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March 2, 2024

Photos of Karen Carpenter Playing Baseball for a Charity Event, 1973

Grammy Award-winning singer and accomplished drummer Karen Carpenter takes a mighty cut in these photos from a charity softball game at Roosevelt Park in Edison on July 19, 1973.

She, as starting pitcher, and her brother, Richard, led a celebrity team against a media team from New York and New Jersey to raise funds for the Middlesex County Cancer Society. According to a July 20, 1973, Star-Ledger article by Mike Ascolese, no official score was kept “but the final was rumored to be Carpenters 17, Media 5.”

The media team featured radio personalities Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow and Murray “The K” Kaufman and ex-Yankees pitcher and author Jim Bouton. Geraldo Rivera, then with ABC-TV, also participated, and was put out at first on a play by then-gubernatorial candidate Brendan Byrne.

Richard and Karen Carpenter, who were performing at the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel that summer, were national co-chairmen of the National Cancer Society Fund Drive in 1973. The charity game in Edison raised nearly $8,000 for the local chapter, including a $5,000 donation from the Carpenters.

Karen Carpenter died suddenly in 1983 at the age of 32 from heart failure resulting from anorexia nervosa, a disorder for which she had sought therapy but which was not widely known or understood at the time.


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