The NY Mets didn’t always suck, back in 1986 they won 108 games in the regular season and had the best team in baseball. They could have been one of the greatest teams in baseball history, if some of their superstars such as Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry choose drugs over their baseball careers.
At the heart of that team (and its only consistent star) was “The Kid” Catcher Gary Carter. Carter was a “throw back,” a player who always seemed to give it his all. And a crowd favorite.
I remember how sports reporters always said that 1986 first baseman Keith Hernandez was “like a manager on the field,” and at times he was–telling players where they should be standing, reminding them what to do in certain situations,etc.
Gary Carter was the on field motivational coach, picking up players when they screwed up, urging them to push themselves to the limit and even telling them off when they needed it. But Carter never pushed players to do more than he was doing himself.
The phrase “giving 110%” has become trite in the sports world, a player who shows up despite a hangnail or when their agent has the flu is sometimes described by broadcasters of giving the extra effort. But Gary Carter was the kind of player who showed up to play his hardest every day despite injuries (and being a catcher there were many).
Gary Carter died yesterday after a long battle with brain cancer. I will always remember him for the four years of joy he gave me as the Catcher for the NY Mets.
May he rest in peace and my his family be comforted by the memory of a decent man, who fought hard to be good on the field and in life.