Three former greats into Carson High football hall
Three generations of Carson High’s finest will be the latest inductees into the school’s Football Hall of Fame.
Mert Baxter, a 1948 Carson graduate, who went on to become a brigadier general, will be making his third trip into a hall of fame. Baxter was also inducted into the University of Nevada Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Hall of Fame in 1996.
Baxter will be joined by John Gamble, a 1966 CHS graduate, who made it to the Major Leagues with the Detroit Tigers, and 1975 CHS graduate Ed Yuill. All three will be honored during the eighth annual Carson Football Boosters Kickoff Dinner on Saturday at Adele’s
Baxter was actually known as a better basketball player than football player. At Carson, Baxter was the best player in the state in basketball and was also an all-state performer in football as an end on offense and defense.
When he attended Carson, the school had just 150 students and his graduating class had just 38 students.
“My time in Carson was wonderful,” said Baxter, who now lives in Reno. “It was a great place to grow up in those days.”
Baxter went to Nevada on a basketball scholarship, but was recruited to play football as well. He was Nevada’s leading scorer on the basketball team for three years.
At Nevada, Baxter played under Jake Lawlor. “He was one of the greatest people I’ve ever known in my life,” Baxter said. “He did it all. He was just a wonderful man.”
Baxter played varsity football for Nevada in 1949, 1952 and 1953. He took one semester off to make extra money and didn’t play in 1950 and the program was dropped in 1951 when the state legislature cut its funding. Nevada played just four games in football in 1952 and 1953, but that didn’t stop Baxter from being named to the all-small schools West Coast team in 1953 as an end. He also played safety and tailback at Nevada and lettered in track.
He was commissioned as an officer into the Army when he graduated from Nevada in 1954 and rose to the rank of brigadier general before retiring in 1990. Baxter served all over the world, including in Vietnam. He’s also been married to his wife, Gwuen, for 51 years.
Baxter said he owes his success to his time at Carson. “If it wasn’t for football and basketball, I would not have gone to college,” he said. “I probably would have become an officer. A lot of good things that happened to me wouldn’t have happened to me.”
Gamble was a two-time all-state performer in football as a running back and defensive back and also played quarterback. He was also a three-time all-state baseball player.
He was drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school and played 11 years of professional ball. While his time was limited, he still made it to the big leagues with the Tigers in 1972 and 1973 and played with the likes of Al Kaline, Norm Cash and Bill Freehan and also played in places like Yankee Stadium.
“It was just a real rush,” said Gamble, who lives in Reno and works for the Washoe County Parks and Recreation Department.
Gamble also said Carson was a “super place to grow up. It was a neat town. I still love Carson.”
Yuill played for Carson’s varsity football team from 1972-74 and was an all-state performer for the Senators in 1974. He played quarterback, fullback and linebacker. He was also an all-conference baseball player.
He went on to play for Shasta (Calif.) Community College where he played linebacker, tight end and running back.
Yuill, who lives in Reno and is vice president of the Ribeiro land management and development corporation, said he has fond memories of Carson.
“They’re all great when you’re playing sports,” said Yuill about his memories. “The relationships and the friendships. Those are the best memories.”
The Kickoff Dinner will begin with cocktails at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6. Live music will be presented by “Brother Dan” Palmer.
Drawing prizes and a silent auction will be featured. Included will be an autographed Joe Montana football.
There are a limited number of tickets available for $25. For more information, call Dennis Binder, 883-8030 or Susie Messina, 841-0384.