By Rick Morris
As part of our working relationship with our pals at Sportsology under the banner of The 21st Century Media Alliance, we are happy to syndicate this great look back at Gary Carter being inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame (it’s worth mentioning also that, in the spirit of Mets and Carter coverage, Russ has up this amusing analysis of Sandy Alderson’s satire of the Mets finances and this examination of where Carter slots into Mets history). Unlike Russ, I did not grow up a fan of the Expos or Mets (although I found the ’86 Mets fascinating and rooted for them down the stretch), but I was a huge Gary Carter fan nonetheless and I am excited to see someone of Russ’s grounding in the national pastime celebrate his life as he has since word came out about The Kid’s sad passing.
By Russ Cohen (written in August 2001)
On August 12, 2001 Gary Carter was inducted into the Mets HOF, much to the delight of a lot of soggy fans. Even though the weather was bad, the turnout for “The Kid” was good, as the fans paid homage to a player that was instrumental in the Mets winning the World Series in 1986.
Even though Gary Carter spent his first ten seasons with the Expos, his five with the Mets were the sweetest (1985-1989), as they won a world title and two division titles. Even though Gary Carter’s curly locks were gone, his smile still lit up the stadium as teammates spoke fondly about him.
The Mets in attendance were Tom Seaver, Randy Niemann, Howard Johnson, Bobby Ojeda, Bob Murphy, Rusty Staub, Mookie Wilson, Bobby Valentine, Rafael Santana, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling. The fans really got a kick out of seeing the players that gave them so much to cheer about, since this season there has been little to cheer about. Ron Darling said, “Gary was our computer back in 1985; he knew all the hitters in the National League.”
Earlier in the week Gary Carter had this to say about himself being a clutch hitter: “I always thrived in those situations.” On this day, Gary Carter was reduced to tears more than once and the fans loved it. He was always an emotional player and that’s what drove him. Some of his memorable moments include a game-winning homer in his first game in 1985, game-winning single in the 12th inning of Game Five of the 1986 NLCS, two homers in Game Four of the 1986 WS (Mets down 2-1 at the time) and a single to start the rally that led to the “Buckner play” in Game Six of the 1986 WS.
Gary Carter (19 seasons) played in 11 All-Star Games and was twice named MVP. He once had the Mets team record of 105 RBIs (1986, had 100 in 1985). His career numbers were 2,092 hits and 1,225 RBI and he stands third all-time in games caught with 2,056. Gary Carter is one of only four catchers in history to have 2,000 career hits, 1,000 runs, 300 home runs and 1,000 RBIs. The other three are Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Yogi Berra and they are all in the Hall of Fame. He also won three Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger Awards.
Carter should be in the Hall of Fame and sometimes cockiness is mistaken for confidence. Maybe this has kept him out so far. He missed by just 53 votes and should be voted in soon.