Gary Carter: April 8, 1954 - February 16, 2012
From the WFUV Sports Archives
Cooperstown, NY, Sunday, July 27, 2003...This was the date Gary Carter ws inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Earlier that week WFUV Sports Manager Joe Buono had the opportunity to interview Gary for One on One's Saturday broadcast from the Hall.
By Joseph Buono
The first member of the “never say die” 1986 Mets has died and with it so did a piece of my childhood. Like so many Mets fans my age, we weren’t old enough to remember watching the 1986 Mets but nevertheless grew up with them. Through pictures, books, documentaries and a seemingly never-ending October highlight reel we came to know their names, collect their baseball cards, copy their batting stances and buy their jerseys. Everyone has their favorite 86 Met. Some like Doc and Darryl, others Nails and Wally, maybe you are a Keith or Mookie man. I was a Carter guy.
In the summer of 2003, I was covering the Mets for WFUV Sports. It would be the same summer Gary Carter was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Less than a week before his induction into Cooperstown, Gary met the media at a press luncheon at Gallagher’s Steak House in midtown. There he picked up old conversations and answered new questions from many of the same reporters that covered him throughout his 19 MLB seasons. Towards the end of the afternoon after much of the crowd had scattered, the future Hall of Famer nicknamed “Kid” gave a kid reporter a one-on-one interview - a nearly 20 minute one-on-one interview. He sat with me at the table, listened intently and answered each question so eloquently and genuinely that you would have thought all of New York was listening at that moment.
A few days later, I was in Cooperstown watching Gary Carter deliver his HOF Speech. He wanted it to happen years earlier, but I am glad the moment waited for me. The pride he felt joining such an elite class was seen all over his smiling face that day, but he wasn’t the only one smiling. It was my first trip to Cooperstown, a former Met was being inducted into the Hall of Fame and it was Gary Carter. There is only one way to describe that – perfect.
It’s no surprise that many of his former teammates have spent the last few days talking more about Gary the person than Carter the player. Too often, we put athletes on a pedestal they can’t live up to. Gary Carter lived up to it. He was as much of a role model off the field as he was behind the plate. I am thankful to have met the man, interviewed him and found out what so many already knew; Gary Carter was a Hall of Famer in everything he did.