Joe’s an­nual home­com­ing

Blue Jays great Joe Carter re­turns to our city ev­ery year for his celebrity golf fundraiser rais­ing mil­lions for Chil­dren’s Aid

Thornhill Post - - News -

This base­ball sea­son will mark the 25th an­niver­sary of Joltin’ Joe Carter’s home run that won the Toronto Blue Jays the World Se­ries. Al­though he no longer lives in Toronto, Carter makes a point of trekking north of­ten, es­pe­cially this month, when he hosts the an­nual Joe Carter Clas­sic golf tour­ney on June 21.

What do you en­joy most about host­ing the Joe Carter Clas­sic each year?

Just talk­ing to the re­cip­i­ents from the Chil­dren’s Aid Foun­da­tion, the kids who have re­ceived these schol­ar­ships, that has al­ways been a high­light. See­ing these big-time ath­letes com­ing to­gether and giv­ing these kids, 18-, 19-, 20year-olds, get­ting a chance to fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion, and you hear their sto­ries and talk to them. That mo­ment you give these kids hope and you re­al­ize what they’ve been through, that is by far the big­gest rea­son I have for do­ing it.

How has the tour­ney evolved?

It started out as this small ven­ture from the very first time we had it nine years ago to be­com­ing one of the mar­quee tour­na­ments in all of North Amer­ica. I’ve been to a lot of the celebrity golf tour­na­ments, and it is right there at the top. Any­where I go through­out the coun­try, peo­ple are talk­ing about the Joe Carter Clas­sic.

Is there any­thing else left to say about that mem­o­rable home run to win the World Se­ries?

There’s noth­ing left be­cause it is just that big a mo­ment. Like I say, ev­ery time I go to Toronto and I’m speak­ing, I tell the peo­ple I’ve been milk­ing this home run now for 25 years. It’s great that some­thing like that hap­pened, and for it to hap­pen to me was def­i­nitely a bless­ing from the good Lord above and a bless­ing for Toronto. It is etched for­ever in the his­tory of the base­ball lau­rels.

I bet you re­mem­ber ev­ery mo­ment of that his­toric hit.

Yeah, my wife tells me I’ve for­got­ten a lot of things, but I’ll never for­get that. It is a big mo­ment, but also I’ve talked about it so many times. It’s that big a mo­ment to think, in the his­tory of the game, over 140 years, it’s only hap­pened twice in the his­tory of the game. That’s spe­cial.

What do you miss most about base­ball?

It’s the ca­ma­raderie of the play­ers. Jump­ing on the plane, go­ing from city to city, in that du­gout, in the club­house. Those are the things that you miss the most. Funny, we had this 15-year re­union of the back-to-back wins, and I think al­most ev­ery player re­turned. And as soon as we had the golf tour­na­ment, every­body got on the bus, and you know what? It was like, every­body sat in the same seat from when we were play­ing: “Oh no, don’t sit there, that’s Joe’s seat, that’s Jimmy Key’s seat, Duane Ward sits in the back, Win­field sits there.” Base­ball is a great sport be­cause you get a chance to spend a lot of time to­gether and get to know a lot about each other. That, to me, that’s fam­ily.

Have you been keep­ing up with the Jays this sea­son?

Yes, I have. It’s al­ways the same. Bos­ton gets a great start, then they get sur­passed by the Yan­kees, who go 17 to one, and the Jays are hav­ing a great year sit­ting right be­hind those guys. There are three of the best teams in base­ball sit­ting in the same divi­sion, so some­thing has to give.

Where was your favourite place to play?

Well, you know, your adren­a­line gets pump­ing when you go in to Yan­kee Sta­dium or into Fen­way Park when Roger Cle­mens was on the mound. And you’re think­ing, “OK, this is go­ing to be good,” be­cause Fen­way was one of my favourite parks to hit in, and you’ve got one of the best pitch­ers ever, so you knew it was go­ing to be a blast. I en­joyed those slug fests.

Any pitch­ers that you re­ally played well against?

I used to love Bill Weg­man. He hates hear­ing that. I hit him pretty well my whole ca­reer. I re­mem­ber one of the last times I played him — my first at bat I hit a dou­ble off the wall. And he just yells at me, “Why don’t you just re­tire, I’m sick of you.”

Joe Carter’s char­ity tour­na­ment brings sports celebri­ties from across North Amer­ica to Toronto

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