Remembering “the Kid”

AP photo

Gary Carter/AP photo

Michael Lyon

Bio: Sophomore infielder at Palm Beach Atlantic University

First impression: Skip was an unbelievable man. When I was recruited by him he told me and my parents that he would act as my father away from home with his first priority to make me a better man and then a better ball player. I was shocked by his intensity and the love of the game he had. I had never met someone who was as intense as he was. You could literally see the fire in his eyes. Everything he did he, gave it all- from hitting ground balls to throwing BP every day.

Favorite story: He always made us laugh. He would always have competitions with the other coaches in BP. After BP was over he would always have the least amount of baseballs in the back of the cage, he would always say “look it’s snowing in the back of cage,” due to the amount of bad balls thrown. He had a nickname for everyone. He wanted everything clean and spotless. He went to the extreme of numbering our baseballs and would make us run for every ball that was missing. It was just the type of guy he was. We always loved hearing his story of the 1986 Mets in the World Series. He told the story so well that you could feel like you were up at bat and could hear the fans roar.

How he’ll remember ‘The Kid’: I will remember him for his love of the game and what he invested me spiritually. He has given me determination to never give up and work my hardest to achieve my dreams. As a team, we wear a patch with his number and name on it, as well as bring his jersey to every game. He is still part of our team even though he is not there physically. We are determined to give our best effort every day, just like he did. He was a special man and we will miss him dearly. This season is for skip.

Doug Flynn

Bio: 11-year big-leaguer and former teammate of Gary Carter was part of Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” that won the 1975 and 1976 World Series. Won the National League Gold Glove Award at second base and tied a Major League record by hitting three triples in one game in 1980.

First impression: Gary and I met while playing Double-A ball in 1973, he in Quebec City and me in Three Rivers, Canada.  It did not take long to realize that he loved baseball and he loved life.  His enthusiasm was real and his passion for being the best was very evident as you watched him daily and got to know him.  Our friendship began to grow as he used MY BAT during the Double-A All-Star game, where he hit two home runs and won the MVP! As long as I knew him, he remained consistent everything he did.

Favorite story: In 1975, Pete Rose informed me I was to be sent back to the minor leagues unless I had a good game.  We were in Montreal and Gary was catching, and as I was preparing to hit I told him of my predicament.  There were two outs and no one on base, so he tipped me off on a pitch and I hit a double. I got another hit later and was never sent down.  His comment was we needed to help each other stay around for as long as possible.

How he’ll remember ‘The Kid’: I will remember his smile, his warmth and big ole handshake he ALWAYS gave.  I will remember his dignity and his witness for Jesus. I will remember his enthusiasm and love for life and the way he made people feel when he was around them.  I will cherish his friendship until we one day meet again in Heaven.  He will and should always be remembered for being a great catcher, a great teammate, and a better person.

Keith Madison

Bio: Publisher of Inside Pitch and ABCA Hall of Famer was the head coach at the University of Kentucky for 25 years. Served with Gary Carter during a SCORE International baseball outreach in the Dominican Republic.

First impression: My first impression of Gary as a young player (even though I didn’t or couldn’t articulate it at the time) was, “how could any one person have this much power, this much potential and this much personality?!?”

Favorite story: The He was so humble and willing to serve.  As a player, Gary had a bigger-than-life personality, but on this mission trip he was willing to take the back seat and not draw attention to himself.  I couldn’t help but think, “how many Hall of Famers are willing to go out to a dusty, dirty baseball field in a third-world country to teach baseball and share their faith?”  It was encouraging and uplifting to see one of the greatest catchers in the history of MLB wanting to give back in that way.

How he’ll remember ‘The Kid’: I will remember Gary Carter as a man who embraced baseball and life with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.  His smile and energy were always a powerful presence on the baseball field while his faith in God was evident everywhere.  In my mind, Gary Carter will leave a legacy of showing the world that you can be a talented athlete and a fierce competitor, but still have a lot of fun playing the game.