Gary Carter, RIP
Hall of Fame Catcher Gary Carter passed away today. He was 57. Tom Verducci gets it right in Sports Illustrated:
Try as I might as a witness to his five years in New York as a catcher for the Mets, 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, his bat grew slow and weary or as his teammates, renowned masters of the dark arts, chided him for his well-displayed rectitude....
On the field, such will of these barbarians in spikes helped fuel the 1986 Mets into not just one of the most dominating teams of all time, but also one of the toughest. They won four times in that postseason in the last at-bat, including three times when they were down to their last out or two. The Mets were ferocious competitors, and they became world champions.
Carter provided much of that championship fiber, only without the demons and debauchery that came to be associated with many of his teammates. He was "Kid" from Sunny Hills High in Fullerton, Calif., a former star quarterback with a Pepsodent smile, golden curls, a beautiful family and strong faith. Teammates in Montreal and New York would come to resent how overtly he displayed such goodness -- if not, out of their own insecurities, the very goodness itself.
But I can tell you this about the guy known as Teeth or Camera Carter by the insecure: He was as genuine a person and as tough a ballplayer as you would ever want to come across.
He will be missed.