The “Kid”

Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter died yesterday at the age of 57.  Nicknamed “The Kid,” Carter played baseball the way it should be played.  He played with enthusiasm and joy, and he hustled.  I am not a big proponent of holding a sports person or celebrity up as a role model, but Carter was someone who any little boy who played baseball growing up could have emulated and done just fine.

Carter lived a clean life.  I would challenge anybody to find anything truly negative to say about him, either during his playing days or after.  He did not blow off reporters, and was always willing to sign autographs for his fans.  I read that when he was with the Mets, there were plenty of occasions that the team bus was delayed in departing a stadium because he just would not stop signing autographs.

His death, just like his life, is not garnering much attention outside of sports media outlets.  MLB Network devoted a full hour of their show Hot Stove to talking about his career, and I am sure that ESPN ran a nice piece on him as well.  And that bothers me a little bit.  Here is a man who did everything right in his chosen profession, was honored for his career with induction into the Hall of Fame, and he is barely mentioned on any national station.  If he had been a drug abusing singer, there would be tributes and flags would be flown at half-staff.  But because he only made headlines for the right reasons, the sports outlets are the ones leading the coverage.

I would venture a guess and say that, of the two high-profile people to have died in the last 7 days, Gary Carter impacted more lives directly.  Whether it was that kid he signed an autograph for that became a fan for life or is today’s superstar, or the high school senior he recruited to play baseball at Palm Beach Atlantic, Carter had a positive impact on people’s lives.  I can only imagine being the dad of a son that he was recruiting and having Gary Carter sitting in my living room outlining the next few years of my son’s life, and being content knowing that my son would be in great hands.

The baseball world lost someone special when Gary Carter passed away.  And so did the rest of the world.  Genuine good guys are hard to come by, and Gary Carter was one.  He was a Hall of Famer in every way.

4 Responses to The “Kid”

  1. Sean Breslin says:

    Great post, and such a sad ending to this story.

  2. ryan85 says:

    I got to meet him once. I was friends with his daughter, Kimmy while she was at FSU playing softball. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. They are a good family, led by what sure seemed to be a good man.

    • TommyK says:

      I have also heard wonderful things about her as well. In her and his other kids, his legacy will live on, and as a parent, that is an amazing compliment.

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