Jeff Pearlman: Not Everybody Loved Gary Carter

So there's something that very few of Gary Carter's eulogists have been willing to mention ... Carter wasn't unanimously beloved by his teammates. But Jeff Pearlman -- who wrote a book about the '86 Mets -- is usually willing to mention just about anything. Pearlman (via The Wall Street Journal):

Baseball clubhouses are much like junior high lunchrooms, in that the cool kids divide themselves from the un-cool; the studs distance themselves from the geeks.

In the oft-ignorant, oft-shallow world of baseball, Carter was deemed a geek from the very beginning. He didn't drink and didn't smoke. He didn't curse and he didn't talk smack. He showed up to work early, played hard, embraced home-plate collisions and—by all accounts—worked his tail off. He was loyal to his wife, Sandy, and an involved and dedicated father to their three children.

Yet this was rarely good enough for teammates. In Montreal, where Carter established himself as a star from 1974-84, he was derisively tagged "Teeth," "Lights" and "Camera Carter" for his apparent love of the spotlight and his willingness to grant any and every interview request. Such behavior didn't sit well with many of the Expos, who mocked him (cowardly, Carter would later tell me) behind his back and made him the butt of their juvenile jokes. Why, Carter's famous nickname—The Kid—was born of neither love nor appreciation, but scorn.

Pearlman tends to overstate his cases, just a little. But if you want the full picture of Carter's career, you really need to read about the people who didn't love him, too.

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