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. Scott

    I didn't know him, but I grew up watching and following his career. I could not sleep last night on this sad news becuase he was not only a great baseball player, he was a great person and the world was a better place for him being here. RIP Mr. Carter and God bless.

    February 17, 2012 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
    • billcurry777

      Ron Paul for US President in 2012
      Only Presidential candidates which lives, talks and Walks like Ordinary Americans
      Others live like Corporate crooks and walk and talk like corporate crooks
      ONLY solution for the problems of 99% Americans: Ron Paul

      February 17, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy Van Nostrand

      Oh my lord don't spit political rhetoric on here you POS

      February 17, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      This is so NOT the place for political agenda's get off here! R.I.P. Gary Carter...prayers to your family and friends.

      February 17, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. MCR

    Gary Carter led the Mets to their last World Championship, too long ago in 1986. He gave the game his all and was a leader on the field, but was a gentleman off the field and always an inspiration. If you're looking for an athlete role model, he was it. RIP.

    February 17, 2012 at 5:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. Leonard

    He was my favorite player as a kid. I will never forget running around our sandlot near the house in a white t-shirt with the number eight and Carter written on the back. Later I would respect more than just his playing as I would hear about his love for Christ and his efforts to show others that love. Mr. Carter you will be missed by all of us but I know that you are with God.

    February 17, 2012 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Gilbert

      Beauitful message Leonard.....pure.

      February 17, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dan

    RIP Gary.

    February 17, 2012 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Thanks man

      February 17, 2012 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. enzo

    A good man and a great player! Montreal loves you!!! RIP

    February 17, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. augustghost

    You never know when your last day on earth will be....so many leave us too young...make the most of every day

    February 17, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. maine liberal

    For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

    Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    February 17, 2012 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Madchadley

    Absolute class act, both on and off the field. My prayers are with his family as their mourn the loss of such a wonderful man.

    February 17, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dr. Andrew Mossberg

    I met him a few years ago – classy guy, friendly, knowledgable. He signed a baseball for my son. RIP

    February 17, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Daniel

    My lbrother and I started to play the game because of him. I was the catcher he was the pitcher. We had some great time playing baseball with a passion like Gary Carter did. He was like we say DAAAA MAN ! Hey little Bro you got your catcher up there with you now. You guys take care okay ... I love you both !

    Thanks Gary for all those memories.

    February 17, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. DeeMcD

    RIP Gary Carter...You loved the game. Now be at peace in Heaven. Hope my brother gets to meet his favorite Mets player! God bless your family and may He help heal their hearts.

    February 17, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. CheBravo!

    Sad to see you go so soon Gary. It was great watching you play. You had great passion and integrity for the game. 86' Mets Forever!

    February 17, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Always a fan

    Gary Carter was and still is a great player. I'll never forget watching the 86 Mets win the World Series. Through out his time with the team he was a joy to watch. He will be missed. Rest in Peace Gary Carter.

    February 17, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. AranaNegra

    I never was and I never will be a Mets fan but I will always respect Gary Carter for his work ethics, his commitment to play the game the way it should be play and the amazing human being he was. Rest in Peace Gary Carter.

    February 17, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. Fred

    Man this sucks. Gary Carter was a great player.

    February 17, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
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