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.