Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reported that new Bisons manager Wally Backman, will wear uniform No. 8 to honor former teammate Gary Carter who passed away yesterday. He made the announcement during a team cermenony where he was being formally introduced as Buffalo’s new skipper for the 2012 season.
The longtime former Mets second baseman, wore his heart on his sleeve Thursday night — and said he will wear it on his back next season — in the wake of the news of the death of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter.
“It’s for Gary,” Backman said. “Gary was … If I had an idol as a player I played with, Gary would definitely be one of them. Without question. In remembering Gary, I’m going to wear 8 until somebody tells me I can’t wear it.”
Backman told plenty of Carter stories to the couple hundred fans in the Hyatt Regency’s Grand Ballroom and more to a group of reporters afterward.
“Gary was like a big brother to me,” Backman said. “I’m happy that was I able to spend a half-hour with him three weeks ago, a great conversation at his golf tournament [in Florida]. My memories will always be good about Gary.”
* * * * *
The Bisons also confirmed that Mark Brewer will be Buffalo’s pitching coach in 2012 and George Greer will be the hitting coach. Brewer was in the Rookie League last year but has Triple-A experience with the Mets in New Orleans; Greer was at Kingsport of the Appalachian League in 2011 and has previous experience of 23 years as a college head coach, including 17 at Wake Forest.