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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soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Cristhian

    RIP Gary Carter – you were my idol when I was a young kid playing baseball in college point, queens. I wanted to be a catcher like you. I'm now a happy family man with a good career. I hope I made you proud.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • midogs2

      You did, Cristhian. You're smooth. And cool

      February 16, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • peteapayne

      A great player and had a great baseball career. You will be missed Gary.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Coleman

    Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Mookie Wilson...I remember those days. Loved it.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • midogs2

      How 'bout those guys?1 I'm glad the Cubs had Andrea for a few years. You rock, Coleman.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alfredo

    Gary was a great ballplayer but most importantly he was an even better person. Gary will be missed. RIP...

    February 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. JJ

    Truly a great baseball player! Always did things the right way! Thanks Gary and God Bless you and your Family

    February 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gene

      I hated this guy when he played the Astros... But, he was one of the greatest!!! RIP Gary...

      February 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. That Helmet Was Awesome

    That guy was awesome. Every time I see a "plastic" helmet at an amusement park or ice cream being served out of it, I think of Gary Carter's catchers helmet. One of the greatest catcher's ever. Loved that guy.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Patiat

    Part of some supremely talented Expos teams in the early 80s. I always wondered why they never made it to the post-season more than once. What a bunch of talent: Valentine, Cromartie, Dawson, Rogers, Parrish, Carter... Carter was a great player and seemed like a great teammate.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. midogs2

    You were an awesome knockdown artist, Gary. Play catch with god. He would be honored!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. James

    Always one of my favorite players and a classy guy too.rest in peace,gary.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Kenneth Suzuki

    I enjoyed watching him play for the Montreal Expos back in the 1970s. That was a fun team to watch. Andre Dawson, Warren Cromartie, Tim Wallach, Chris Speier, Ellis Valentine, and the great, always smiling Gary Carter.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. sonbo

    RIP KID!! LIke many I'm sure, I have shed a few tears tonight as I watched highlights of Gary Carter's amazing career. Deepest sympathies to the Carter family whose faith, I know , will sustain and comfort them at this time of great sadness.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Socrates

    I am very sorry for his death. He was a great man, a good man.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. DV

    As a Florida videographer in the late 80's I shot interviews with many baseball players for networks and productions from around country and Latin America. Gary always insisted we shoot in his home in Palm Beach Gardens so everyone "would be more comfortable." I can compare him with many other pro sports figures I have dealt with on a professional basis. Without a doubt, none surpassed the class, charisma, manners, and all around persona of Gary Carter. He was truely a humble and gracious man and I will cherish the fond memories of my working visits to his home. The world is better for his presence. God Bless his family.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. BrianKimball

    Gary left kind comments on the homepage of Chewstroke every day...we will really miss him, thank you for 86.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. counterviews

    Gary Carter, a true gentleman and stellar representative of our national pastime, baseball, God Bless You.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. nancy

    Rest in Peace on the Field of Dreams. A great athlete and person. Sympathy to your family on their loss.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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