Carter was truly an All-Star
It was the summer of my discontent, when baseball stopped.
For almost two months in 1981, I slept on the couch in our den – seemingly uprooted from my bed due to the cataclysmic work stoppage that rocked the National Pastime. I woke up each day and flipped on the TV (we had no access to ESPN back then, so it was the national networks) to see if the strike had ended.
Finally, on July 31, it was over. The season would resume after 713 games were canceled. And it would start with the All-Star Game in Cleveland.
On August 9, baseball returned before 72,086 fans at Cleveland Stadium. Gary Carter was the hero.
Carter’s two solo home runs – one in the fifth that tied the game at one and another in the seventh that cut the American League’s lead to 4-3 – helped the National League prevail 5-4.
More importantly, it showed that baseball was stronger than any work stoppage.
I cheered for Gary Carter that day and his performance was rewarded with the All-Star Game MVP Award.
That season Carter’s Expos made their lone playoff appearance, thanks in large part to the Kid. Three years later, during one of the best seasons of his career – hitting .294 with 27 homers and a league leading 106 RBIs – Carter would again earn the All-Star Game MVP Award with another key home run.
To date, Carter is one of four players to receive the honor, joining Willie Mays, Steve Garvey and Cal Ripken.
He made baseball a better game – and the world a better place. He will be missed.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.