Larry Carter inducted into Babe Ruth Baseball Hall of Fame

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE, Larry Carter of Casco

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

From Little League player in 1967 to Sebago-Long Lake Babe Ruth president for over 25 years, Larry Carter’s love affair with the game of baseball has never stopped.

He has been Mr. Baseball here in the Lake Region, working in a number of capacities from coach to umpire to concession booth volunteer to overseer of the Babe Ruth baseball league and now the manager of still developing Kendall and Anna Ham Complex in Bridgton.

His efforts spanning over three decades have landed the Casco resident into the New England Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Carter was inducted into the Hall on July 14 at Wrigley Purnell Field in Waterville at the 12-U Regional Cal Ripken tournament. Family and friends were in attendance, including New England Regional Commissioner Barry Jordan of Sebago, who “presented” Carter. Jordan gave a short speech regarding Carter’s SLL and state duties. Carter then tossed out the first pitch of a regional game.

The News caught up with Larry Carter for the following Q&A:

BN. When and why did you get involved with Sebago-Long Lake Baseball?

LC. I got involved with SLL in fall of 1991 as secretary first office, then moved up to president in 1994. I have been there ever since, and plan to be in 2019.

BN. What do you love about the game of baseball?

LC. I love the game of baseball very much. You have to have some talent, as a tough sport that you have to be accurate most of the time, like golf. I love a challenge, and baseball teaches kids about sportsmanship, so that is why I love baseball.

BN. When did you first start to play, positions played, what levels did you play at?

LC. I played Little League in Surry, Maine in 1967-69. I was a very good pitcher, not so much a hitter, as I did not have a brother or neighbor to play ball with. We lived in a very small town, only eight kids in my class. We never played in any tournaments, nor did I ever hear or know of any in those days. Kids are so lucky now.

BN. What is your fondest childhood baseball memory?

LC. My fondest memory was getting a popsicle after each game. That is all I really remember and hitting one home run in three years. In comparison, my son hit over 25 home runs in his time in SLL.

BN. Favorite all time baseball player, and why?

LC. My favorite player was CarlYastrzemski, #8 for the Boston Red Sox. I love a left, sweet swing, and wow could he play left field. He used to excite the crowd over and over.

BN. What have been the challenges of being league president, and what kept you going all these years?

LC. Challenges being president of SLL? Not many. Lack of volunteers. People only do it for their kids, and I did not do it that way. You can’t forget the other kids behind yours. Pay it forward is what we all are here on earth to do, I feel. I keep being president as most others won’t step up and be involved. Not sure why, as I make time, and they could too.

BN. What do you do as league president, how long will you continue to do it?

LC. As president, you just need to be organized, do all the paperwork, order things so when season starts it’s all ready to roll. It’s a short season, so not that hard to plan for. Lining up umpires is becoming tough, but we get it done for the kids. SLL does many, many tournaments, as I like for us to shine, and we do. The state can always count on us to host. I plan to stay on in 2019.

BN. What do you do as assistant commissioner?

LC. I have been the Assistant State Commissioner for the past 19 years, helping Barry Jordan, who was the State Commissioner for 17 years before passing on to Reggie Hatfield. I stayed on as Assistant and still am. I was offered the top spot, but turned it down due to work and I did not want to give up SLL. Assistants go to tourneys, help recruit other leagues, and offer support to the State Commissioner. Two years ago, I was inducted into the State of Maine Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth Hall of Fame, and 14 years ago, I was inducted into the Casco Rec Hall of Fame.

BN. What do you think you have contributed to youth baseball over the years and what are you most proud of?

LC. I have contributed a lot to many players over the past 27 years, many kids I see around still, and they say, “I know you.” I feel if I did not lead SLL, who would have and where would we be? I feel I know that answer. I see kids move on and go to the World Series in Babe Ruth, and I follow them there too, and offer support in many ways, even driving there. I’m proud of what I have done for all kids. I feel it has helped them to be great role models to their kids now. I’m proud to have managed the 2000 and 2001 State Cal Ripken State champions from Sebago-Long Lake League. My son, Dave, got to experience that. My twin daughters, Laurie and Jan, also played for me on Casco teams. I have lot to be proud of, but seeing our late daughter’s softball field named for her at Ham Complex is the best moment.

BN. What did it mean to you being inducted into the NE Babe Ruth Hall of Fame?

LC. Being inducted into the Babe Ruth Hall of Fame is the highest honor I could receive. I treated it like another day. It’s what I do for the kids, not myself. Awards are great for my grandkids and kids to see, but it’s not what defines me. I will keep doing what I do for the league and all the kids. The board of Babe Ruth recognized me and that is wonderful.

BN. You have spent a lot of time and energy working on the Ham Complex. What lured you to this project (I know the answer, but many of our readers might not), what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done?

LC. The Ham Complex in Bridgton is a much needed, hidden gem of the Lake Region. I got involved as I felt I could help move it along. We got some financial help from some locals, MLB and grants, and fundraisers. The Rec complex has come a long way, with little money trickling in over the years. I feel we have spent close to $1 million. We have four ball fields, one memorial field named after our late daughter Laurie Carter, one memorial field named after Roger and Mary Macdonald, parents of Dan Macdonald from the Macdonald Motors dealership, and one memorial field for Eddie Rolfe, who generously gave us the land on Brag Way to build the sprawling complex. One field is yet to be named. We are seeking that. We have several soccer, and lacrosse fields, and ample green space for many more activities. We have a nice garage, helped generously by Hancock Lumber, to store equipment. We are seeking funds to construct the concession/bathrooms building, designed by Hancock Lumber, and seeking naming rights too. Any help with materials is so much needed. We have had to spend all our money over the past two years on drainage projects, leech field and septic.

I took on the job as general manger five years ago. From the day it opened, I have mowed, raked, pulled weeds, etc., done the work to keep the place operating, and even bought my own tractor as we had nothing there once opened. I do get some help time to time, thanks all, but most is done by myself. I’m sure you all see me there sun up to sun down most weekends, when not raising money with BRAG (Bridgton Recreation Advancement Group) members for this project or running SLL baseball.

I’m always seeking volunteers to help mow or help with other matters. BRAG owns the complex right now, but eventually we will turn it over to the town of Bridgton to maintain and run. This is a much needed, very used, safe complex, that I saw a need for, and many others do also. We sell signs for the ball fields, which have been supported by local companies. If other companies want to support our efforts, reach out to me, please. Plants, trees, bushes are what is needed. Donations are accepted. We are 5013c tax corp. Ways to help monetarily include: one field naming, concession naming, buy a nice memorial bench, or buy a nice granite stone to join the other memorial ones there now. Please support the kids! This complex can be so much more. A walking path is much needed along with basketball and tennis courts, and concert stage for all ages.

Sept. 22 is Fall Festival there. Bring your kids for many activities and a craft fair. Fun for all ages!

 

 

 

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