Had a chance to talk to former Met David Cone about Gary Carter on the Baseball Today podcast earlier this week (prior to the news that Carter's tumors were likely cancerous). Here's what Cone had to say about his beloved batterymate:
He was a great, great player, still a good friend. He caught me in 1988 when I won 20 games as a Met. He caught the majority of those games for me and really taught me a lot about the game, early on in my career and is just a class act.
Both he and Sandy Carter his wife, are just wonderful people, very involved in a lot of charities around the country. They've done a lot of great work that helps a lot of people.
My heart really goes out to Gary and I'm pulling for him to come through this. I know he's strong and his family is strong and that he will be ok. Certainly we're worried about him and we certainly wish him the best.
[The best lesson he taught was] you learn that you lead by example. Gary led by example, just watching him call signals behind the plate taught me a lot.
I was the type of pitcher who liked to shake off a lot and call my own game, but I pretty much followed his lead when I was a rookie with the Mets.
Just seeing how he called the game, going with what fingers he was putting down, signal calling -- it took a lot of pressure off of me and it allowed me just to concentrate on the execution of my pitches where I was trying to throw them. I had the best year of my career with him catching me.