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Monday, January 23, 2012

Honoring Gary Carter

Honoring Gary Carter

          When I was growing up, my interests were pretty singular: baseball.  My father taught me to play when I was a little child and we built a batting cage out of discarded pipes in our backyard.  I spent countless summers and after school hours in that cage and practicing at the local high school with my buddies.

          This began in the 1980s and there were some pretty flashy players – Don Mattingly, Jim Rice, Ozzie Smith.  As a Giants fan I papered my bedroom with a huge poster of Will Clark.  But my favorite player was one that most of my friends overlooked – Gary Carter.  I wasn’t a Mets fan, but I was a catcher, and I loved Carter’s blue-collar work ethic, positive attitude and friendly demeanor.

          I can still remember watching Games 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series on a 19-inch black-and-white television set, and seeing Carter run home with his arms raised in the air.  It wasn’t until many years later, and until after my Faith had replaced baseball in my heart, that I found I share a love for Jesus with Gary Carter as well.

          Today Gary Carter is fighting for his life.  Nearly a year ago the news was made public that he is suffering from brain cancer and this past week his daughter announced on the family Web site that his condition has worsened and doctors are considering whether to continue treatment.

          Hearing the news this year about Carter’s cancer brought back fond memories of him from my childhood but in learning more about him since, I found more than a Hall of Fame catcher with a signature smile.  I found a man of profound faith and true generosity.

          Carter has a charitable foundation that focuses on fighting poverty through promoting literacy (  He is joined in this endeavor by his wife of 37 years. 

          I’m sorry to say I’ve never met Carter personally and can’t pretend to be an expert on his life.  But I will always appreciate what he brought to the sport I enjoyed so much for so many years and what he’s meant to so many people ever since.  Let us stop and say a prayer for Gary Carter and his family, that the God of miracles will grant him healing if it be His Will, and that He will give peace and comfort to Gary and all his loved ones.  Amen.