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. davetharave

    They don't make 'em like Gary Carter any more. 'The Kid', now up there with all the greats, playing on the Field of Dreams . . . . we'll never forget.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. eyeris625

    Sad and much too young. R.I.P

    February 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. eman92082

    Sad as I get older to see the great ones pass. RIP Gary Carter. You were a class act. Jeez 57 isn't that old......

    February 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greenaxe

    Gary will always remain "forever young" in my mind

    February 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The truth

    Damn. Rest In Peace

    February 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GNP

    You were a class act Gary Carter, and gave us many years of great baseball. Today the world has lost a great sports figure. R.I.P. Gary Carter. We will never forget you. Thank you.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dave

    A true professional, father, husband and christian.. :) thank you Gary

    February 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Robb1371

    You have no idea.....how much the Expos would of s@ucked without the "Kid".....RIP Mr.Carter.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tom

    RIP Gary. A class guy, a legend on the field. If your kid was a ball player, you'd want him to be Carter or Tony Gwynn.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Greg B

    Gary, you'll be remembered for the way you conducted yourself as much as how you played. You were a class act, a true gentleman, a role model. It's a shame your passing gets a small teaser headline compared to the never-ending onslaught of garbage about the passing of a drug addict.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom jersey

    As a lifelong Yankee fan, hated the Mets of the 80's, but couldn't help but admire Gary Carter. great class ballplayer. Left us way too young. RIP

    February 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy ©

    My sympathy to the family and friends of Gary Carter.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ClassAct

    A legend of the game who will always be remembered as not only a great catcher, but a tremendous teammate and a class act. RIP Gary.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Occupy Wall Street for Senate 2016

    I sympathize with anyone dying from brain cancer, but let's be honest.

    This guy didn't deserve an induction into the Hall of Fame.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reilleyfam

      Untrue. His leadership skills held that 86 Mets team together. More to HOF than just raw stats.

      February 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom jersey

      Have to disagree. Criteria is different for catchers, who rarely put up numbers like Carter did. Best offensive catcher of his era. As a catcher, numbers were phenominal. Great clutch hitter. Could carry a franchise. Hall of Fame for him is a no brainer.

      February 16, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      He carried the weight a whole team for years... He deserves, not only Hall of Fame, but a bloody bronze statue in my book...

      February 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      * of a whole team...

      February 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sal

      Your obviously too young to know what he accomplished.

      February 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Reilleyfam

    And yet Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden live on. So much for healthy living.

    RIP GC, you were one of the good guys.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
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