The Passing Of Gary Carter – The Hometown View
If you’ve been a longtime New York Mets fan then you remember quite well highlights because there’s not been all that many of them…at least in comparison to the other team that calls New York home. That’s why I remember December 10, 1984.
It was a Monday and at that time I was hosting a weekly sports show on this radio station (on WOBM FM). Just after the show ended I was back in the newsroom when the old Associated Press teletype machine cranked out a “sports bulletin.” The Mets had just traded Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans to the Montreal Expos for Gary Carter. It was an early Christmas present for us Met fans and one that didn’t take long to pay off.
On opening day of the 1985 season, a brutally cold day at Shea Stadium, Carter hit a game-winning homer in the bottom of the 10th to beat the Cardinals. A year later he would help lead the Mets to their second and last World Series title.
Nicknamed “The Kid” Carter played only 5 of his 19 seasons in a Mets uniform yet he remains one of the most popular players in franchise history and certainly one of my top two of three favorites. I got to meet him on two occasions and he really was a terrific guy.
In the late 80’s he did an appearance at what used to be J&C Baseball Clubhouse in Brick. The owner Chris Rotundo invited me to come over before the public autograph session and meet Carter. My wife, who loved him and his curly hair and wide smile and son Brandon, who was 3 or 4 at that time, came with me and Carter took pictures with them and he was great. I had also met him a year earlier when covering Mets Spring Training and he was very gracious and one of the few stars to give me some time for an interview.
Yesterday afternoon when word got out that Carter had lost his 9-month battle with brain cancer and died at age 57 I immediately thought about that day I met him in Brick. Within a few minutes my now 26-year old son sent me a text message saying I had to find that picture of him standing on the counter with Carter’s arm around him. I will look for it this weekend and when I find it probably get a bit emotional.
Another one of my sports heroes is gone.