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. Chaz

    Aw :(

    February 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Rob

    R.I.P The kid... Thanks.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Dennis

    My condolences to the entire family of the great Gary Carter. His life touched so many of ours in a positive way.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Kc

    Great player and man!! He will be missed! RIP

    February 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. tony

    genuinely nice guy....very sad.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. crusty

    we all die – another one down, 7 million to go.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sanity

      A crass comment from a fool who seems to think there are only 7 million people alive.

      February 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Populationboy

      7 million? Time for a new almanac.

      February 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rosie

    THE KID!! We loved you as an Expo old man. I still remember the home run you hit in the playoffs against the Phillies. RIP.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. jacques thibaudeau

    Salut Gary,
    repose en paix.
    Jacques

    February 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. flashtrum

    He was great on Different Strokes.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. gary

    Wow... Everyone I know has or knows someone who cancer... Every time I get a sore throat I convince myself I have the big C. RIP Gary

    February 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mark

    First!

    No really – GC was as clutch as they get. He left the Expos for the Mets after 5 straight 2nd palce finishes. I knew too as he later stated that he was not going to be the last out of the WS. How satisfying that must have been for him at that level. God speed Gary.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Philip

    Rest in peace sir. You will be missed.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Gary Brown

    Gary Carter was an admirable man on and off the field - a standout baseball player and a stand-up guy. Peace and God's blessings to his family.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. MRmedicinebox

    Man I remember him from when I was a kid and when he played on the Expos.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. glu

    This is sad, especially for only 57, RIP GC

    February 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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