BACK IN THE BOX! Returned last season as the host of "the Penalty Box", the post game call in show for Rochester Americans broadcasts on Sports 1280 WHTK, as well as studio host for game broadcasts and intermission updates. Looking forward to starting a second straight season this upcoming year.
Weekend morning newscaster on WHAM.
Sometime fill in host for Bob Matthews or John DiTullio, as well as hosting call-in shows during Yankees and Red Wings rain delays.
Graduated from West Irondequoit high school (in 1984) where I was the sports director at the student run radio station, WIRQ, as well as the "voice of the Indians" football and basketball radio broadcasts.
Graduated with a B.A. degree from Florida Southern College (in1988). Announced FSC basketball games on local cable TV. Also announced local high school football games on local cable TV.
Have worked for WBBF-AM, WPXY-AM, Sportsradio 990, and then moved on to Clear Channel in 1997, where I have worked for WHAM and WHTK since as a board operator, producer, newscaster, traffic reporter, weatherman and sports host, as well as all-around good guy.
I am also psyched to be back on the air hosting "the Penalty Box", the post game call in show for the Rochester Americans radio broadcasts on 107--3 FM and 1280 AM.
I recently also started reading newscasts on Newsradio 1180, WHAM. It is a good opportunity for me, although I never saw myself as a "news guy". I am still enjoying the opportunity.
One of the greatest baseball players of MY generation died yesterday. It doesn't seem right to be 45 and be able to say that. It's quite sobering actually. Carter succumbed after a long battle with brain cancer at age 57. It's almost hard for me to believe. That a guy so immovable behind the plate, with forearms like Popeye, could be gone so soon.
Gary Carter was the quintessential catcher. Carter broke into the league at age 20 with the Expos, hitting a robust .407 in 29 plate appearances. I was eight years old that year and in little league.
It was obvious that Carter was bound for stardom. In his rookie year in '75, he hit .270 with a .416 slugging percentage and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to John Montefusco, who would only go on to say that he had a better nickname than Carter (the Count vs Kid). The rest of their careers, Carter would go on to superstardom and the hall of fame. Montefusco would "count" his earned runs he allowed from that point on and end up a journeyman.
There were really only two catchers in baseball worth a darn when I was a kid growing up in the mid 70's on through the end of the 80's. "The Kid" in the National League, and "Pudge" in the American League. Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk were it. There really wasn't much else. There was a HUUUUGE drop-off to the next rung of guys like Tony Pena, Bob Boone, Jim Sundberg, Rick Dempsey, Don Slaught and company.
Carter and Fisk could do it all: hit for average, hit for power, drive in runs from the middle of a lineup, play great defense and throw. They were both the complete package, but Carter seemed to do it a little teeny bit more effortlessly to me. If Fisk was a Buick, Carter would have been a Cadillac Escalade.
Now he's moved on to that field of dreams in the sky. You know, it's funny. For us sports fans, Carter will forever be in his late 20's, turning on a fastball from Steve Carlton and sending a booming shot into the left field stands in Olympic stadium. Or he's in his early 30's, lining a shot over second base in the bottom of the ninth at Shea in game six in 1986 off Calvin Schiraldi, rounding first base, and then returning, clapping and encouraging his teammates.
We don't want to see ballplayers in their fifties, or sixties or later. Do we? I know that ballplayers grow old. They get fat. They turn gray. They lose their hair. They get gimpy. I just don't want to really see it, you know? It ruins the illusion. When you see them in that condition, it's only natural to react like, "ohhhh mannnn....look at him! He's old! That's not supposed to happen!" The only thing worse than that, is hearing that they DIED!
Willie Stargell was playing ball when I was a kid, and died early in life, but it didn't hit me the same way for some reason. Perhaps it is because Willie looked, acted and played like he WAS in his fifties the last few years of his career. Carter was "THE KID" for cryin' out loud! This isn't supposed to happen!
Gary Carter finished his 18 year career at age 38 in 1992. He hit .262 over that span, with a .335 on base percentage and .439 slugging percentage. Not earth shattering numbers, but to be honest, Carter probably hung on for about four years too long. His knees were shot by then and his timing was off, but his leadership was just too great for teams to let him go.
He also hit 324 homeruns, drove in 1225 runs, and 3497 total bases. In his prime, he was also one of the top defensive catchers in the game with one of the best arms. From 1977 to 1987, he had one of the best runs of any catcher in baseball history. There have been other catchers who have better career numbers, but considering the era Carter played in, he would be in my top five, maybe top three catchers in history in their primes. As for overall, Carter has to drop a few notches, but not that far.
Here is a short list of my top ten catchers in baseball history, based on their entire career:
10. Joe Torre. I'm going with Torre as my final backstop on my top 10 list, even though he played third base for many years. I am still going to count him here because he had most of his best seasons behind the plate. Ivan Rodriguez would be a consideration, but steroids perceptions rule him out for me.
9. Gabby Hartnett. The Cubs backstop for most of the 20's and 30's hit nearly .300 for his career with just under 300 homeruns.
8. Gary Carter. The Kid had a much better "prime" than most of the catchers ahead of him on my list, but like I said, I have to knock him down a few pegs for longevity. Sadly, his life ended too soon as well.
7. Mike Piazza. This is a confounding selection. because of suspicions of steroid use, I have to drop Piazza down on the list, but his stats are so incredible, he'd be second on my list without them.
6. Carlton Fisk. Fisk was the ultimate battler. He'd put on his hard hat and go to work every day behind the plate, playing well into his forties. Great career longevity, best ever for a catcher, but wasn't the most talented on the list.
5. Bill Dickey. Second or maybe third best hitting catcher in history. Knew the strike zone, batting over .300 ten of his first 11 years. Was a standout on many great Yankee teams of the thirties.
4. Roy Campanella. Played only ten seasons because he came out of the Negro league fairly late in his career, but had perhaps the most raw power of any catcher in the game's history, along with Bench. Was a key member of many great Brooklyn Dodger teams.
3. Mickey Cochrane. The best hitting catcher EVER. Career average of .320, with MANY great offensive years for Philly A's teams of the 20's and 30's. Suspect defense or he might be number one on my list.
2. Johnny Bench. Was simply a monster. If Gary Carter was a Cadillac Escalade in his prime, Bench was a Maserati. Along with Campanella, had the most raw power of any catcher ever, but also was perhaps the best defensive backstop in history as well, with the best arm. Better numbers than Carter in about two seasons less.
1. Yogi Berra. Many non Yankee fans might argue with this, but I'm not really a Yankee fan either and I still put him #1. Yogi was colorful, but also a great all-around catcher. Hit for power, drove in runs, played great defense, and most of all, was a great leader on many great Yankee teams.
Well, there you go folks. How would your list differ?
Either way, RIP Kid, we will miss you!