Some terrible news to report. Gary Carter, the former catcher, has died at the age of 57. The full New York Times obit is here, and tremendous. I found myself re-reading a terrific Bob Klapish piece about Carter as well, from the day he was diagnosed with the brain tumor that ultimately killed him.
For me, the frame of reference is the 1986 Mets, who were to my childhood as the 1955 Dodgers were to my father’s upbringing. I remember his sadness at seeing his heroes die, from Roy Campanella when I was 13, Pee Wee Reese when I was in college, to the more recent death of his favorite player of all, Duke Snider. I actually wrote about this elsewhere– there’s something about the death of athletes we grew up rooting for that pushes their exploits immediately further into the past.
By all accounts, Carte’s biggest deficiency was spending too much time accommodating reporters and fans. Perhaps it is simply my profession and point of view, but this doesn’t seem like much of a fault at all, more like something a presidential candidate will answer in a debate when asked to name his biggest fault.
My thoughts are with Carter’s family and friends, and all of you who, like me, feel sadness in the loss of someone who we probably knew exclusively through watching him on a baseball field. I’d welcome all of you to add your memories of Carter in the comments below.
Also of note: SNY is airing Carter’s first game as a New York Met, tonight at 7:30. I’ll be recording it to show to my daughter tomorrow.