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Little League Graduate Gary Carter Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Gary Carter, when he played in the West Fullerton Little League (Calif.) as a 12-year-old.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Jan. 7, 2003) – Little League congratulates Gary Carter, one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball history, on his election today to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. 

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

Mr. Carter played for the West Fullerton (Calif.) Little League, mentored through his Little League years by his father, Jim Carter. Gary went on to become 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.)

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

Gary and his father, Jim (right), were guests of Little League Baseball in Williamsport in 1985, when Mr. Carter received the Parents of the Year Award.

“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.

In 1985, Gary’s parents were named Little League Parents of the Year, and in 1993, Gary was presented with the Bill Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award. He remains one of Little League’s greatest supporters.

Members of the Baseball Hall of Fame 
Who Played Little League Baseball

Player Year of Induction
George Brett 1999
Steve Carlton 1994
Gary Carter 2003
Rollie Fingers  1992
Jim “Catfish” Hunter 1987
Jim Palmer 1990
Nolan Ryan 1999
Mike Schmidt  1995
Tom Seaver 1992
Don Sutton 1998
Carl Yastrzemski 1989
Robin Yount 1999

Gary went on to star for 19 years in the Major Leagues, and won a World Series ring in 1986 with the New York Mets.