Mike Dodd of USA Today has written one of the best articles ever about Gary Carter.
Gary Carter was a Hall of Fame catcher. He was a great baseball player, but Gary Carter was an even greater person.
Carter was the Mets' team leader, on team of leaders, but he was different from most of the other Mets. He didn't smoke, almost never drank and was a family man first and a baseball player second.
Not smoking or drinking doesn't make one a fine person, but withstanding the pressures to take part in those activities indicates a strong person.
The New York Mets issued a statement that was excellent.
"His nickname 'The Kid' captured how Gary approached life," the Mets said in a statement. "He did everything with enthusiasm and with gusto on and off the field. His smile was infectious. … He was a Hall of Famer in everything he did."
Just like another great New York Hall of Fame catcher, but that one played for the New York Yankees, pressure never bothered Carter. Pitcher Ed Lynch knew how good Carter was expected to be when he joined the Mets.
"I remember when he came to New York with all the pressure on him. We were expected to win and he was expected to lead us, and both came through… He loved the media, loved the expectations, and lived up to all of them."
But Carter was not part of the Mets' inner circle, according to Bob Klapisch. Unlike Keith Hernandez, Lenny Dykstra, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, Carter was a family man that never touched drugs or got drunk. He was an outcast in the clubhouse.
Klapisch wrote "Carter knew he often was mocked by Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry, among others. But The Kid never returned fire, either on or off the record, instead concentrating on playing hard and interacting with the media."
With the passage of time, the Mets realized that they had to learn from Carter.
"Gary figured it out way before we did how to treat people," Wally Backman told Klapisch .
"We used to make fun of him, the way he'd sign every damn autograph. We had to hold the bus for him sometimes, because he didn't know how to say no. He didn't want to say no. But you know what? He was right. He really loved the game."
He also loved people.