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Gary Carter was always respected by Phillies fans despite being an opposing player


Back in the mid to late 1980’s, you hadn’t experienced true Philadelphia sports fandom until you attended a Phillies-Mets game at Veterans Stadium and observed New York’s finest, who would take the train down to Philly to obnoxiously cheer on their World Champions. The Phillies were not what you would call a solid baseball team by 1987, and that just made it worse. And oh yeah, the fact that the Mets themselves were (for the most part) a bunch of arrogant, boozing, pill popping, wife swapping jerks also factored heavily into Philly fans’ undying hatred for that team.

Much like David Wright on today’s Mets teams however, there was one guy who never seemed to fit in with that bunch. We didn’t like him either, but it was for different reasons.Gary Carter photo: newyork.cbslocal.com

Phillies fans would never readily admit it, but deep down, they all knew Gary Carter was one hell of a baseball player.

Maybe it was because of the wars the Phillies waged with the Montreal Expos in the early 1980’s. Maybe it was the 26 career home runs he hit at Veterans Stadium. Maybe it was when he stood in the way of Terry Mulholland’s potential no-hitter in 1990. Maybe it was his clutch single in the memorable tenth inning of Game 6 against the Red Sox in 1986.

No matter what the situation was on the field, you knew Gary Carter was going to battle you until you got the best of him.

And now Carter is facing the biggest battle of them all: brain cancer.

When Carter's brain tumors were first diagnosed last spring, the doctors determined them to be inoperable, and instead treated him with an aggressive form of chemotherapy. For a while, Carter’s tumors appeared to have shrunk, but his recent diagnosis of new tumors do not paint a very promising picture for the Hall of Fame catcher.

On a Mets team that featured superstars that blew their careers on drugs and other vices, Carter was the one who stood above it all. The image he portrayed was not one he did not exemplify off the field, but that failed to mesh with his peers on the baseball diamond, unfairly giving Carter his share of detractors simply by association. Different players on that Mets squad (Lenny Dykstra, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry) certainly fought their share of demons. None of them however (with the exception of maybe Strawberry), has even come close to the ordeal that Carter is facing right now.

The outlook is bleak, but who knows? Maybe Carter has one more fight left in him. It goes without saying that everyone is hoping this is one he'll win.

Philly2Philly truly wishes the very best for Gary Carter.


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Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com                                                                                                 

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Gary Carter photo: newyork.cbslocal.com