Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Kid

It is still early in the 2010 season but my boys in blue and orange just went on a 9-1 streak that put them atop of the NL East... My hopes are up and are sure to be crushed a la 1988, 1999, 2000, 2006 and of course ever year in between.
Lately I've been following the Amazins more closely than in seasons past. Amazin Avenue, a Mets blog, recently posted his take on the top ten trades since 1983. I was happy to see my all-time baseball hero make #4:

4. Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herb Winningham and Floyd Youmans to Montreal for Gary Carter. The Mets surprised just about everyone by staying in the 1984 pennant race for as long as they did. They clearly were a team on the rise with a ton of great young talent, but they needed just one superstar bat to put them over the top. Enter the Kid. In his first game with the Mets on opening day 1985, Carter ended the game with a 10th inning homerun off of some guy named Neil Allen. A love affair was born. Unlike some other guys who impressed in their debuts coughBobbyBonillacoughMikeBordick Carter was the real deal. He helped lead the Mets to within inches of a title in 1985, and then of course the big trophy in 1986. But even in 1986 there were signs that Gary was on the decline. His power numbers began to nosedive in 1987, and he was never the same player. Still, as was the case with Bobby O, Cashen accomplished what he wanted to. The only reason that this trade doesn't rank a little higher is that the guys the Mets dealt, aside from Winningham, had decent careers. Youmans was the key piece of the trade, and some thought he would be the next Doc Gooden. He showed flashes of brilliance in Montreal, but he never came close to meeting expectations and his career fizzled. Fitzgerald was a very good backup catcher, and Brooks remained a solid if unspectacular shortstop.
I remember seeing a bench clearing brawl and Carter came off the dugout to join in the fracas. The game was on channel 10 WWOR out of NYC, which you may remember from The Richard Bey Show or Howard Stern's first stint on TV. Tim McCarver was calling the game made a huge deal about the Kid jumping in the fight. Carter had an injured back and it was a pretty stupid idea for him to be risking more injury. McCarver remarked that was just the kind of player he was, a "Gamer". Those 85-89 teams were fucked up and tough as nails.

Sure the Kid went on to become a huge Republican and even had Bush Sr. at his Hall of Fame induction but even that can't tarnish my image of him. Ladies and gentleman put those hands together for Gary Carter, listed #8 in your programs but will always be #1 in our hearts.

*Note: I may own every Gary Carter baseball card produced by the major card companies... ahh to think of those lovely names again Donruss, Score, Topps, Upper Deck ...

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