Montreal Expos Catcher Gary Carter
Gary Carter is fighting for his life against cancer. I wanted to take a minute and look back on some of the highlights of his Hall of Fame career.
Gary Carter nicknamed “Kid” and “Kid Carter” had a 19-year major league baseball career, 12 with the Montreal Expos and 5 with the New York Mets. He also played a year with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. Carter distinguished himself as one of the best catchers in the National League. During his career he won three Gold Glove awards and five Silver Slugger awards. In his sixth year of eligibility he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003. He wore an Expos cap.
Carter was drafted by the Montreal Expos as a shortstop in the third round of the 1972 Major League Baseball Draft. Gary was a two sport athlete. Before signing with the Expos, he had signed a letter of intent to play football at UCLA.
FROM SHORTSTOP TO CATCHER
The Expos converted Carter to a catcher in the minor leagues. He made his major league debut on September 16, 1974, going 0–4 in that game, Carter’s hitting improved dramatically after that. For the season, Carter batted .407 (11-27), hitting his first major league home run on September 28 against Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton.
During his rookie season (1975), Carter split time between right field and
Gary Carter Rookie in 1975
catcher. He was selected to the National League All-Star team as a right fielder. He didn’t get an at bat during the game, but he came into the game as a defensive replacement for Pete Rose in the ninth inning, and caught Rod Carew‘s fly ball for the final out of the NL’s 6–3 victory. Carter would go on to be selected to ten consective All-Star teams starting in 1979.
Carter finished his rookie season hitting .270 with 17 home runs and 68 runs batted in, and finished second to San Francisco Giants pitcher John Montefusco for the National League Rookie of the Year award. He did win The Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award.
ALMOST AN MVP YEAR
In 1980, Carter clubbed 29 home runs, drove in 101 runs, and earned the first of his three consecutive Gold Glove Awards. He finished second to Philadelphia Philles third baseman Mike Schmidt in the voting for National League MVP. The Phillies took the National League East by one game over the Expos.
Carter caught Charlie Lea‘s no-hitter on May 10, 1981. In the1981 All-Star Game Carter beat out perennial NL starting catcher Johnny Bench. He proved the voter right by hitting two home runs and being named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Carter was the only the fifth (and latest to date) player to hit two home runs in an All-Star Game, joining Arky Vaughan (1941), Ted Williams (1946), Al Rosen (1954) & Willie McCovey (1969).
In his first post season (1981), Carter batted .421. He hit two home runs and drove in six in the Expos’ three games to two victory over the Phillies in the division series. Carter’s hit .438 in the 1981 National League Championship Series. He had no home runs or runs batted in (RBI), and the Expos lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.
Carter earned his second All-Star game MVP award after hitting a second inning home run in the 1984 Major League Baseball All-Star Game to give the NL a 2–1 lead. Carter had personal highs in games played (159), batting average (.294), hits (175) and total bases (290), plus his league leading 106 RBIs.
OFF TO THE METS
Despite these numbers, the Expos traded Carter at the end of the season to the
New York Mets Legend Gary-Carter
New York Mets for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans.
In his first game as a Met on April 9, 1985, he hit a tenth inning walk-off home run off Neil Allen to give the Mets a 6–5 Opening Day victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Carter and the Mets won 108 games in 1986 and captured the National League East by 21.5 games over the Phillies. The Mets won the 1986 World Series in seven games over the Boston Red Sox. Carter batted .276 with nine RBIs in his first World Series, and crushed two home runs over Fenway Park‘s Green Monster in Game Four, giving him the distinction of being the only player to date to have hit two home runs in All-Star Game (1981) and two home runs in a World Series game. Determined not to be the last out of the World Series, Carter
Gary Carter tagging Red Sox Jim Rice in 1986 World Series
started a two-out rally in the tenth inning of Game Six, coming around to score the first of three Mets runs that inning on a single by Ray Knight. He also hit an eighth-inning sacrifice fly that tied the game.
Carter finished third on the NL MVP ballot in 1986 behind Mike Schmidt and the Astros Glenn Davis.
Carter finished his career with 324 home runs. Of those, 298 were as a catcher, which ranks him 6th on the all-time list.
Mike Piazza (1992-2007) 396
2Carlton Fisk (1969-1993) 351
3Johnny Bench (1967-1983) 327
4Yogi Berra (1946-1965) 305
5Lance Parrish (1977-1992) 299
6Gary Carter (1974-1992) 298
He also ended the season with 10,360 career putouts as a catcher, breaking Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan‘s career mark (9941).
Carter had a .991 fielding percentage as a catcher and 11,785 career putouts.
CARTER BECOMES A HALL OF FAME CATCHER
Gary Carter was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2003, Carter was elected into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and his
Gary Carter Hall of Fame Ceremonies
number eight was retired by the Expos. It is also recognized on the facade of Nationals Park in Washington, DC). While the Mets have not retired number eight, it has remained unused since Carter’s election to the Hall of Fame.