Former Mets player and Hall of Famer Gary Carter has been battling brain cancer, and the news this week is not what baseball fans wanted to hear: a recent MRI has revealed new tumors and his doctors at Duke University are deciding whether or not to stop treating him. Carter, known as “The Kid” for his youthful effervescence and love of the game, has seen his condition worsen as he is undergoing treatments, not a good sign for him, his family, and his many fans.
If you go to the official Gary Carter web site, fans are instructed not to send items to be signed by The Kid due to his condition. Instead, fans are asked to send him good wishes or messages at this address:
The Gary Carter Foundation, 580 Village Blvd., Suite 315, West Palm Beach, FL 33409. Hopefully, he will be flooded with messages to cheer him during this difficult time.
Here in New York stories have run in the New York Daily News about Carter’s worsening condition, and on sports radio talk shows the fans have been calling in with their thoughts about Carter. What is interesting to me as a Mets fan is to hear so many Yankees fans calling in and sending their best to Carter. I tip my hat to them and thank them, for I know I felt the same way when some of their great players were ill or passed on.
A player like Gary Carter transcends time and place. His enthusiasm for the game is appreciated and respected by all fans because he played the game the right way, and his personality was such that he was liked by everyone.
Mets fans certainly remember the trade that brought him to New York in 1985. Although third baseman Hubie Brooks (a fan favorite) and three other players were traded for Carter, it was immediately understood what his presence on the team meant. He solidified the team along with Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, and Doc Gooden. His clubhouse presence was as essential as was his play on the field.
Of course, young players like Lenny Dykstra, Strawberry, and Gooden did look up to him during the 1986 season, and I recall times when the camera would catch Carter in the dugout talking to them. It never seemed that he was lecturing them, rather it appeared to be mentoring, and you could tell by the expressions on the younger players’ faces that they valued what they were hearing.
1986 seems a long way away now, and as a Mets fan I still recall the joy of watching Gary Carter play, of seeing him running out and grabbing Jesse Orosco and then watching them both get smothered by the rest of the team as they celebrated that last out of the 1986 World Series. It is something I will never forget, and Carter’s infectious smile is burned into my mind. I think that’s the way we all want to remember him.
So one of the good guys is down but not yet out. Let’s pull for him every way we can in the days ahead, and by all means send him good wishes and anything else that can cheer him up. Gary Carter, you are forever young in our hearts and minds; hang in there, Kid.
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