When Gary Carter came back to Sunny Hills High School
In 2004 and 2012.
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Fullerton moves to honor local ‘Kid’ Gary Carter
By LOU PONSI | Orange County Register
February 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm
FULLERTON – City officials are looking into paying tribute to Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who played Little League and PONY Baseball in town and lettered in three sports at Sunny Highs High.
The 11-time all-star catcher in the big leagues, an enthusiastic player known as the Kid, died Feb.16 at 57 from brain cancer.
The City Council has asked the Parks & Recreation Department to come up with a way of memorializing Carter. Dedicating a street or a field after Carter are among the possibilities, said Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva.
“I think there is a lot of interest in the community, and I think there will be a lot of support,” she said.
Carter married his high school sweetheart, Sandy, and was a newspaper boy for the Fullerton News Tribune.
Eight months after his July 2003 induction into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, Carter was invited back to Sunny Hills to be honored.
“Sunny Hills and Fullerton will always be synonymous with Gary Carter,” Carter told the audience in the packed gym. “As a kid growing up in Fullerton, never did I fathom that I would one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame.'”
Carter talked about playing for the Fullerton Red Sox and said the memory that stands out the most from his Little League days was throwing a perfect game and dedicating it to his mother, who had just died.
A painting of Carter, along with a banner memorializing the baseball great, hangs in the Lancers’ gymnasium. The Sunny Hills’ baseball field is named after Carter.
In 2004, Carter participated in opening-day ceremonies for West Fullerton Little League, when the James Carter Memorial Field was dedicated for Carter’s father, who managed in the league and had died the previous year.
In 2008, Carter was again back in his hometown when he took the job as manager of the Orange County Flyers, an independent minor league baseball team that played in Fullerton.
“It is a complete turnaround,” Carter said. “I started my career in Fullerton, and now I’m managing a team in Fullerton. … Now my goal is to put a championship team together.”
He did exactly that, guiding the Flyers to the Golden Baseball League title and earning manager of the year.
Carter spent just one season with the Flyers before taking the job as manager of the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. Carter then became head coach for the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team, his final coaching job.
At Palm Beach Atlantic, Carter joined his son-in-law, Kyle Bloemers, the university’s athletic director, and Carter’s daughter, Kimmy, the head softball coach for the Sailfish.
COMMENT: While Mr. Carter is richly deserving of this honor, for raising two of the finest athletes and man in the country, and for leading the league, other fathers also deserve praise and gratitude. They include Mr. Slezak; Mrs. Tillman Nix; Mr. Staffieri; Mr. Raczka, Mr. Macduff, Mr. Wheeler; Mr. Fowler and others. Together, they taught, coached and developed some of the finest men in the world today.
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