It is hard to imagine that I am saying farewell to a player I saw play as a kid. At 57 years of age, Gary Carter was considered to still be young. It is difficult when someone who did nothing wrong, is taken away from us in such a devastating way.
I can honestly say that I do not remember too much about the player everyone lovingly calls “the Kid”. I was only six years old when he came to the Mets in 1985. I only remember the 1986 playoffs because of the excitement in the house. My dad was a big Mets fan. I also remember Carter playing at my very first Mets game.
What I have gathered from Mets fans who do truly remember him, not from interviews, but from actually watching him and from interviews of him along with former teammates, Carter was a giant among men. In a time where drugs was all around him, not once did he falter. He actually could stand tall and say:
Say “NO” to drugs.
It is very hard to find a true hero. It is hard to find a man who has made claims of what he believes in and stands by those beliefs. So often we hear athletes say they will not do drugs or other things and then we see them fail. What is a child to do when their hero fails them?
Well Gary Carter was a true hero to many. Not just for the way he played the game, but because of who he was as a man. His play speaks volumes to his character. This was a man who never gave up. When he said he did not want to be the last out in the World Series, he made sure he wasn’t. He gave the New York Mets, their fans and New York City everything he had.
He left it all on the field. Now, he has left it all on the hearts of every person he came into contact with.
It is not easy to find the legacy of an individual. With Carter, his entire life is his legacy. He talked the talk and walked the walk. To all of those searching for a hero, here you have one. He led the 1986 New York Mets to a championship. He touched the lives of thousands through his charity work.
Gary Carter truly played the game like only a child can, the way it was meant to be played. He played hard. He played well. Not a single teammate could say that he did not do what he set out to do when he stepped into Shea Stadium. Darryl Strawberry had this to say about him:
I wish I could have lived my life like Gary Carter. … He was a true man.
Gary Carter fought the good fight in so many ways. Now it is our turn to make sure, that although he is gone, he is truly not forgotten.
Rest in peace, Gary Carter. Forever in hearts. Forever our hero.