Gary Carter immortalized on the arm of Joe Forget

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By: Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

MONTREAL -- Joe Forget was too young to go and see Gary Carter play. He was four when the Kid retired late in the 1992 season.

That didn’t stop Forget from growing up and admiring the Montreal Expos’ catching great. He even got to meet Carter several times because his mother Nathalie worked in sales and marketing with the Expos for many years until the team was shifted to Washington following the 2004 season.

The suburban Montreal resident studied videos, came across numerous photographs, looked up Carter’s bios and statistics and anything else on the internet to draw a snapshot of who became one of his all-time favourite Expos.

“I learned so much about him. I did so much research and did so many searches of him,’’ Forget said in an interview.

To make that snapshot even more terrific, Forget commissioned Guy Hains of Burning Monk Tattoo in Montreal to draw an inspiring image on his right arm of Carter in a crouch with full gear on. It’s a real-likeness that took 25 hours of painstaking work. Imagine this love for a baseball player, a Cooperstown and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, who lost his life to a brain tumour more than four years ago.

“Gary was passionate about the game. I admired his determination,’’ Forget said. “When he was playing, it wasn’t any half step with him. He was doing it all. You could see it in his eyes. It wasn’t a job for him. That was Gary Carter on the baseball field.

“Every time the lights came on, he was there, if it was after a big loss, for charity events, for television commercials, with clutch hits in big games. He always rose to the occasion.’’

The tattoo doesn’t just end with an image of Carter. The entire arm down to his wrist will gradually be transformed into a tribute to the Expos. We ran into Forget and the partial tattoo at the recent Exposfest attended by about 2,000 people at Place Centre Ville.

“It will be about 40 hours of work over all on the tattoo which is about the entire story of the Expos,’’ Forget said. “The main part is Gary Carter. Olympic Stadium will be on it, there will be Pedro Martinez pitching, Tim Raines stealing a base and Vladimir Guerrero at bat. It’s going to be great. Guy is a perfectionist.’’

Forget delivers newspapers for a living in Montreal for the Globe and Mail, Le Journal de Montréal and Montreal Gazette but his true passion is baseball.

“There’s nothing else on earth like baseball,’’ he said.

In the tattoo, it’s Carter, Forget and Hains transformed into one.

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Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com