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"It was different," he said. "When I first started playing basketball in sixth grade, it was really the last time I sat and watched in any sport. But it gave me a lot of perspective. I was happy to be part of the team. To me there's always a chance that you're going to play."
The chance to make significant varsity contributions came the next year, when several Mule guards caught the flu bug in mid-January. He played in parts of six games and saw key minutes in conference wins against Haverford and Swarthmore colleges.
Carter said basketball was the sport in which his multi-tasking hindered him the most. "Basketball is about playing all the time," he noted. "With football, I don't get to run full-court with those guys in the fall when they're playing pickup. When they start practice, they're all ready to go."
Head Coach Bob Macaluso had hoped to have Carter concentrate on playing center field, but the makeup of the team the next spring called for help on the mound. A surprisingly hard left-handed thrower for his size, who was pursued by several Division I schools while in high school, Carter has won seven games on the mound the last two years. In his final start of 2000, he hurled a brilliant one-hitter against Johns Hopkins University, the team with the best batting average in the conference.
Carter entered his senior season as the program's leader in stolen bases and with a shot at breaking the records for hits, runs, doubles and extra-base hits. He has excelled despite a short transition time that was made shorter by the success of the basketball team. In 2001, the hoopsters played in the Centennial Conference championship game the same weekend the baseball team was opening up its season in Virginia.
"I think I adjust to baseball very fast, and I think I have an innate kind of sense for it," said Carter, who began playing the sport when he was 2 or 3 years old, big enough to pick up a bat.
Carter was named to the All-Centennial Conference first team as an outfielder in 2001, becoming the first Muhlenberg athlete to earn first-team honors in football and baseball in the same year.
Carter would not have been able to pull off his multi-sport feats without the cooperation of the three Muhlenberg coaches. "Coach [Dave] Madeira was very accommodating. He is somebody who didn't recruit me out of high school to play basketball. I didn't play my freshman year, and all of a sudden I'm asking him if I can come out and play - come out late and play - as a sophomore. I was very happy that he gave me the opportunity.
"Same thing in baseball. Freshman year I was there from the beginning, and all of a sudden one of your key players is not going to be there in the preseason and might miss a few games at the beginning of the season. Coach Macaluso was very understanding of that. I think Coach [Mike] Donnelly had the least problem with it. I didn't get to do the strength and conditioning program with the football team in the spring, but other than that I was with them."
When Carter hangs up his Mule baseball uniform for the last time in May, he'll have earned 10 varsity letters, competed in more than 200 contests and attended about 500 practices. He'll also have left countless memories and an immeasurable impact on the Muhlenberg athletics program.