Gary Carter’s Mets Career Made Andre Dawson Eat His Words

Gary Carter played for New York’s most beloved team, the New York Mets, for five seasons. He became a legend in the big city who helped the Mets win a World Championship in 1986.

On Dec. 10, 1984, the Montreal Expos sent Carter to the Mets in exchange for infielder Hubie Brooks, catcher Mike Fitzgerald, outfielder Herm Winningham and pitcher Floyd Youmans. It was one of the best trades in Mets history.

Gary Carter has many wonderful qualities. He is a philanthropist who head the Gary Carter Foundation, which supports public schools that are financially challenged. He is almost available to the media, and he isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

As a player, Carter was known for his ebullience, durability, and clutch hitting. He was an outstanding handler of pitchers.

But some of teammates with the Montreal Expos expressed the belief that Carter was a publicity seeker who was as interested in his career as much as he was dedicated to winning.

During spring training in 1985, a newspaper article about Carter was posted in the Expos clubhouse. Someone underlined how many times Carter mentioned “I” or “me” in the clipping. The words appeared 18 times.

The most popular subject of conversation among the Expos after the trade was Carter. Much of it was far from flattering.

Most of his former teammates considered him to be a selfish player who cared more about himself than his team.

When a writer approached Andre Dawson in the Expos club house, the future Hall of Famer, acting as team spokesman, talked about Carter.

“He’s going to help that ball club; the Mets are going to be the team to beat. He had some problems among his teammates. He’d do anything to try and succeed. That was one reason his teammates felt he was more of a glory hound than a team player.”

One must question what Dawson meant. Maybe the Expos, a team that never won anything except one division title, should have looked in the mirror.

The key is that Dawson admitted that Carter would do anything to try and succeed. If Carter succeeded as an individual who was part of the Expos, then that would be an asset to the Expos.

Dawson didn’t hold back. He claimed that when Carter went into a hitting slump, it affected how he called a game from behind the plate.

“If he wasn’t hitting, it didn’t matter what kind of game he was calling. I always heard players on teams say they liked to hit against our pitchers because our catcher put one finger down for a fast ball all the time.

“He called a lot of pitchouts, but if a guy stole on him, he’d blame the pitchers for holding the runners on. It was more of an ‘I’ situation than ‘we.’ He called it petty jealousies.”

There was some truth in what Dawson said, but the fact between 1977 and 1982 Carter led the National League in most chances six times, in putouts five times, assists four times, and double plays three times might make one question Dawson’s credibility.

Carter’s career with the Mets proved that much of what Dawson said came from a player who was trying to rationalize why losing his team’s best player was a good thing rather than admitting that his team was weakened greatly.

In the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, Carter helped New York’s other team, the New York Yankees when he blasted a pair of home runs in the fourth game at Fenway Park to help the Mets even the Series at two games each.

In the sixth game, when the Mets were down to their final strike, he singled to start a three run rally in the tenth inning that produced a 6-5 win. The Mets won the seventh game, which enabled Yankees fans to continue shouting “1918.”

Today, Gary Carter faces his biggest challenge, but Gary Carter has proven that he is a winner.

Winners don’t lose.

References:

Baseball Library

By MURRAY CHASS Special to The New,York Times. (1985, Mar 29). Expos are happier with carter gone. New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. A26. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/111277818?accountid=46260