Sponsors are being sought for a November health fair named in honor of a former Topekan who made his mark in the minor leagues of professional baseball more than 50 years ago.
The event will offer screenings including eye testing, hearing testing, dental examinations, cardiac testing, blood pressure checks, nerve checks and diabetic testing.
In addition to providing the various health screenings, organizers said the event is designed to introduce the Gil Carter Initiative to the community.
According to its website, the organization’s mission is to enhance the “development, dignity and quality” of lives of people in the community, focusing on economically challenged children and young adults.
Carter was inducted in July 2015 into the Shawnee County Baseball Hall of Fame.
He also was awarded the Pride of Kansas Award from the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Carter’s greatest claim to fame came on Aug. 11, 1959, while playing for the Carlsbad Potashers, a Class D Sophomore League team, when he hit a home run that was reported to have traveled 733 feet on Aug. 11, 1959. It is considered the longest home run ever hit in professional baseball.
Carter went on to the lead the Sophomore League that season with 34 home runs. In 1960, he was named to the Northern League All-Star team. Carter finished with a .264 batting average, with 72 homers and 266 RBIs, in 296 minor-league games.
The Potashers were part of the Chicago Cubs organization. Carter had been scouted and signed by legendary Buck O’Neil.
After playing professionally, Carter moved to Wichita and played on the semi-pro circuit. He was a standout outfielder for the Wichita Rapid Transit Dreamliners, helping them to national semi-pro championships in 1962 and ’63. He was named an All-American by the National Baseball Congress and was also named to the Wichita Eagle’s dream team of all-time NBC greats.
Carter, who also participated in football, boxing and softball, returned to Topeka in 2000 after living in Wichita for 39 years. Throughout retirement, Carter was involved with Topeka youths, serving in that capacity for the Topeka YMCA.
He was a graduate of Topeka High School.
For more information about the health fair, call (785) 260-9195 or visit www.gcarterinitiative.org.