Gary Carter famously abstained from using profanity on the ballfield, a fact that was oft repeated in many obituaries when the Hall of Fame catcher died of cancer in February.
It's really cool, then, to hear that Carter is now being credited for the genesis of one of obscenity's best euphemisms. In adding the word "F-bomb" to its dictionary this week, the folks at Merriam-Webster said the former Mets and Expos catcher was the source of its first known public utterance almost 25 years ago.
And, no, this is not an Onion article.
Kory Stamper, an associate editor for Merriam-Webster, said she and her fellow word spies at the Massachusetts company traced it back to 1988, in a Newsday story that had the now-dead Mets catcher Gary Carter talking about how he had given them up, along with other profanities.
But the word didn't really take off until the late '90s, after Bobby Knight went heavy on the F-bombs during a locker room tirade.
Carter rarely uses profanity, so he was taken aback when umpire Greg Bonin leveled some on him in the seventh inning Monday night in Pittsburgh. Carter was called out on strikes and told Bonin he thought the pitch was outside. "He started cursing me and said I accused him of being a liar," Carter said. "After he started cursing, I walked away and I said, 'Why are you cursing at me?' He said, 'I talk like that.' I said, 'OK, guttermouth.' " Carter said he has been thrown out only twice in the majors, both times by Eric Gregg. "That was when I used to use the F-bomb."
On the list of posthumous additions to a legacy, this really has to rank among the weirdest.
And given the way Carter conducted himself during his life, it's also one of the best. Carter may not have coined the term, but save for Mr. Rogers or Miss Manners there probably isn't a more appropriate face for the person who started its popularity. Attaboy, Kid.
Big BLS H/N: @robneyer
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