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. Gary Carter, the light of the Mets Photos of Carter

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Filed under: Baseball • California • Canada • Florida • Montreal • New York • Sports
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. EoC

    A much greater tragedy than the death of another drug addled, booze hound singer. This guy was a class act. Surprised CNN even took the time to mention it. Let's see some retrospective on the life of Gary Carter. A significantly greater loss to the world than Whitney Houston.

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

      Agreed %100!!! What a role model this guy was, and is.

      February 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Very well said! And about time somebody said it!

      February 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jocq

      The Kid was excellent with bunts but thats a foul blunt.

      February 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • hecep

      Very classy of you, EoC, to leverage off the Carter family's woes in order to hatefully vent off about Whitney Houston. Very classy.

      February 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • organically

      October 27, 1986, one of the greatest nights in sports history

      February 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2Bad1

      Please, one is not more important than the other, and I'm not to sure that he didnt get it from another form of drug. Chewing Tabacoo!

      February 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. EastCoastMike

    Huge loss. He was a classy guy and a great leader. He was one of the good guys.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Appreciator of Excellence

    Truly = One Of A Kind. Non-stop excellence – wonderful / loving demeanor. The athletes of today should look at Gary as the example – for all of them. LOVED YOU!

    February 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    So I'm going to assume now that the state of NY will fly their flags at half staff in his honor?

    February 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Pernis

      Hoping Montreal gives him the same respect.

      February 16, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sal

      The already have lowered their flags. He was also mentioned by a canadian politician in the parliament.

      February 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    Sad day. but he had a great life.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Blackbird

    Remember you from your Expo's days Gary. Reminder how fleeting life can be and never to take it for granted.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sue

    We saw him play many times at the Big O, and he signed autographs for kids hours at a time, baseball has lost one of
    it's greats!

    February 16, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe S

    Lets see: no drug arrests, no wife beating, a team leader, a role model and a gentleman. CCant belive he was a professional athlete.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Roy Johnson

    I am a Yankee at heart but I cheer for all N.Y. Teams. Go ahead and hit another one. Have a safe trip.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hecep

    In the sorry world of sports bling, narcissism, and ego-mania, Gary was an oasis of class. Rest in peace, Kid.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark J

    Sad day not only for his family or Baseball as a whole but, for the country as well. This was a good man.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    The Kid was the reason I entered baseball and led to the life-long love of the game. He was a great sport and inspiration to many, esp. the often undervalued catcher. A friend saw Carter in NY and stated, when he bounced a throw to second, a fan yelled "Next time hit the cut-off man." Carter smiled and shrugged.

    He'll be missed by many.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. generalissimo

    Montreal Expo fan since the 1960s. All of us are in shock and mourning for our best-loved player ever. He won't be forgotten! Adieu Gary on t'aimait beaucoup.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. easterbaby

    Many years ago I was working for Bellsouth. I was working in front of Gary's house in a hole in the ground splicing a cable. The hole was filled with water and mud. Gary came out of his house and inquired about my activities. I explained I was working a job to provide additional telephones lines into his house. He thanked me and shook my hand. I must remind you I was wet and covered in mud, but he did not hesitate to shake my hand. I was always a fan, but on that day I met the real Gary Carter, a fine gentleman who treated everyone well. RIP, Mr.Carter, you will be missed.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dan

    I agree. Flags should be at half mast for Gary Carter before Whitney Houston.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
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