Jack Damaska Predicted Gary Carter’s Stardom

Jack Damaska served briefly as an Expos minor league manager.

It was long enough to see a bus load of talent headed to Montreal.

Damaska wrote:

“In my one year of managing in the Expos system, I was the first manager of Joe Kerrigan and Tony Bernazard. I also coached Gary Carter, Ellis Valentine, Warren Cromartie, Bombo Rivera, Barry Foote and Steve Rogers.

What about that future Hall of Famer in the bunch?

“Gary Carter…you could tell in Double A that he was going to be the Expos catcher. He had all the tools.

He became a good friend of our family and broke our hearts with his passing.”

Coming Thursday: Hits against TWO Hall of Famers? Damaska did!

Send Hall of Famer Gary Carter Some Hope

Posted May 23rd, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Gary Carter, Gary Carter Foundation

It’s time to root for a gamer.

Keep Smiling, Gary! Your
autograph got stronger
with time. Do the same!!!

Hall of Famer Gary Carter may be fighting for his life.

I called his Foundation, run out of his personal office. His assistant said that future announcements about Carter’s health would come through the Mets, or the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Most importantly, for all the fans and collectors who’ve wanted to send a note of thanks or hope to Carter should write:

Gary Carter Foundation
580 Village Blvd., Suite 315
West Palm Beach, FL 33409

I’m assured that any cards or letters will be delivered to Mr. Carter and his family.

How Does A Rookie Catcher Handle Knuckleballers Phil Niekro & Hoyt Wilhelm? Very Carefully, Says Bob Didier!

Didier: “He was out.”

As a Little Leaguer, I couldn’t have caught a knuckleball with a butterfly net.

That’s why I marvel at Bob Didier. He was named to the Topps All-Rookie team in 1969. That year, the Braves catcher broke in catcher two future Hall of Famers, knuckleballers Phil Niekro and Hoyt Wilhelm.

I wrote, asking Didier to describe those fluttering deliveries. He responded with a gem of a letter:

“Niekro was the starter and he threw his knuckelballs harder and it broker sharper. Wilhelm threw his knuckleball softer but would have 2 or 3 different breaks at different times.

I waited until the ball stopped roll and I picked them up.”

Didier’s 1973 Topps card is classic. The action shot is supreme. The 1972 Mets roster says #21 was Cleon Jones. Any details about the card?

“He was out.”

I asked about Didier’s father, super scout Mel Didier.

“He signed Ralph Garr, Cecil Upshaw, George Stone, Andre Dawson and Gary Carter, among others.

He taught me to respect the game.

My dad has (written) a book about his life in baseball, Podnuh, Let Me Tell You A Story — A Baseball Life.”

Didier shared a few tales with a Cape Cod League reporter in 2008. Read (and listen) here!