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RIP, Gary Carter
February 17, 2012 5:09 AM   Subscribe

Hard decision as to what link to provide, but Gary Carter, the Hall of Fame catcher whose single for the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series touched off one of the most improbable rallies in postseason history, died Thursday. He was 57. You'll be remembered, Kid.
posted by Man with Lantern (45 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Baseball is my game. There have been periods where I loved it more than anything. I still love it, though it's not the most important thing in my life. My brothers and I always collected baseball cards and always got a laugh at Carter's 1991 Topps card. "No Gary, you're not number one, you're a member of the 1990 Giants, settle down."

It's really a fond memory, and one Gary Carter will always be a part of for me and my brothers. Carter didn't last long after his diagnosis but at least his achievements on the diamond will always be immortalized in Cooperstown. He was a great player and he will be missed by fans everywhere. RIP Kid.

Cancer is just the worst thing.

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posted by IvoShandor at 5:16 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


RIP, Gary.
posted by jonmc at 5:19 AM on February 17, 2012


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posted by Flood at 5:21 AM on February 17, 2012


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posted by aught at 5:29 AM on February 17, 2012


MetsBlog provides a collection of links.
posted by aught at 5:31 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Carter was one of the great ones. But I gotta say this -- he was, and in the Hall of Fame will always be, an Expo.
posted by escabeche at 5:31 AM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Great memories from his days with Andre Dawson on the Expos. Have fun on the other side of the fence, Gary.

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posted by Chichibio at 5:33 AM on February 17, 2012


As a Cardinals fan, I was required to hate the "pond scum" Mets, but I could never hate on that guy. RIP.
posted by notsnot at 5:50 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


As a Red Sox fan, I probably shouldn't have fond memories of Gary Carter, but I do.

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posted by COD at 5:55 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Renoroc at 6:13 AM on February 17, 2012


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posted by Splunge at 6:16 AM on February 17, 2012


I was doing allright with yesterday's news coverage until they showed a clip of Youppi patting him on the ass.

So long, Kid, and thanks.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:22 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by From Bklyn at 6:23 AM on February 17, 2012


Thanks, Kid, for making my Dad and me so happy.


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posted by oneironaut at 6:32 AM on February 17, 2012


Nice tribute over at Can't Stop the Bleeding
posted by lowest east side at 6:37 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


A nice bit about Gary Carter's drive.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:47 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kid Carter is one of the reasons I became a Mets fan and will always believe. R.I.P.


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posted by Mr. X at 6:51 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


My friends from college had a great band called the Gary Carters. They were obsessed with him, for good reason. Their song One Of A Kind seems appropriate now.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:52 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Skygazer at 6:54 AM on February 17, 2012


I am a lucky sumbitch.

I knew squat about baseball when I moved to Brooklyn in 1986. (Yes! That 1986!) I loved my time there, and can't think about those years without thinking of the Mets.

Reading the re-caps of Game 6 got my heart palpitating like a mechanical bull in an earthquake. Again.


Thank you Gary Carter for some of my happiest memories.
posted by arkham_inmate_0801 at 7:08 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


During the 2011 World Series, a commercial aired for Stand Up for Cancer. At about the :20 mark, the camera pans across four guys holding up signs: "I Stand Up For...." Ron Darling is on the right, and his sign says, "My Catcher." Background.
In his 1987 book, A Dream Season, written with John Hough Jr., Carter wrote, "My enthusiasm for my family -- and for baseball, and other things, too -- strikes some people as a bit too much. My happiness crowds people a little."

It was all genuine, though. Kid really did love God, his wife, Sandy, his three children, Christy, Kimmy and D.J., and baseball. 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 12 years, on every road trip."

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 late writer Jim Murray once wrote, "Gary Carter is the type of guy who, if he saved a child from drowning, the mother would look at him and say, 'Where's his hat?' "
I was a huge fan of Carter and the Mets when I was a kid. And I still remember the thrill of watching them win that series.

Thank you, Gary for all the memories.

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posted by zarq at 7:11 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by dirtdirt at 7:16 AM on February 17, 2012


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posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 7:24 AM on February 17, 2012


It was a gifted bunch, replete with a starting rotation as brilliant as it was deep, one that was greater than the sum of its parts, and a balanced bullpen. They had three everyday players in Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry who could take over a game, terrific complementary players and a bench that still ranks among the best all-time. Their manager, bright and bold Davey Johnson, was adept at fueling his players' confidence, using them in situations that best fit their skills and eliciting a sense of entitlement.

Almost from the outset of the season, 25 years ago today, the Mets ran roughshod over opponents, ran their mouths and ran away from the NL East. The .667 winning percentage they produced was one thing. But consider this: Those Mets outscored their opponents by 205 runs. The other four teams in the NL with winning records outscored their opponents by a combined 206.


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"All in all, to have only won once was disappointing," Carter said. "We thought we could become one of the greatest teams of all time."


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posted by Trurl at 7:26 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gary Carter's last career hit, after he returned to close out his career as an Expo. [auto-play ad at the top]

Being a 30something Canadian baseball fan, I missed they heyday of Carter's time with the Expos. But the response to his death amongst Canadian baseball fans who grew up in that era (particularly in Montreal) has been very emotional. They feel like a piece of their childhood died with him.

I heard an interview from a sports journalist who covered that early 80's Expos team. He noted that a lot of baseball players would vow to learn French when they arrived in Montreal, and never get past 'bonjour'. Carter, from California, made an effort, and never quite mastered it. But he would go to speaking engagements, and not just totally butcher the language, but do so convinced that he was speaking proper French, which endeared him eternally to people in Montreal. People who remember that time called the Expos Nos Amours, and he was probably the biggest reason why.

