Gary Carter: I’m Becoming A Fan…
Way back during my first week of blogging I wrote an article titled ‘Gary Carter Does NOT Belong In The Hall Of Fame’. Just a few days into blogging, this post was my most viewed and commented upon post since I started ’30-YOC’ just a few days earlier.
Here I sit, some 17 months later, and my thoughts have changed quite a bit. As my love for the sport and its stars from the 1970’s and 1980’s has grown during this time, I have to admit that I was wrong about Gary Carter. And with Andre Dawson’s recent election to Cooperstown still a constant thought on my mind, I feel more strongly than ever that Carter is without a doubt Hall of Fame material.
Why have I turned the corner on this? Here is my new way of thinking. (1) You cannot compare players from different eras to one another. It’s not fair to compare Carter to Johnny Bench. They are different players with different success stories – Bench’s just happen to be the best! (2) When looking at a player, you need to compare him to his current competition. And with that said, Carter was more often than not, the best catcher in the league for a majority of his career. He delivered potent offense and superb leadership as the catcher and leader of the pitching staffs that he caught.
I leave you with this… And this alone makes Gary Carter shine brighter in my eyes today than he did in August of 2008…
When looking at the greatest catchers of all-time, Carter certainly ranks in the Top 6 spots(probably at 4). And during his playing days, he held down the #1 spot regularly. Now when I look at other players playing in today’s game and I try to rank them amongst their peers, many do not crack a spot anywhere near the Top 10. Potential Hall of Famers like Gary Sheffield, Jim Thome, Vlad Guererro, these guys are not making any all-decade teams. While their careers are impressive by statistical standards, they cannot hold a candle to what guys like Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, and Ichiro Suzuki have accomplished.
To Mr. Carter – As I stated 17 long months ago, I am a fan and I enjoyed watching you play for the Expos and Mets during my youth. Today, at 34, I appreciate what you meant to the game more now than ever before!!