< Previous Page
Carter homered twice over the Green Monster at Fenway Park in Game 4 and totaled nine RBIs in that Series. Since then, only two players have gotten more in a World Series (Mike Napoli for Texas in 2011 and Sandy Alomar Jr. for Cleveland in 1997 each had 10).
Overall, Carter hit .262 with 324 home runs and 1,225 RBIs with the Expos, Mets, San Francisco and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He set the major league record for putouts by a catcher, a testament to his durability despite nine knee operations.
"Driven by a remarkable enthusiasm for the game, Gary Carter became one of the elite catchers of all-time," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "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."
Carter twice was the MVP of the All-Star game. He won the award in 1981 by homering twice in baseball’s first game after a players’ strike that lasted two months. He remains the lone player to have a two-homer performance in an All-Star game and a World Series game.
Carter also set the NL record for games caught.
"I relied on Gary for everything when I was on the mound, including location, what pitch to throw and when. Even when I didn’t have my best stuff, he found a way to get me through the game. He was just a warrior on the field," former Mets ace Dwight Gooden said.
Carter, however, spent his first full season in the majors primarily as Montreal’s right fielder. His first All-Star appearance came that year, in 1975, as a defensive replacement in left field for Pete Rose.
Carter was recognized, too, for his contributions off the field when he was honored with the Roberto Clemente Award.
"Gary Carter was everything you wanted in a sports hero: a great talent, a great competitor, a great family man, and a great friend," former Mets pitcher Ron Darling said.
Carter hit his first major league homer in September 1974 off future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton as a 20-year-old rookie — Carter homered 11 times against the ace lefty, his top victim.
Carter spent his first 11 years with the Expos and was part of a solid core that put them into the 1981 playoffs. They beat the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies in a new first round created after the strike split the season into two halves, but lost to the Dodgers in the NL championship series.
"Learning of Gary’s passing feels as if I just lost a family member," former Expos pitcher Steve Rogers said. "Gary and I grew up together in the game, and during our time with the Expos we were as close as brothers, if not closer. Gary was a champion. He was a ‘gamer’ in every sense of the word — on the field and in life. He made everyone else around him better, and he made me a better pitcher."
A perennial fan favorite, Carter returned to Montreal in 1992 for one final season. His last swing was a memorable one — he hit an RBI double in the seventh inning at Olympic Stadium, left for a pinch-runner to a huge ovation from the home crowd and walked away after that 1-0 win over the Cubs.
Carter was elected to the Hall in 2003 on his sixth try. He had joked that he wanted his Cooperstown cap to be a half-and-halfer, split between the Expos and Mets. The Hall makes the ultimate call on the logo.
Carter pleased Canadian fans by delivering part of his induction speech in French. Born and raised in California, he took a Berlitz course to help him learn the language after the Expos drafted him.
"It’s nice to know that even though my body feels like an old man now, I will always be a kid at heart," Carter said on his election.
The Expos traded him to the Mets after the 1984 season for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans. Carter turned out to be one of the last missing pieces on a New York team that already had the likes of Strawberry, Gooden and Keith Hernandez.
He made an immediate impression — it just took a little extra to get it right in his Mets debut in 1985. In the season opener at Shea Stadium, Carter took strike three, had a passed ball that gave St. Louis a run and watched Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar steal a base against him.
But in the bottom of the 10th inning, Carter hit a home run that won the game and drew a standing ovation plus chants of "Gary! Gary! Gary!"
"What a way to start," Carter said with a grin afterward. "Hit by a pitch, strike out looking, a stolen base, a passed ball and then the home run."
"There’s not enough words to describe what it feels like," he said. "I’ll certainly remember this the rest of my life."Next Page >
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.