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A Piece of the Past - November 2005

Gary Carter's Little League Memorabilia

This trophy, warm up jacket and a baseball used in a no-hitter by future Hall of Famer Gary Carter when he played Little League in West Fullerton, Calif., are among the interesting artifacts you’ll see in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.
One of the earliest known autographs of one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball, Gary Carter, is in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport, Pa.

Mr. Carter, a former catcher for the West Fullerton (Calif.) Little League, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2003. But he signed the ball that you can see in the Little League Museum long before that. It bears the signatures of a 12-year-old Gary Carter and his Little League teammates after he pitched a perfect game on May 12, 1966.

The baseball, a warm-up jacket, Little League trophy and glove were among items donated by Mr. Carter. He also autographed another baseball that is on display. The museum recently received a donation of catcher’s equipment autographed by Mr. Carter that was donated by Michael Frank of New York City.

The glove is on loan to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum until 2007, and is part of the traveling “Baseball as America” exhibit.

When the catcher was elected to the Hall of Fame, Stephen D. Keener, Little League International president and chief executive officer, said, “Besides being an outstanding player, Gary Carter exemplifies the kind of person that parents hope their Little Leaguer can become. … He truly is one of the good guys.”

The glove used by Gary Carter when he played Little League is also part of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum collection. It is currently on loan, however, as part of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Baseball as America” exhibit. In this photo, it is displayed with other memorabilia as part of the tour when it visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

One of the game’s dominant players and one of only four catchers with 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs, 1,000 RBIs and 300 homers (the others are Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Carlton Fisk and Johnny Bench), Mr. Carter was mentored through his Little League years by his father, Jim Carter. Gary’s parents received the Little League Parents of the Year Award in 1985, and in 1993 Gary was presented with the Bill Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award.

Tragedy struck the Carter family when Gary was 12. But Little League, and a great relationship with his father, helped see him through.

“My dad was my coach, but he was also my best friend while growing up,” Gary said in a story published in the 1985 Little League Baseball World Series program. “You see, my mom passed away when I was a kid playing Little League. Little League seemed to be the saving grace at the time. My dad and I became even closer after her passing and much of our time was spent on the Little League field.”

Mr. Carter played for the Montreal Expos (1974-1984, 1992), New York Mets (1985-1989), San Francisco Giants (1990), and Los Angeles Dodgers (1991).

The museum, 525 Route 15 Highway, South Williamsport, is open from Labor Day through Memorial Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The museum is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment only during its winter hours. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The facility is accessible to the disabled.

Rates are $5 for adults, $3 for those 62 and older, and $1.50 for children between the ages of 5 and 13. There is no fee for children 4 or younger. For more information, call the museum at 570-326-3607, or click here for more information.