Catcher Gary Carter of the New York Mets tags out Jim Rice of the Boston Red Sox during game 7 of the 1986 World Series at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. The Mets won the series 4-3. (Photo by T.G. Higgins/Getty Images)

Hall Of Famer Gary Carter Dead At 57

The former Expos and Mets catcher, who was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 2003, has passed away.

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How Great Was Gary Carter?

It took Gary Carter six years to get into the Hall of Fame. Was he a borderline candidate, or did the voters just take a while to recognize his greatness?


Jeff Pearlman: Not Everybody Loved Gary Carter

So there's something that very few of Gary Carter's eulogists have been willing to mention ... Carter wasn't unanimously beloved by his teammates. But Jeff Pearlman -- who wrote a book about the '86 Mets -- is usually willing to mention just about anything. Pearlman (via The Wall Street Journal):

Baseball clubhouses are much like junior high lunchrooms, in that the cool kids divide themselves from the un-cool; the studs distance themselves from the geeks.

In the oft-ignorant, oft-shallow world of baseball, Carter was deemed a geek from the very beginning. He didn't drink and didn't smoke. He didn't curse and he didn't talk smack. He showed up to work early, played hard, embraced home-plate collisions and—by all accounts—worked his tail off. He was loyal to his wife, Sandy, and an involved and dedicated father to their three children.

Yet this was rarely good enough for teammates. In Montreal, where Carter established himself as a star from 1974-84, he was derisively tagged "Teeth," "Lights" and "Camera Carter" for his apparent love of the spotlight and his willingness to grant any and every interview request. Such behavior didn't sit well with many of the Expos, who mocked him (cowardly, Carter would later tell me) behind his back and made him the butt of their juvenile jokes. Why, Carter's famous nickname—The Kid—was born of neither love nor appreciation, but scorn.

Pearlman tends to overstate his cases, just a little. But if you want the full picture of Carter's career, you really need to read about the people who didn't love him, too.


Gary Carter Dies: Obituaries From New York, Montreal

The news about Gary Carter's health had long been grim, so it wasn't a surprise that shortly after he passed, there were several thoughtful and well-written tributes and obituaries that were published quickly. The New York Times has two, starting with the more standard obituary

Carter, at 38, reflected on being known as the perennial Kid.

"Everybody calls me that," he told The Times. "Even our rookie catcher, Tim Laker, calls me that. I got that nickname my first spring training camp with the Expos in 1974. Tim Foli, Ken Singleton and Mike Jorgensen started calling me Kid because I was trying to win every sprint. I was trying to hit every pitch out of the park."

… and following with a touching piece that recounted one of his last public appearances:

Among those in attendance were several teammates from his Mets days, including Tim Teufel, now the Mets’ third-base coach, who described how Carter gave a short but emotional speech that seemed to capture everything about Carter and his indestructible personality.

"For me, that was almost like his Lou Gehrig speech," Teufel said. "He said he felt like the luckiest guy in the room. His wife and his kids were there, and he just said how thankful he was for everything he had."

But he wasn't just a New York icon; the Montreal Gazette remembered him fondly as well:

Like Rusty Staub (Le Grand Orange) before him, Carter made an effort to speak a few words in French. That, combined with his big smile and immense baseball talent, won the hearts of Quebec baseball fans in both languages.

Carter went into the Hall of Fame as a Montreal Expo, but he's beloved in New York for his time with the franchise's greatest single team. It's hard to find players split so evenly between two organizations, but Carter was one of the best.


Gary Carter's Final Hit Shows His Love Of The Game

On September 27, 1992, Gary Carter played in his final major league game, the last home game for the Montreal Expos that year. Carter had returned to his original team, the Expos, for one final major league season at age 38. Though his overall numbers -- .218/.299/.340 -- weren't very good, 41,802 fans turned out to see the future Hall of Famer play for the last time.

