This morning it was reported by the New York Post that Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter has inoperable brain cancer. We have heard that Gary was in poor health in recent months, but the news of Gary's condition hit a cord with us here at the Sons of Johnnie LeMaster.
In his 19 years in the Big Leagues, Gary spent one with the Giants in 1990. In that year, Gary played part time and appeared in 92 games and batted .254 with 9 HR and 27 RBI. Gary would end up playing another two years before calling it quits after the 1992 season.
In the summer of 1990, a group of us attended a Giants game (April 30, 1990) at Dodger Stadium, and we got there early to watch some batting practice. As we walked to the front rail of the left field pavilion, the Giants were taking BP, and Gary Carter was in the outfield playing catch. At which point, we yelled at Gary, "how about those Mets?!" His quick reply was, "what about them?" We retorted back, "they miss you and need you back." Remember, Gary spent the previous five seasons with the Mets and helped bring a World Championship to Flushing Meadows in an epic World Series vs. the Boston Red Sox. Gary, didn't respond back, and we continued to watch BP. As BP was concluding, I was talking to my friend next to me, when I heard the crowd in our section yell, "heads up," ... Gary tossed a ball to my direction, and I saw it at the last second to catch it.
Later that summer, I returned home after the spring semester ended, and when the Giants were returning home from a road trip, I drove down to SFO to see the team and get some autographs. After waiting for about 45 minutes, the team finally arrived and walked down to the baggage claim area. At that point, I asked Gary to sign the ball that I caught from the April game. I didn't mention to him that I heckled him a bit, but he was gracious in signing the ball and his Giants photo that he had in his briefcase.
Even though Gary spent just one year with the Giants, it was a joy to see "The Kid" wear the orange and black for just one season. The Sons of Johnnie LeMaster send our prayers and thoughts to Gary and his family, he was a class act, and we wish him well.
Signed Gary Carter photo that we obtained in the summer of 1990
Signed Gary Carter ball - from the April 30, 1990 game
Poor penmanship, but we wrote the date on the ball. April 30, 1990.