Baseball great Gary Carter dies after cancer battle
Gary Carter is pictured during his 1986 World Series-winning season with the New York Mets.
February 16th, 2012
05:29 PM ET

Baseball great Gary Carter dies after cancer battle

[Updated at 8:03 p.m. ET] Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who played 19 Major League seasons and won a World Series with the New York Mets in 1986, died Thursday in Florida after battling brain cancer, according to Carter's family and the Hall of Fame.

He was 57.

"He is in heaven and has reunited with his mom and dad," said a message on the family's online journal chronicling Carter's health. "I believe with all my heart that dad had a standing ovation as he walked through the gates of heaven to be with Jesus."

Carter's death comes less than a month after the family announced that more tumors were found on Carter's brain. Carter initially was diagnosed with inoperable brain tumors in May.

Carter, an 11-time All-Star and two-time All-Star Game MVP, batted .262 with 324 home runs and 1,225 runs in a career that began and ended with the Montreal Expos (1974-1984; 1992), who retired his No. 8 in 1993, 10 years before he would be elected to the Hall of Fame.

He also played for the Mets (1985-1989), the San Francisco Giants (1990) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1991). MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said Carter, driven by a remarkable enthusiasm for the game, "became one of the elite catchers of all time."

"'The Kid' was an 11-time All-Star and a durable, consistent slugger for the Montreal Expos and the New York Mets, and he ranks among the most beloved players in the history of both of those franchises," Selig said in a statement released Thursday. "Like all baseball fans, I will always remember his leadership for the '86 Mets and his pivotal role in one of the greatest World Series ever played."

During his first run with the Expos, from 1974 to 1984, he frequently was among the National League's top 20 batters in home runs, slugging percentage and runs batted in, even leading the league in RBI in 1984.

One of his career highlights came in 1986, when Carter was a key part of one of the wildest rallies in World Series history.

With the Mets one out away from losing the series to the Boston Red Sox, who were ahead 5-3 in the bottom of the 10th in Game 6, Carter singled and eventually was driven home with the singles of two teammates.

Later that inning with the score tied - in one of baseball's most memorable moments - the Mets' Mookie Wilson hit a grounder that slipped through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, allowing the Mets' Ray Knight to score the winning run. That improbable victory kept the Mets alive for Game 7, which they won two days later.

Earlier, Carter was a hero of Game 4, hitting two home runs and a double in the Mets' 6-2 win.

Wilson and other baseball stars from Carter's playing days recalled his enthusiasm for the game Thursday.

"The one thing I remember about Gary was his smile," Wilson said in a statement released by the Mets. "He loved life and loved to play the game of baseball."

"No one enjoyed playing the game of baseball more than Gary Carter," pitching great Tom Seaver said through the Mets, one of Seaver's former teams. "He wore his heart on his sleeve every inning he played. He gave you 110% and played the most grueling position on the field and that was something special."

Mets officials said Carter's nickname, "The Kid," captured "how Gary approached life."

"He did everything with enthusiasm and with gusto, on and off the field," said Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon, President Saul Katz and COO Jeff Wilpon in a statement released after Carter's death. "His smile was infectious. He guided our young pitching staff to the World Series title in 1986 and he devoted an equal amount of time and energy raising awareness for a multitude of charities and community causes. He was a Hall of Famer in everything he did."

Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, said Carter's "enthusiasm, giving spirit and infectious smile will always be remembered in Cooperstown," the Hall of Fame's home.

"Our thoughts are with ... the entire Carter family on this very sad day," Clark said.

SI.com: Gary Carter, the light of the Mets

SI.com: Photos of Carter

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Filed under: Baseball • California • Canada • Florida • Montreal • New York • Sports
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Simeon Namore

    We'll never forget 1986. Never. Thank you.

    February 18, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. Larry

    I loved him with the Expos. Great player.

    February 18, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jimbo

    Now, Gary Carter was a role model! So, where is all of the hullabaloo about his death? We can hold up for the world to "admire" and revere a drug self-absorbed, drug addled entertainer, but give only passing mention of one of the greatest baseball players ever – not drug enhanced either – and a true model for youth to mimic and look up to. Let's put all of this in perspective.

    February 18, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Lew

      Really? Really? Why is there a difference in news coverage between Whitney Houston and "Gary Carter"? Is that really a question or are you messing with us.

      February 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. NYCMovieFan

    God speed, Mr. Carter. A class act all the way, and a true role model for sports and life. Thank you for being on the Mets, we will always have you in our hearts.

    February 18, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rocketman

    Maybe they willhaveabig TV extravganza
    funeral like what'sher name. I wonder if they'll fly his homestate flag at half mast? Oh, I forgot, Gary was not a boozing, drug addicted loser like what's her name.

    February 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mytch

    Truly great baseball players such as Gary Carter just don't exist in the game today. Far too much emphasis is placed on money, contracts and those who play for reasons other than the love of the sport. He will be missed greatly. My best wishes to the family.

    February 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. opoT

    Only the good die young. RIP GC.

    February 19, 2012 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. danny

    Yeah this guy was a real role model. He is the one that should have his funeral covered on the front pages. But somehow I don't think that is his style anyway.

    February 19, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    It's too bad that only jocks and celebrities (e.g. Whitney Houston) get such glowing obits. Thousands of regular Joe's die every day, many of them good people, many of them missed terribly by friends and family. I know that their deaths mean nothing to anybody but their families but the lack of proportion between the treatment of the deaths of the Joe's and the Carter's of the world bothers me. Gary Carter's death saddens me just like the death of any regular Joe. Which means that I personally could care less.

    February 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. larry

    Sandy and family I grew up with gary and went to high school with both of you he was a great friend god bless you all

    February 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
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