He did not disappoint. With two out and Larry Walker on first base in a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh inning, Carter faced the Cubs' Mike Morgan. The call is from WGN's Harry Caray and Steve Stone:

Carter's double, somehow fittingly just over the head of his longtime teammate and friend Andre Dawson, drove in the only run in the Expos' 1-0 win. You can see Carter's exuberance and love of the game in his face as he stood on second base, then left for a pinch-runner to the cheers of the crowd and the hugs of his teammates.

As a Cubs fan, I was disappointed the Cubs lost that game. As a baseball fan, I greatly admired the love that Gary Carter showed for the game of baseball throughout his career. We have lost a fine human being.


Verducci: Gary Carter Was A Man Of 'Extreme Conviction'

Over at SI.Com, Tom Verducci has a nice tribute to Gary Carter, who will be remembered as one of the best catchers ever, but who was also an unusually devout family man.

Carter sometimes was ridiculed for such fidelity, especially on the back of planes and buses by Darryl Strawberry. Mets trainer Steve Garland told me in 1995, "There was a lack of respect for Gary Carter. He was clearly an overwhelming minority -- or I should say an underwhelming minority."

He was too religious, too good, too square -- Tim Tebow with more talent and without social media.

The 1986 Mets were famously rambunctious and wild, and while Carter's time on that team might be remembered most for the two-out, bases-empty single that kept Game 6 alive against the Boston Red Sox, it was Carter's different lifestyle that stuck out.

Those Mets once scorned a teammate (not Carter) for having the audacity to bring his wife into a hotel bar on the road. Carter was the kind of guy who argued for the Mets to let wives fly with the team during the 1986 postseason, and wrote, "If I could, I'd take Sandy, my beautiful and beloved wife of twelve years, on every road trip."

You'll get the stats and highlights of his career the next few days, but this article does a pretty good job of giving insight on Carter's personality.


Bud Selig: Gary Carter Had 'Remarkable Enthusiasm'

Commissioner Bud Selig released the following statement following the death of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter:

Driven by a remarkable enthusiasm for the game, Gary Carter 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. 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.

"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Gary’s wife Sandy, their daughters Christy and Kimmy, their son D.J., their grandchildren, his friends and his many fans."


Gary Carter Dies: A Look Back At His Amazing Career

Gary Carter was drafted in the third round of the 1972 draft out of high school. The picks before and after him never made it out of the minor leagues at all, but Carter was in the majors just two years later. His first full season was with the Montreal Expos when he was 21, when he made the National League All-Star team and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting.

It wasn't until his third season, though, that Carter became a full-time catcher, as he played a substantial time in the outfield for the Expos. In 1977, the 23-year-old had one of his best seasons, hitting .284 with a .356 on-base percentage and a .525 slugging percentage. He hit 31 home runs that year, while catching 143 games. Amazingly, he didn't receive a single MVP vote that season.

Carter's highest finish in the MVP voting was in 1980, when he finished second to Mike Schmidt. Carter hit 29 home runs that year, and he won the Gold Glove -- the first of three straight that he'd win from 1980 to 1982. Even more impressive might have been his streak of 10 straight All-Star selections, which started in 1979 and didn't end until 1988.

In 1985, Carter had his best season for the New York Mets, hitting 32 home runs and driving in 100 runs with a .365 on-base percentage. Carter was acquired by the Mets in a trade that sent Hubie Brooks, Floyd Youmans, Mike Fitzgerald, and Herm Winningham to the Expos, and one year later the catcher helped lead the Mets to their first championship in 17 years.

Carter's 324 career home runs as a catcher ranks sixth all-time, and he was elected into the Hall of Fame in his sixth try in 2003.


Gary Carter, Hall Of Fame Catcher, Dies Of Brain Tumors

Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who was diagnosed with brain tumors last May, has died, according to a tweet from Major League Baseball:

Carter played 19 major league seasons, mostly for the Montreal Expos and New York Mets. His best seasons came for the Expos, and he was the starting catcher for Montreal’s only playoff team in 1981. He was traded to the Mets after the 1984 season and was behind the plate when the Mets won the World Series over the Boston Red Sox in 1986.

