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Gary Carter loses his battle with cancer

Feb 16, 2012, 5:12 PM EDT

Gary Carter AP

It was inevitable. But it doesn’t make it any less sad. Gary Carter, the Hall of Fame catcher who put the Montreal Expos on the map and helped the New York Mets win a World Series died today at the age of 57.

Carter had been battling brain cancer for the past nine months. While there were some ups and downs during his battle, his prognosis had turned grave of late.  He made his last public appearance two weeks ago at a Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball game, greeting the players he would have coached this season if not for the state of his health.

But for as tragic as the past year has been for Carter and his fans, he will always be remembered as one of the greatest catchers who ever lived. He posted a career line of .262/.335/.439 while hitting 324 homers and driving in 1225 runs. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner, but that probably underrates his defense, as being in the same league as Johnny Bench — who was probably the best ever — made many forget that Carter was fantastic himself.

He had his best years with the Expos, making the All-Star team as a right fielder/catcher at the age of 21 in 1975 and later leading them through their most productive era as a franchise. He then went on to New York and similarly led the Mets through theirs, culminating in a 1986 World championship. In 1992, after brief stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles, he returned to the Expos for one final season.

Good travels, Kid.  Wherever they may take you.

///

See also: Carter by the numbers

  1. proudlycanadian - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    One of my all time favorite Expos along with Rains.

    • 78mu - Feb 16, 2012 at 8:39 PM

      As a Cardinal fan in the 1980s, I can say he was not my favorite Expo or Met only because he was not playing for St. Louis. I couldn’t help but wish he had played for the Cardinals because he was the best catcher in the NL and he seemed to always have a smile on his face when he beat you.

      No real baseball fan that saw him play could not have respect for Carter and you don’t have to have been a fan a fan of the Expos or Mets to feel sad today. Gary Carter gave all baseball fans some memories of the game we love and the sport is better for his having played it.

      Thanks for the memories Gary and R.I.P. You were a credit to the game and we’ll miss you.

    • florida727 - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:44 AM

      “Good travels, Kid. Wherever they may take you.”

      Sorry to put a religious bend to this for those who are offended by such things, but Gary Carter is in heaven with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with him being a “good guy”, which he obviously was. Gary was a Christian who realized that like all human beings, he was a sinner. If you asked Gary, he would tell you that it was God’s grace and act of salvation that allows him to spent eternity in heaven. Gary’s faith in Jesus Christ determined exactly where his “good travels” have taken him.

      Go ahead and thumbs-down my remarks all you want, but who in the heck thumbs-down a simple “RIP Gary” comment on a blog site like this? That, I’ll never understand. Thanks, Gary, for the example you left behind. Blessings…

      • Old Gator - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:53 AM

        I don’t buy into the religious stuff but I agree completely that it takes a special kind of misanthropy spiritual emptiness to thumbs-down expressions of sympathy, pain and loss.

      • Old Gator - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:54 AM

        I don’t buy into the religious stuff but I agree completely that it takes a special kind of misanthropy and spiritual emptiness to thumbs-down expressions of sympathy, pain and loss.

    • lanpar - Feb 17, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      Yes agree was great Expo! Gary Carter lived a great life although cut short I believe a majority would loved to live his life and have his amazing disposition. So let’s celebrate the life of Gary Carter and reflect on our own beautiful life….as Trooper so eloquently sang “We’re Here For a Good Time (Not a Long Time)”.

  2. uyf1950 - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Very, very unfortunate. RIP

  3. nagrommit - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    $%@# cancer.

    • Louie Schuth - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:26 PM

      Seriously.

    • southpaw2k - Feb 17, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      Couldn’t say it any better. I can’t wait to flip the double middle finger at cancer the day someone develops a cure for it.

  4. steveohho - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    RIP Gary

  5. IdahoMariner - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    So sorry for his family, and for his team. Seems like a life well lived.

  6. deathmonkey41 - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    I don’t really remember him with the Expos, but growing up in NJ, I remember him with the Mets.

  7. diehardcubbiefan4life - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    I HATE cancer. All it does is rob us of great people. Here’s to hoping that he’s up in heaven gunning down baserunners. RIP Gary Carter, we lost a great person in you.

    • The Common Man - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      “I HATE cancer. All it does is rob us of great people.”

      As opposed to Ebola, which volunteers at a soup kitchen on the weekends? Or small pox, which takes only the worst of us?

    • ditto65 - Feb 16, 2012 at 6:02 PM

      Ummmm, cancer attacks normal people, who are only great to those they know.

  8. jimbo1949 - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Happy trails, Kid.

  9. The Common Man - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Oh hell. Rest in peace, Gary.

    He gave the most awkward interview I’d ever seen at the 2006 All Star Weekend. The Pirates PR people wanted to talk about Dave Parker’s throw in the ’79 All Star Game to nail Brian Downing. Gary responded, “Well, yeah. It was a little up the line. You know, it was a pretty good tag too.”

    Video of the play:

    • paperlions - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      His interviews after he retired were always fantastic. When Bruce Sutter was elected to the HOF, in an interview Carter said that he always hit well against him, and Sutter probably would have made it into the HOF sooner if not for how well Carter hit against him. He had a gift for complimenting himself in any discussion, it was fantastic to witness.

  10. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Rest in peace. Thank you for the memories, and for your kindness.

  11. stlouis1baseball - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    RIP Gary. My thoughts and prayers are whith your family and friends.

  12. jolt12 - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    RIP. You made a hell of a mark.

  13. larryboodry - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    RIP Gary.

  14. yankeesgameday - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Growing up in Long Island, Gary was a huge part of my childhood memories and they were all great. This us terribly sad and my thoughts are with his family.

  15. Utley's Hair - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    RIP Kid. As a Phightins Phan, you were the enemy from Montreal and New York. As a baseball fan, you were among the best. You’ll be missed by your friends and family—both blood and baseball. It was an inevitable day, but quite sad nonetheless. Baseball lost a true gentleman. Thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the Carter, Expo and Mets families.

  16. maco88 - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    God bless The Kid! God bless Gary Carter!

    • bayoubauer - Feb 16, 2012 at 6:20 PM

      Amen

  17. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    57 is far too young for anyone to go, I’ll have a cold one for The Kid tonight.

  18. sjsharksfan11 - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Thanks for the memories. I hope the Giants organization honors you on opening day. Too bad you couldn’t have played with us longer.

  19. Lukehart80 - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    My father was killed by the same form of brain cancer, so I know too well what a monster it is, and how unlikely this story was to have a happy ending.

    I hope Gary was able to spend his last days as peacefully as the circumstances would allow and surrounded by all those he loved. I hope that his friends and family can find joy in celebrating the extraordinary life he led, and comfort in the memories they’ll always have.

    Rest in peace.

  20. buffalomafia - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Rest In Peace!

  21. randygnyc - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Too sad. RIP, Kid!!

  22. brianbosworthisstonecold - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    RIP Gary.

  23. nygf - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    RIP Kid and God bless the Carter family. Huge Mets fan born after Gary’s time, but his presence cannot be questioned. Keith Hernandez was just bawling on the phone on SNY. The Mets might not win much this year, but God damn it if they don’t give a Gary Carter worthy effort 162 times in his memory.

  24. sdelmonte - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    No words for this. Just sadness.

    Goodbye, #8.

  25. babych99 - Feb 16, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    What a sad day, knew the day was coming but doesn’t make it any less sad. RIP Gary

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