Caring for history
By Craig Muder
Tina Carey stood up from her chair at the Hall of Fame’s Giamatti Research Center and identified herself as the granddaughter of Max Carey.
But for anyone who knew or had seen pictures of the Hall of Fame centerfielder of the Pirates and Dodgers, no introduction was necessary.
“I’ve got his eyebrows and his chin,” said Tina, pouring over pictures of Max from the Hall of Fame’s archive. “Look how young he looks in these. My memories of him are all when he was in his 70s.”
Tina Carey came to Cooperstown on Monday from her home in Virginia, bringing with her warm memories of her famous grandfather. Tina’s father, Donald F. Carey, was one of Max’s three children – born in 1925, the year Max and his Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series. Donald Carey passed away last year.
Tina was born in 1961 – the year Max was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“My grandfather moved to Miami Beach right after he left baseball,” said Tina, whose famous relative retired as a player following the 1929 season before managing the Dodgers in 1932 and 1933. “I remember that in his house in Miami he had this little room plastered with all the photos and clippings from his career. I’d sit on a chair in that room and we’d watch baseball games on TV.”
Max Carey passed away in 1976 following a career working in the dog racing industry. His big league baseball career began in 1910 with the Pirates – but was almost derailed by a higher calling.
“He was in seminary school to become an Episcopalian minister, but he just loved baseball,” Tina said. “He never made more than $16,000 a year as a ballplayer, and he lost more than $100,000 in the 1929 stock market crash. But he was very smart with his money, and very smart on the field.”
Max Carey was a fleet-footed centerfielder, stealing 738 bases (still ninth on the all-time list) while leading the National League 10 times, banging out 2,665 hits and leading the league in putouts nine times. Later, Carey managed in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and also served as the league president.
But for Tina Carey, Max George Carey was more than a ballplayer. He was grandpa.
“He believed in fundamental baseball: Getting on base any way possible and not swinging for the fences,” Tina Carey said. “He would have been successful in anything he did. It’s wonderful to see his history here at the Hall of Fame.”
Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.