He finished his career with a single season with the Giants and one with the Dodgers, before a final reunion year with the Expos in 1992.

Carter had 2,092 career hits and 324 home runs, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003, becoming the first player to enter the hall wearing an Expos cap on his plaque.


Gary Carter's Condition Worsens: More Brain Tumors Found

Sad news regarding Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who was diagnosed with brain tumors last May. From the New York Daily News:

On Thursday, Carter's family received a phone call from the doctors at Duke University who have been treating the Mets Hall of Fame catcher informing them that the most recent MRI revealed "several new spots/tumors on his brain," Carter's daughter, Kimmy Bloomers, wrote on the family website.

The 57-year-old Carter was diagnosed with brain tumors after complaining about dizzy spells and memory loss, and according to the Daily News, Carter doesn't feel that his treatment has helped at all.

"I'm not feeling too good," he told The News. "It's been coming on and coming on. I've had a chest cold. I've got sores in my mouth, blood clots. I get sick ... there's just so many things ... It's been nine months now and I don't feel any different from Day One. I haven't been up to doing any interviews."

Carter played 19 seasons in baseball for the Expos, Mets, Giants, and Dodgers. The 11-time All Star was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.


Gary Carter's Brain Tumors 'Inoperable'

Tuesday morning, the Sporting News reported that Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter’s brain tumors may be inoperable, according to his daughter:

Kimmy Bloemers, the daughter of baseball Hall of Famer Gary Carter, wrote on the family’s website that her father’s brain tumors are inoperable, the Montreal Gazette reports.

“Dad’s tumor is not operable, as it is like a snake of tumors that are connected across the back of the brain,” Bloemers wrote. “The biggest tumor is on the left side of the brain.”

Carter was diagnosed with brain tumors about 10 days ago, after an MRI in West Palm Beach, Florida. The article goes on to say that the tumors are probably “Grade 4 glioblastoma” and that the Hall of Famer’s doctors would continue to try to fight to shrink the tumors by any means possible.

Carter hit .262 with 324 homers and 1225 RBIs over a 19-year major league career spent mostly with the Montreal Expos and New York Mets. He was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2003.


Gary Carter's Brain Tumors Likely Malignant

Well, today’s news could hardly be worse for Gary Carter, his family, and his legion of fans. According to the Daily News:

Stricken Mets great Gary Carter has received ominous news from doctors at Duke University, who say that they are “90% certain” that tumors on his brain are malignant, according to a Carter family website.

Carter, 57, was first diagnosed with four small brain tumors May 21 after experiencing headaches and forgetfulness in recent weeks.

The diagnosis won’t be certain until next week, but “a family source” confirmed the story Friday. Carter is expected to begin chemotherapy treatment once the test results are final.

Gary Carter became a star player with the Montreal Expos in the 1970s, joined the Mets in 1985 and played a big role in their 1986 World Championship. He ended his career in 1992 with the Expos, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003.


Gary Carter Diagnosed With Multiple Brain Tumors, Will Likely Require Surgery

The New York Mets released some very concerning news Saturday. Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who spent several years as a Met, has been diagnosed with multiple brain tumors. Carter made this statement through the team:

"Earlier today, I learned that four very small tumors have been found on my brain, following an MRI on Friday at a West Palm Beach facility," Carter wrote. "I am scheduled to be examined further Thursday at Duke Medical Center, and we will learn more at that time about my diagnosis."

Carter, age 57, entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003, and was the first player to wear a Montreal Expos cap on his plaque. He was an iconic presence with the Expos of the 1970s and early '80s, as well as the terrific Mets teams of the mid-'80s, playing a big role in the franchise's 1986 championship. Carter currently serves as head coach of the Palm Beach Atlantic baseball team.

We certainly wish the best for Gary Carter and his family as they proceed through this uncertain time.

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