IT'S OCTOBER, WHICH means it's time for the endless replays of Joe Carter jumping for joy after his World Series--winning home run for the Blue Jays in Game 6 in 1993, which is never far from his mind. "You're the first person to talk to me about it today," Carter, 55, said recently. "But that's probably because you're the first person who's talked to me today."
Not that Carter ever tires of discussing what is still only the second Series-clinching walk-off homer. "But I do tell people," he adds, "'You know, I hit more than one home run.'" Indeed, Carter, a five-time All-Star hit 396 homers during a six-team career that lasted from 1983 to '98, and he led the majors in RBIs during those years with 1,445.
After retiring, Carter was a broadcaster for two years with the Blue Jays and then for two more with the Cubs, the team he reached the majors with, before being let go after the 2002 season. He returned to Leawood, Kans., where he has lived for 29 years, to spend time with his family: wife, Diana, a native of Kansas City, Kans.; and his children, daughters Kia, 33, and Ebony, 31, and son Jordan, 25. "The best advice I ever got was from Bobby Bonds," says Carter of his retirement plans: "'Be in a position to say no.'"
One thing Carter, who made an estimated $47 million in his playing career, has said yes to is hosting the Joe Carter Classic, a golf tournament he's held in Toronto since 2010 that benefits the Children's Aid Foundation. Among the recent participants was former teammate Dave Stewart, who after becoming the Diamondbacks' general manager last fall offered Carter a job as a special assistant.
Carter, who worked from home, spent his first year back in baseball doing a little of everything, including on-field spring training instruction and predraft scouting.
Carter has no desire to be a manager or a GM—"It's tough when you've gotta release someone or fire someone," he says. "That's not for me." He prefers focusing on the more enjoyable parts of the game, especially that long ago night in Toronto. "There's never been a downside to it," he says. "I am very fortunate to have those memories."
"The only thing I had a problem with was: All that my career got me when it came time for the Hall of Fame was 19 votes. It's almost like they forgot what I did."
+ On his being dropped off the ballot for Cooperstown in 2004, his first year of eligibility
"He says, 'Oh, man, this is just what I need. Everybody looks like Joe Carter.'"
+ On the reaction of former Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams, who served up Carter's title-winning homer in 1993, when he saw the ex-slugger's family at the Carter Classic one year
JOHN IACONO FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (HOME RUN)