2012-02-22 / Features

Gary Carter, 57, Led Mets To Victory In ‘86

BY EVAN KASTON

Love. So much meaning in such a commonly used word. Usually this feeling is shared between two people, but in the late Gary Carter’s case, it was shared between him and the game of baseball.

Mets catcher and Hall of Fame member Gary Carter died on February 16 after a long fight with brain cancer. He was 57.

Baseball fans across the nation will remember him as one of the best catchers in the history of the game, especially here in New York. Carter spent 18 seasons behind the plate in a career that began in September of 1974 with the Montreal Expos.

He spent five seasons playing for the Mets in Flushing before he was traded away to the San Francisco Giants in January of 1990. During his time with the Mets, Carter showed heart not only on the field but off the field as well. He appeared at countless charities and fundraisers on behalf of the Mets and spent a great amount of time in local children’s hospitals visiting less fortunate children.

Carter helped lead the Mets to a World Series victory in 1986.

Today most players play for the money or the fame; they’ll go to the team that’s offering them the most amount of money or where they can be noticed the most. Carter played baseball because he loved the game despite the amount of money he was being paid or the amount of press he was receiving. He had so much heart for the game that, while in Montreal playing for the Expos, he learned how to speak French because Canada is mostly a French speaking country.

Also, anyone who’s been a catcher knows about the stress on a player’s knees. When he finally decided to retire in 1992 at the age of 38, he reported that he had to because of all the pain that his body had endured over the years and he just couldn’t do it anymore. Carter finished off his career with the Expos and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

There is no question that Carter had love for the game. His volunteer work exemplified his character perfectly. He was a very selfless man and did a lot for the Queens community. His teammates described him as having a big smile, lots of energy and always ready to play. A current player on the Mets, third baseman David Wright, kept in contact with Carter almost until his last days. Carter would call Wright just to talk baseball for about 20 minutes to see what was going on with the team and how he was doing. Even while bedridden in a hospital, all Carter could think about was baseball, regardless of his condition.

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