5 Minutes with Hall of Famer Cris Carter

August 15, 2013 – On Tuesday afternoon, newly-enshrined Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter came to Yankee Stadium for an exclusive tour, a Yankees Magazine interview and the game.

We will be publishing a “5 Minutes with…” Q&A feature with Carter in the October Issue of Yankees Magazine.

Before I sat down with Carter for the interview, we visited Monument Park and the New York Yankees Museum.

On our way to the museum, Carter posed for a few photos in the Stadium’s Great Hall. While we were in the wide expanse, I asked Carter if I could throw a pass to him (with a football that we were using as a photo prop). Without hesitation, Carter began to jog toward the middle of the Great Hall, and I connected with him on a 10-yard completion (see photo below).

I’m proud to say that I threw a pass to a Hall of Fame receiver, even though he wasn’t overly impressed with my ability to toss the pigskin.

“You throw like [Tim] Tebow,” Carter said in reference to the New England Patriots backup quarterback, whose arm-strength has been the source of much criticism.

During our time at the museum, curator Brian Richards gave Carter the opportunity to hold the bat that Babe Ruth used to hit the first home run at the old Yankee Stadium (see photo below).

During his NFL career in which he amassed 1,101 receptions and 130 touchdowns, Carter earned a reputation for making catches that no other receiver could make. Carter made the most difficult grabs with regularity because of he had what football experts called the best hands in the game.

When Carter picked up Ruth’s bat and got into a batting stance, he brought up the subject of his Hall of Fame hands.

“Babe, I’m not sure if you’re watching,” Carter said. “But I promise you that your bat is in good hands.”

After our stop in the museum, we took in batting practice from the field. During BP, Carter visited with several Yankees players including Derek Jeter. Carter spoke with Jeter at length. In the conversation, the Yankees captain congratulated Carter on his Hall of Fame induction. Carter responded with some flattering words about Jeter.

“You play the game the right way,” Carter said. “You represent the Yankees with so much class, and I’m proud just to know you. You really are one of the all-time greats.”

After the conversation, Jeter, who is from Michigan and is a loyal supporter of the University of Michigan Wolverines, walked toward the dugout. As Jeter was walking away, Carter, an Ohio native and a former Ohio State University Buckeye, stoked the great college football rivalry.

“You better watch out during the last weekend of November,” Carter shouted with a smile. “We’re coming after the Wolverines, and we’re going to be undefeated.”

Without slowing down, Jeter looked over his shoulder and hit Carter with a quick but effective comeback.

“Stay humble, buddy,” the captain said.

The former wide receiver began to laugh.

“He’s one cool guy,” Carter said. “What else can you say?”

As for Carter, he had a plenty more to say. In the interview, which took place in my office after batting practice (see photo below of Carter, my wife Tiana and I), the former Minnesota Viking spoke about his struggles to overcome substance abuse, his great career and his afternoon at the Stadium.

“When I have grandchildren, I will tell them that I held Babe Ruth’s bat on the same day that I met Derek Jeter,” Carter said. “You really can’t top that.”

–Alfred Santasiere III

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