Hall of Fame Catcher Gary Carter Dead at 57

The baseball world is mourning the passing of Gary Carter. The 57 year old former catcher died from brain cancer on Thursday, February 16.  An announcement was made by his daughter, Kimmy Bloomers on the website of his family at 4:10 pm.

In May 2011, it was publicly revealed that the baseball great had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Carter had been undergoing treatment for the disease since its discovery. In the third week of January, it was announced that Carter’s condition had worsened as additional tumors were found.

Despite the reality of his worsened health, Carter recently made a visit to his players at Palm Beach Atlantic University where he served as baseball coach for the past two years.

The Baseball Writers’ of America (BBWAA) awarded Carter its Milton/Arthur Richman Good Guy Award at its annual dinner in New York on January 21. As Carter was unable to travel from Florida to accept the honor, Carter’s award was accepted by his son, D.J. who read his father’s speech.

The speech was a testimonial to Carter’s feelings and connection to New York City, “I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the people and city of New York. I have nothing but fond memories of my time here in New York, highly lighted, of course, with the World Series championship in 1986. I still remember the feeling of riding in the World Series parade with over one million people lining the streets to celebrate our championship. The fans were always supportive of me and my family since my diagnosis of brain cancer in May of 2011.”

Although, Carter only played in New York with the Mets for five of his 19 seasons, those years are well remembered by the fans in New York. Carter was obtained before the 1985 season after playing a decade with the Montreal Expos, where he was one of the team’s most popular players.

Although “The Kid” was 31 years old when he came to the Mets and his personality and lifestyle did not mesh smoothly with some of the more raucous men on the squad, he was a vital part of the successful team. The Mets were World Series champs in Carter’s second year in New York. Carter contributed mightily to that World Series victory with nine runs batted in.

Large numbers of New York baseball fans, whether of the Mets or Yankees, remember with great fondness and respect, Carter’s outstanding years in the city. Lifelong Yankees fans Bill Stimers said of the Kid, “Carter turned the 1986 World Series around. He was a great player and a very fine person. We will always miss him. We pray for his family.”

Carter’s eventful years in New York ended as did the 80’s. He played the next two seasons in the state of his birth, California. He was with the San Francisco Giants in 1990 and in 1991 he played with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He concluded his outstanding career in the majors in 1992 with the organization that drafted him 20 years earlier, the Montreal Expos. Carter once recalled his career’s end in Montreal, “It was a good way for my career to end going back to the team where my career originated.”

Carter performed admirably during two decades as a major leaguer. He scored 1,025 runs and hit safely 2,092 times in 2,296 games. The dependable power hitter blasted 324 homers and drove in 1,225 runs.

His impressive stats were not compiled through longevity alone but by his outstanding play on a yearly basis. In his rookie season, Carter was runner-up to hurler John Montefusco in the voting for the NL Rookie-of-the Year. The catcher was a National League All-Star in 11 seasons. His hitting earned him the Silver Slugger five times. His ability behind the plate was rewarded with a Gold Glove for three seasons.

The achievements of Carter’s career in baseball were rewarded by a place in the pantheon of heroes in Cooperstown, New York. Carter was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in the summer of 2003. He is the only player inducted into the HOF wearing an expos cap.

The devoted family man is survived by Sandy, his wife of my than 30 years, and three children, Christy, Kimmy and DJ.

Posted under Annual Dinner, Baseball Coach, Baseball World, Baseball Writers, Bbwaa, Bloomers, Brain Cancer, Fond Memories, Hall Of Fame, Mets, New York Mets, One Million, Place In My Heart, Richman, Series Parade, Top Story, Undergoing Treatment

This Could Be The Beginning of the End For The Wilpons

This one comes as no shock to anyone.

Yesterday’s announcement that Wilpon Family is looking to sell 20 to 25 percent of the team is only surprising in the timing of the announcement, not the fact that they are looking for a few extra dollars.

Since the Madoff Scandal hit at the end of 2008, whispers of the Wilpons financial woes came across the baseball world and there was talk that Fred Wilpon was looking for friends to invest in the Mets.

None of that happened of course, so now they are opening it up to anyone who has about $170 million to own a piece of the Mets action.

And why this announcement today, after swearing on stacks of bibles for the past two years, the Mets were financially sound.

Well according to multiple sources, the law suit filed by Madoff Trustee Irving Picard, not only is trying to seize any profits the Mets received, but also is going for punitive damages since the Wilpons referred clients to the Ponzi swindler. That number has been reported to be $1 billion, so you can see why Mets ownership is scrambling.

The Wilpons are looking for a settlement with the court, so they probably won’t have to pay the billion, but will still have come up with a large chunk of change.

That’s where these investors come in. The Wilpons hired Steve Greenberg – Hank’s son – to find potential investors, but before Fred and Jeff can breathe a sigh of relief, understand, that doesn’t mean they will get any. Last year, Tom Hicks was looking for silent investors with the Texas Rangers, and when none surfaced he was forced to sell the whole team.

Minority investors work when the team is run soundly. It worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers, because the NFL prints money, and it would work with a team like the Yankees, because there is a built in guarantee that the money invested would get a return.

But the last few seasons saw turmoil for the Wilpons, and why would anyone want to invest in that? This is a team that is leveraged to the hilt and on the hook for the Citi Field bond payments. Last year, they were downgraded to junk status, but unlike a corporate bond, which can easily default, these are municipal obligations, so the City of New York is involved.

Then there’s the large payroll with diminishing attendance, which never seems to work for any club.

Actually the only thing going for the Wilpons these days is SNY, but Jeff Wilpon said, the asset isn’t for sale.

Back in the late 1990s, there was talk about Jame Dolan coming in and buying the Mets. That probably won’t happen now, as the Mets are no long a MSG Network program and there also may be an ownership conflict with Dolan’s uncle owning the Cleveland Indians.

All of this points to a very tough road ahead for the Mets. With a team value – according to Forbes – of $858 million, the Wilpons just might be forced to sell if they are on the hook for that billion dollars. And even if they only will owe a portion of that, they may have to sell controlling interest if no minority buyers come through.

This means is that a once solid ownership team is now full of question marks and everything is resolved one way or another, everything move the Mets do will be clouded by the Madoff actions.

And that’s been no secret either.

Posted under 1 Billion, Baseball World, Beginning Of The End, Bibles, Chunk, Financial Woes, Fred Wilpon, Law Suit, Minority Investors, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ponzi, Punitive Damages, Sigh Of Relief, Stacks, Steve Greenberg, Texas Rangers, Tom Hicks, Top Story, Trustee, Turmoil, Whispers

This post was written by Joe McDonald on January 29, 2011