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. jojo

    I wonder if CNN will cover this funeral as well?

    February 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      A real MODEL for kids... Not some vacant, self absorbed drug addict...

      February 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimbo

      My sentiments exactly, and already expressed in my comments on this page. No BBs an JJs welcomed.

      February 18, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. scranton

    Condolences to the family. Gary was a great person and a great ball player, way too young to go.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe S

    A gentleman and a real athlete.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. green

    a true gentleman, Montreal considered him their own, RIP.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    "The Kid" was my all-time favorite player. I had the great fortune to meet him when I was 11 years old in a baseball card shop in upstate NY. Although the store was closing as we arrived, Mr. Carter insisted the store open it's doors and happily and enthusiastically spent extra time signing autographs and taking pictures with me and my family. My heart hurts today.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dxdff

    RIP Gary. You wont be forgotten.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. w2lucky

    God Bless the Kid and his family. That guy brought many great baseball memories into the home of this Mets fan.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. us1776

    So sorry Kimmy.

    I used to watch your dad play all the time. Great catcher.

    R.I.P. Gary

    .

    February 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gone too soon

    He was a great player and an even more outstanding man. Prayers go out to his family.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. upstate-ny

    A well deserved Hall of Famer, a Mets catcher, he was a person kids could look up to. I had the pleasure of meetng him and he was a true gentlemen. It wasn't an act he was true through and through. May God rest his soul and may his family who knew him better than anyone may they find somehow find peace that he is not suffering anymore. I am so deeply saddened by this and I really didn't even KNOW him.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mikeybklyn

    In tears in Florida-RIP KID!

    February 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. RW

    RIP, Kid.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ivanhoe

    He was a character to look up to on a '86 Mets team that had characterless players – future Hall of Fame druggies and steriod users. He was the only one of prestige to look up to – glad he finally won a ring.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    I have to write this. I met Gary at a charity event about two years ago and was stunned by how down to earth and genuine a person he was. He gave of himself readily. At this event other athletes at the dinner stayed in their own group but not Gary. He sat right with the crowd and howled with laughter at the festivities. He also became emotional by the stories of sick children. He was real and genuine. May God rest his soul. He restored my faith in the goodness of celebrities.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. paul

    rest in peace, kind sir.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
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