You all know Gary Carter. If you don’t, you should. He’s one of the greatest men to ever play the game of baseball. He was a great catcher and will rank high on a list of best catchers to ever play baseball. He’s an 11 time All-Star, two-time All-Star game MVP, a World Series Champion, three-time Golden Glove award winner and five-time Silver Slugger award winner. If that reads like his Wikipedia article, it should. Gary Carter amassed so many awards in his lifetime that who can remember all of that. But he left us far too early after a battle with brain cancer at the age of 57.
Carter is probably best remembered as a Montreal Expos player or, if you are near my age, a New York Mets player. He was also a San Francisco Giant and a Los Angeles Dodger (we won’t hold that against him though) for a short time. So even though he’s not typically associated with San Francisco, he was a great man of the game and I’m proud to say he wore a Giants uniform in his career.
Reading through articles and blog posts, what keeps coming up is how nice he was; how he was always smiling. Reading those things makes me happy. As a kid, and even as an adult, we frequently have an idea in our minds about what a person is like. With media outlets know, it’s easier to get a good decent perception of the kind of person someone is, but back in the 80s and 90s before I had half a dozen or so devices that are always connected to the internet in my house, and back before I’d never consider watching a movie or even going to a baseball game without a phone or computer to look up actors or players (come on, you know you do it too), we didn’t really, truly know our heroes. But we always had an idea, a perception. My idea of what Gary Carter was like was that he was a genuine guy, a “good guy.” Of course, it’s not that I was insightful. I used to think those things about Jose Canseco too. Boy, was I wrong about that one.
So, suffice to say, Gary Carter instills hope that there are “good guys” out there. Guys like Buster Posey, Sergio Romo, or Andres Torres come to mind. And perhaps it’s because he was truly this genuine guy, that he was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award, what I consider perhaps the best award in baseball. It doesn’t just say you are good baseball player. It says you are a great human being, teammate, and role model.
Baseball needs more “Kids” like Gary Carter.