NEW YORK (WFAN) — Gary Carter continues his brave battle against cancer, but according to former Mets teammate Bobby Ojeda, it has become more and more of a struggle for the Hall of Famer.
On Saturday, Carter’s three children accepted the BBWAA’s Milton and Arthur Richman “You Gotta Have Heart” award on behalf of their father. Ojeda told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton that presenting the award to his friend’s family was an “honor.”
“It was difficult, absolutely,” Ojeda said Wednesday. “It was one of those gut-wrenching moments where you’ve gotta get up and you’ve gotta talk about your friend, who’s fighting something that’s horrible.”
Listen: Ojeda with Boomer & Carton
The 57-year-old Carter was diagnosed last May with a malignant brain tumor — and his health has recently taken a turn for the worse.
Carter’s daugher, Kimmy Bloemers, posted to her online journal last week that there are “several new spots/tumors” on her father’s brain. According to the New York Daily News, the former catcher’s condition has become “extremely grave” and discontinuing treatment was an option.
“I wanted to just kind of not talk about it with them,” said Ojeda. “I just wanted to give them a hug. And you know, Kimmy was very upset, so I didn’t really want to get into that. As difficult as it was for me, could you imagine going up there and having to talk about your father at a time like this?”
Former Mets teammate Wally Backman had the tough task of updating Ojeda after a recent visit with Carter.
Ojeda said the news was “obviously not good.”
“He’s struggling with his balance right now,” Ojeda told Boomer & Carton. “It’s just one of those things where, you know, we all hope and pray for the best. … A good friend of mine once said, ‘Look, I hope you get what you need.’ And whatever Gary needs right now, I hope he gets it. It’s a struggle for him right now.”
He added: “He could beat this thing. I’m (in) no way saying it is over at all. But right now is a very difficult time with the medications that are taking a toll on the healthy part of his body.”
Ojeda tries instead to remember the good times he had with Carter. He admitted that despite the catcher’s squeaky-clean image, Carter fit right in with the bad boys of ’86.
“It was just a bunch of guys,” he said. “It was a bunch of 15-year-olds wearing New York Met uniforms — and having a ball.”
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