"In the beginning," says Kaplan. "Carter used to come out in denim cut-offs, black socks and tennis shoes. But we soon found out that the black socks were just a reflection of his taste in clothes, not his ability. He's very competitive, of course, so what started out to be a friendly game quickly became deadly serious. In the very first game we ever played, Carter's team jumped out to something like a 10-0 lead in the first inning. As we were walking off the field I passed him on his way to the pitcher's mound. He looked at me, smiled and said, 'What's the score. Rick?" Another time I hit four home runs off him in one game. Later he walked up to me and said, 'I just want you to know I let you hit the home runs because your family was watching.' "
"He was his team's self-appointed captain," says Curtis Wilkie, White House correspondent for The Boston Globe, "and he took it all very seriously. He's a pretty damned good player; he always knew immediately which base to throw to to make a force play.
"One time I was playing third base on Carter's team," adds Wilkie, "and someone hit a pop fly in my direction. It was well out of my range, but I gave it a little chase anyway. When I got back to third base, he was standing there staring at me, and he said, 'You should have had that one, Curtis.' I never knew for sure whether he was serious or not."
Kaplan, however, entertains no such doubts. "Carter really is a hell of an athlete," he says admiringly. "And he plays for keeps."