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posted by dry white toast at 7:35 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Carter, from California, made an effort, and never quite mastered it.

He learned his French from the bat boy, and in returned helped him with his homework.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:39 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a Yankee fan and catcher in my youth, I loved Thurman Munson. After Thurm's untimely death, I looked high and low for my next hero catcher. Could not bear to follow Carlton Fisk. Imagine this Yankee fanatic finally finding a catcher he could love in Montreal. Then, he ends up in Flushing. Oh my. I will never admit it publicly (oops) but I rooted for the Kid. RIP, Kid.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:47 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]



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Just goes to show you that a smile goes a long way.
posted by mattbucher at 8:13 AM on February 17, 2012


When I was a young kid I saw him on a baseball blooper show. He was so willing to act goofy that I took an immediate liking to him. I followed him from the Expos to the Mets to California and back. I have all of his baseball cards. When other girls plastered their walls with Duran Duran mine had Gary Carter. When I played softball I always caught and wore number 8. He was a good man on and off the field.

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posted by obol at 8:23 AM on February 17, 2012


"I wish I could have lived my life like Gary Carter...he was a true man." - Darryl Strawberry
posted by stifford at 8:36 AM on February 17, 2012


Gary Carter was a good man, and a good ballplayer. RIP, Kid.

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posted by mosk at 9:02 AM on February 17, 2012


I remember some sort of biographical thing about him, perhaps even autobiographical where he explained how, as a catcher, he would punish umpires for calls he didn't agree with. Three options:

1. Call for a high fastball and then not bother catching it so it struck the umpire.
2. Stand with his foot back and flexed above the umpires' and the drive the spikes in when he stood up.
3. Step back when standing up so his helmet caught the umpire under the chin.

I never used any of these as a catcher when I was a kid playing low budget house league ball because I was too busy being laughed at by umpires when my overly tight jeans split and I had to play the rest of the game with my foul balls dangling on partial display in a Hanes hammock. He was my catcher hero though.

I still miss blocking home plate even before the throw arrived.

Another thread connecting to the past severed. Getting old sucks.
posted by srboisvert at 9:50 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, this news hit hard. My wife apologized for telling me about it when she saw my reaction, and I said "That's OK, I would have found out sooner or later." I became a Mets fan during the grim years of the early '80s, and having Carter come on board was one of the things that transformed the team into the amazin' win machine of the next few years (dismantled by the fucking ownership as soon as the World Series was over—the first thing they did was get rid of the Series MVP). I could sit down and watch a complete replay of the sixth game now, and when it was over I'd want to watch it again. Thanks, Gary, for all the joy you brought me and millions of others, and my sincere condolences to your family.
posted by languagehat at 9:57 AM on February 17, 2012


Uh - I don't the Mets failure to live up to their promise can be laid at the hand of management so much as laid at the hands of the barkeeps of the Upper East Side.

Also looking back I idolized Hernandez and thought Carter was lame. I wanted to be a lefty so bad. Play first base. Turns out my idol was and is a total asshole, and Carter was the guy I should have been idolizing. I love that Strawberry quote.
posted by JPD at 10:11 AM on February 17, 2012


It was Gary Carter's hit that started the famous Game 6 rally for the Mets in the 86 World Series. I remember his press conference when he arrived in NY after the trade from the Expos where he made a point of showing everyone his empty right ring finger, saying that was where he was going to put the World Series ring he was going to win now that he was in NY.

Thanks, Kid.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:12 AM on February 17, 2012


Former teammates, baseball community mourn passing of Gary Carter
Statement from Mets: “On behalf of everyone at the Mets, we extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to Gary’s family -- his wife Sandy, daughters Christy and Kimmy and son D.J. His nickname 'The Kid' captured how Gary approached life. He did everything with enthusiasm and with gusto on and off the field. 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.”

posted by zarq at 10:17 AM on February 17, 2012


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posted by sfred at 10:32 AM on February 17, 2012


To all the people wondering at my gym: That fat guy tearing up on the exercise bike after he heard Andre Dawson say: "The last thing he said to me was, "take it easy, homie'" was me.
posted by docgonzo at 10:57 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


dry white toast: "Gary Carter's last career hit, after he returned to close out his career as an Expo."

I was at the Big Owe for that game! I only wish I had been old enough to see him in Expos' heyday, before they had a permanent black cloud looming over them.
posted by vasi at 11:27 AM on February 17, 2012


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Growing up as an Expos fan (that shared his first name), it was impossible not to see his total conviction in playing hard but having fun. His brain cancer diagnosis meant that this day was long coming, but it's still saddening.

RIP, Kid.
posted by myopicman at 2:41 PM on February 17, 2012


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That 86 team made me fall in love with baseball.
posted by UseyurBrain at 5:52 PM on February 17, 2012


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posted by Meatafoecure at 6:32 PM on February 17, 2012


Throughout my childhood in the '70s, my dad, who grew up a Dodgers fan, and I, who grew up a Mets fan during some lean years in Flushing, bonded over baseball. Often, when a good player would come to the plate against the Mets, my dad would say "He's pretty good, the Mets oughta get him." Carter was one of them and when they did get him, I reminded him of how many times he'd said it. My dad's gone now, and so is Carter. And I feel a lot older. But the start of spring training makes it a little easier, both in thinking of my dad and that great '86 Mets team, which, like my dad'd beloved '55 Dodgers, could only do it once.
posted by AJaffe at 8:19 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


A lovely tribute to Carter, from ahead of tonight's Habs game.

Again, I was doing OK until Youppi came along...
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:55 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by mister nice at 7:30 AM on March 8, 2012


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