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. keb carerra

    It was still a game back then , thanks Gary , so many great memories.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Rick Bercuvitz

    A sad day for all Expos fans. Gary was the best we ever had.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • 86Mets

      This Mets fan agrees.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TownC

    How sad, he was one of the good guys. Farewell!

    February 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Joseph

    One of the greats from my childhood, RIP Gary.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dave R

    A lot of great memories of a real class act.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Ikester

    One of my all-time favorite baseball players....a great player and a great gentleman! Thank you Gary Carter for the good memories and my prayer and thoughts go out to the family!

    February 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. olaf

    The reason I love sports today...Gary`s infectious smile and genuine love of the game. Not much good baseball in Canada in the early 80`s, but Gary was someone I looked up to and in a class of his own. There`ll never be another one even close. Catch`em stealing in heaven Gary. You`ll will be missed

    February 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 86Mets

    Gary was one of THE faces of that remarkable team 25 years ago. Apparently, he could not have been a nicer if he tried. My he rest in peace.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Grateful Canadian

    Love me some Gary Carter. Thanks for everything. Godspeed.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Rizzo

    I am a long time Yankee fan. I was so happy when Gary Carter made the last out in the 2000 WS against the Yankees. I was very nervous because I knew he was a primer hitter and with one swing of the bat could have taken down the Yanks. I always had the upmost respect for Gary. The way he played, he was a role model for kids. RIP man, you were one of my heroes

    February 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Johnny

    Cruel irony that role model Carter is a CNN footnote, when a drug & booze-infested singer, who arguably died by her own hand takes the front page...

    February 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Colazo1948

    A hell of a good player but best of all: A GREAT HUMAN BEIGN.
    Rest in peace Gary, my thoughts and prayers are with your family during these most difficult times.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Juan Carlos Ruiz

    A class act on and off the field.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. CBInMatthews

    I'm not an Expos fan but I am a Gary Carter fan. He was a class act and will be missed. RIP Gary.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Earl

    As a kid growing up in Montreal, I have fond memories of going to The Big O and seeing Gary Carter play ball... His infectious smile will be with me forever. Godspeed. You'll be missed.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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