at that moment.  She was crestfallen that her hero had paid little attention to her, and what she thought was going to be one of the biggest days of her life obviously had turned into one of her biggest disappointments.

Virtually no one in the ballpark was aware of what had happened (or not happened), except for Gary Carter.  Now, with no cameras around and only this reporter watching, he came out of the dugout, put his arm around the youngster and began to talk to her.  Within minutes she had a huge smile and, I am sure, a new hero.

Carter spent the next 25 minutes with her, showing her the dugout and the field, introducing her to other teammates, playing catch with her and treating the youngster as if she were a queen.  Carter did all this in virtual anonymity, not looking to be featured on a newscast or SportsCenter or in a paper.  He was a modest, decent and special man who never forgot how to treat others.  If only other athletes in this era of "me, me, me" could follow that example.  I will miss him for more than he did on the field. 


dlopez711
Since: Feb 11, 2012
Posted on: February 16, 2012 8:54 pm
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Since: Aug 27, 2007
Posted on: February 16, 2012 8:22 pm
 

Farewell to 'The Kid' at 57

A Great Player, a Greater Man.  A Class act.  He lived his life with passion.  He had a true love for the game.  Thanks for the memories.
"The Kid" will be missed.



Since: Dec 21, 2008
Posted on: February 16, 2012 7:48 pm
 

Farewell to 'The Kid' at 57

I remember him well.His love for the game was unmatched.He will surely be missed.One of the "good guys". RIP...."so mote it be".....RJ



Since: Feb 16, 2012
Posted on: February 16, 2012 7:43 pm
 

Farewell to 'The Kid' at 57

Gary "The Kid" Carter typified the old style, hardnosed, love for the game.  Loved his enthusiasm, his vibrancy and the smile
that lit up the whole field.  Rest in Peace "Kid", may God welcome you and may you walk in "The Field of Dreams" forever. 



Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: February 16, 2012 7:09 pm
 

Farewell to 'The Kid' at 57

He was my favorite player growing up.  #8  I'm not from NY (actually from a rival city) so not many people liked the Mets or "the Kid" around me. I saw him play in person a couple of times and watched the Mets on WWOR as often as I could.  I just enjoyed the way he played the game, he was a tough competitor and was never shy about letting people around him know just how much the game meant to him.  He knew that he was not well liked in many NL cities and I believe thats what fueled his fire to be great.  I have always and will continue to argue that he was one of, if not the greatest catcher in MLB history. 



Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2012 6:42 pm
 

Farewell to 'The Kid' at 57

He was one of my favorites when i was a kid.  I loved the way he played the game.  He always looked like baseball was just fun for him.  I guess that's why they called him the kid.   Great player and person.



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