Carleton: Prisoners of WAR

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on February 4, 2020:

The ghost of Joe Carter still haunts me. In fact it’s strange how much of my baseball life involves Joe Carter. When I was kid growing up in Cleveland, Carter was the first player that I fell in love with. He was the best player on the Indians and to a 7-year-old, there is no higher calling. He hit home runs, stole a few bases, and consistently drove in 100 runs every season.

Joe Carter was also the first player to break my heart. He didn’t actually do it, but after the 1989 season, the Indians traded Carter to the San Diego Padres to rid themselves of his nearly $2 million salary and all the Indians got in return were Sandy Alomar Jr. and Carlos Baerga. It’s a rite of passage when your favorite team trades away your favorite player for the first time. Even though that trade ultimately became the foundation of the mid-90s Indians teams that brought me so much joy and I eventually grew to understand the rationale behind the trade, it still stings a little bit. But as I secretly watched Carter hit his now-famous home run to end the 1993 World Series (thanks to my Sony Watchman) and then watched Alomar and Baerga power the Indians to a World Series a few years later, it seemed that Carter and his baseball progeny would be intricately linked to the rest of my baseball life.

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Originally published: February 5, 2020. Last Updated: February 5, 2020.