Gary Carter, who will be remembered as perhaps the greatest catcher of the 1980s, has lost his battle with brain cancer. The Hall of Famer who’s career spanned 19 seasons with four different teams (Mets, Expos, Dodgers and Giants) was 57 years old.
The image you see above of is how many of us will prefer to remember him, rushing to greet reliever Jesse Orosco after the Mets won the deciding Game 7 of the 1986 World Series. Carter’s numbers for that series (.276 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI) were solid, not spectacular, but there’s no way the Mets win that World Series without him. Both of his home runs came in Game 4, helping lead New York to a 6-2 win and a 2-2 series tie.
With the Mets down to their final out in the 10th inning of Game 6, trailing 5-3 in the game and 3-2 in the series, it was Carter’s line drive single to left field that began turning the tide that would lead to one of the most memorable World Series endings ever. His steady defensive play behind the plate and veteran leadership in the clubhouse in his 12th season helped guide the Mets to their first World Series title since 1969.
Carter will be remembered for being the premier offensive catcher of his generation. From 1977-1987, he hit more than 20 home runs in every season but two, driving in more than 100 runs four times in that span. He was the first player ever to go into the Hall of Fame as a member of the Montreal Expos, who along with the Mets retired his number 8.
Carter was as much of a warrior off the field as he was on it. MLB.com reports that doctors found inoperable tumors on his brain last May, with more tumors being discovered last month. He was so determined to someday accomplish his goal of managing the New York Mets that he managed in the minor leagues and coached at Division II Palm Beach Atlantic University, hoping to hone his skills to become as much of a legend in the dugout as he was on the field.
Gary Carter is survived by his wife Sandy, his daughters Christy, Kimmy and D.J., and several grandchildren. He dies having left a mark on the game he loved and many more indelible memories in the hearts of the fans who adored him.
Photo courtesy of The Gothamist