As a young kid growing up in Memphis, TN, my favorite baseball team was the Memphis Chicks, then a AA franchise for the Montreal Expos. It followed that one of my favorite MLB teams would be the Expos. It also follows that since it was my (misguided) dream to play MLB as a catcher one day, that my first favorite player would be the best catcher of his generation, Gary Carter.
I always thought that the Montreal Expos team of Gary Carter, Tim Raines and Andre Dawson would make a run at a World Championship, but it never happened. I thought it would be great because it would allow me to actually watch the Expos on television, who I simply didn't get to see play that often. My definitive memory of Gary Carter from television is from the 1981 All-Star game. Gary Carter would hit two solo home runs that day and would win his first All Star Game MVP award. (He'd win another in 1984, I think.) It was his first All Star start, having beat out all-time great Johnny Bench in the voting. A wondrous moment for sure.
Of course, Gary Carter would go on to have an even more special moment with the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series, on his way to a championship ring. Sure, I was still a fan at that point, but Dale Murphy had long replaced him as my favorite ball player. He would wind up his career with Giants and the Dodgers before retiring and taking his rightful spot in the Hall of Fame.
Gary Carter began having headaches recently. Several trips to the doctor later, they found he had at least four tumors growing on his brain. A biopsy has revealed that they are malignant. He will be heading to the Duke Medical Center to discuss his options.
Please, keep Hall of Famer Gary Carter in your thoughts and prayers.
And no offense to Mets fans, but Gary Carter will always be an Expo to me.
Who was your first favorite player? Is it the same guy as it is now?