BY DAVID RUSSELL
When the members of the 1986 Mets reunite before Saturday’s game at Citi Field, Ed Hearn will be with them. The backup catcher to Gary Carter was only a Met for one season, but it was the year they won the World Series.
Hearn can’t believe how quickly the last three decades have gone. “Not only 30 years since winning a World Series, but life goes so fast sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses, and this weekend will be an opportunity to do that,” Hearn said.
Health problems in retirement caused Hearn to become suicidal, but the former Met bounced back and became an inspirational speaker. “A lot of people say ‘think outside the box’. But I tell people ‘think outside yourself.’ I like to think that I’ve done that. I could’ve crawled in a hole with all the stuff we’ve been through but I didn’t. I battled back most of my career and the health problems that came along and I like to think I made a little difference along the way.”
Hearn was traded after the 1986 season to the Royals for David Cone. Hearn lives in Kansas City, so this weekend will be a chance to see some old teammates he doesn’t see often. “We get together once or twice a year for autograph shows but beyond that there’s not a lot of contact between the guys,” Hearn said.
“People probably think we’re attached at the hip but that’s not necessarily the case. Some of the guys who live back east get together more often than the guys that are spread around the country.”
The Royals-Mets World Series last year brought some attention back to Hearn’s career. “The ironic thing is that it had been 30 years since they won their last World Series and they won the World Series on that anniversary, so I’m thinking that’s a good omen for the Mets.”
While winning the World Series was his number one moment, his other favorite was his first career homer, which came off Pirates pitcher Cecilio Guante. “On Father’s Day I hit my first major league home run,” Hearn said. “My parents were in the stands for that ballgame. Somebody retrieved the ball and I said, ‘will you give it to my dad after the ballgame.’ That was pretty special.”
When Gary Carter went on the disabled list in August, the Mets went 8-3 in games that Hearn started. Hearts will be heavy on Saturday when Carter is brought up. On a team of wild boys, Carter was the first to pass away, when he died in 2012.
“We’re not promised tomorrow,” Hearn said. “That’s for a ballplayer or whatever you are, and we lost a great guy in Gary.We named our son after Gary, Cody Carter Hearn. Now our son has battled cancer but he’s in remission now. What an ideal rookie year situation to be backing up a guy like Gary Carter, not only as a baseball player but as a person, as a family man, as a man of faith.”