Riverdogs hitting coach remembers Gary Carter

By: Scott

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter succumbed to brain cancer last week.

He'll be buried this week and memorialized by baseball fans around the world. Certainly one of the most beloved players in the history of baseball, "The Kid," left a legacy and made an impact on all that played with him.

One of those guys is Mt. Pleasant resident and Riverdogs hitting coach Greg Colbrunn. Colbrunn started his career in 1992 with the Montreal Expos, the same year Gary Carter retired from baseball as a member of the Expos.

"It was a thrill come true. I'd sit and watch him on TV growing up as one of the best catchers in the game," Colbrunn said. "He could hit, throw play defense, won a few gold gloves and then you're sitting next to him asking him about opposing pitchers. He was one of the most famous guys in Montreal history. Coming up with the Expos, I heard so much about him"

Colbrunn was drafted out of high school in Fontana, California as a catcher. He decided against his college offer at Stanford and jumped into the world of minor league baseball as a catcher in the Expos organization. Until his switch to first base, Colbrunn was often told that it was Carter's shoes he needed to fill. "Playing with him, knowing it was his last year, knowing his numbers and knowing he's probably going to be a hall of famer. The presence of watching him and then playing with him, the respect was instant."

The 1992 season was not the last time Colbrunn and Carter would cross paths. For three years when Colbrunn played for the Florida Marlins, Carter was a Marlins broadcaster.

"In the clubhouse he'd talk to us. Give us advice; he was such a good guy. He lived his life the right way; he did so much for charity. His family was most important to him. I really can't say enough about him."

Those characteristics are the ones that make this week so tough.

"When it came up that he had brain cancer, I said, you've gotta be kidding me. He was 56 years old; I thought this could happen to anybody. He loved the game so much, respected the game of baseball and I loved the way he loved it, and preached it. He was awesome."

An awesome teammate, remembered right here in the Lowcountry twenty years later.

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