By Ann Liguori
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Gary Carter has always been one of the nicest athletes on the planet. He’s always a pleasure to talk to.
Throughout his 19 years as a Major League Baseball player and post-MLB career, I’ve always been impressed with the way he handles himself, on and off the field. His stellar baseball career which earned him a much-deserved selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 is impressive, but what sets Carter apart is the fine person that he is.
So the news that Gary is battling Glioblastoma, a form of cancer that affects the brain and central nervous system, is crushing. It immediately makes you wonder why such horrible things happen to such good people?
It would be difficult to find a person who has any negative things to say about Carter. While covering the NY Mets as a reporter/producer for ABC Radio Sports in the mid-eighties, including the 1986 World Series, I had the opportunity to interview him frequently. Gary always provided excellent material and always went above and beyond. He would answer your questions so thoroughly, you had enough ‘tape’ for several weeks!
Not once did Gary decline an interview. He was always polite, pleasant and spoke to reporters. Gary has always been a true gentleman and because of the way he conducts himself on and off the field, he has always been one of my favorites.
Mets fans cherish their memories of Carter from New York’s win over the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. Gary smacked two homers at Fenway Park in Game 4, hit an eighth-inning sacrifice fly that tied Game 6 at Shea, and with two outs in the tenth inning of Game 6, scored the first of three runs for the Mets, starting the rally which eventually led to the Mets winning the World Series championship.
The Mets should have retired his number 8 years ago!
Gary and his team have been working “to better the physical, mental and spiritual well being of children” via the Gary Carter Foundation. You can learn more about the Foundation’s work here.
Each year, he partners with Sweet & Low and hosts a charity golf event. I’ve had the pleasure of playing in this event many times when it used to be at Admiral’s Cove in Jupiter, Florida. I was always impressed with Gary’s enthusiasm and his dedication to helping others.
Gary is a devout Christian and proud of it. He’s never been afraid to proclaim his faith and ‘spread the word.’ His strong faith will no doubt help him in dealing with his battle with Glioblastoma. And his adoring wife Sandy and three children, Christy, Kimmie and DJ will provide a strong support system.
Daughter Kimmie wrote on a private family website that Gary is preparing for treatment which will consist of 6 ½ weeks of radiation and a year of chemotherapy. “Doctor said they are going after these tumors aggressively. … Dad is ready to battle … He sounds like a completely different person. He is in fantastic spirits,” she wrote.
Here’s to the “Kid.” You should know that your fans appreciate you, not only for your excellent Major League baseball career, but more importantly, for setting such a positive example as a person.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!
Be sure to order DVD copies of Ann’s interviews with top names in sports and entertainment. Visit www.annliguori.com