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Gary Carter, 1954-2012


R.I.P. Great gallery of rare photos here.

I wrote a bit about the Kid when he received the diagnosis last year. He was a really great one; his career was a little short because he was worked so hard in Montreal, but at his peak he was one of the greatest catchers ever. I’m glad that the Nationals reversed their decision not to honor his retried number, and am glad that he will be permanently honored at the Bell Centre as well.

…I was at this game!

…strongly recommend this remembrance from Mitch Melnick. See also Andrew Cohen.

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  • david mizner

    Keith Hernandez has a guote in that piece, which probably sums up how fans as well as players felt.

    “We all disliked Gary when we played against him,” said Keith Hernandez, the star first baseman who became his teammate on the Mets. “He was just a little rah-rah varsity collegiate type, even though he didn’t go to college. But I respected him as a player. And when he came to New York, I appreciated him, too.”

    I’m a Red Sox fan so I used to dislike him, but I would’ve loved having him in 86 instead of Rich Gedman.

    How bout the trade that brought him to New York? Who did the Expos get? I can’t remember — that’s the point.

    • david mizner

      I looked it up: Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans.

      • That’s not that terrible of a trade.

        • david mizner

          No, not as bad as I thought it was, not all-time bad — Hubie Brooks and Youmans had decent years with the Expos — but trading away a hall-of-famer with good years left, you’d like to get a great player or two in return.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Yeah, it was a salary dump, although Brooks and even Fitzgerald had some decent years. My ultra fantasy baseball league was named after Herm Willingham…

            • Salary dump by the Expos, you mean?

          • Hubie Brooks was a great hitter and a decent third baseman when he was with the Mets (in 1984, I think, he actually challenged for the league lead in hitting).

            It was a rare Mets trade, where we didn’t just give someone away.

    • Fighting Words

      That quote is actually from the book, “The Bad Guys Won,” by Jeff Pearlman. There is an entire chapter on how much the Expos and the Mets disliked Gary Carter when he was playing with them.

      Which is too bad, because Carter really cared about the fans and really played the game well.

  • c u n d gulag

    No question, he’s not one of the the two/three/four greatest catchers of all time.

    He ain’t no Berra/Bench/Campanella/Josh Gibson – put them in whatever order you want…

    And I don’t like Dominionist Christian ballplayers in ANY sport – but, if those four aren’t available, I’ll gladly take him for my team any day of the week!

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      Was Carter a fundie?

      • Born again, but he never wore it on his sleeve a la Tebow.

    • Cochrane? Lombardi? Hartnett?

      Carter makes the Hall for basically two reasons: his longevity (most games caught by an NL catcher, most putouts by any catcher) and the fact that he made the Mets champs in 1986. I love the man something awful but even I realize he’s barely HoF quality.

      • Scott Lemieux

        This is really silly. Carter was the best catcher in the major leagues for many years, and Lobmardi couldn’t carry his jock.

        • rea

          Cochrane, though–Cochrane was awesome (at least until the damn Yankees tried to kill him, and almost succeeded).

          • Scott Lemieux

            Yup, in terms of peak value Cochrane was one of the greatest, even though I believe in pretty severe era adjustments.

            • Yea, at his peak, Carter could rival Bench.

              Problem was, his peak wasn’t long enough and was hampered by two strike shortened seasons.

  • howard

    absolutely one of the greats and a sad note (which is how i feel whenever someone younger than me dies).

  • wengler

    He was a bit before my time, but all indications are he was a great player.

    I still have a feeling that I will like any Expos team better than any Nationals team.

  • KadeKo

    Last Remaining Expos Fan in CT here.

    Stunning blow. For some reason, I was not expecting this to happen as soon as it did. Wishful not-thinking-on-it, I guess.

  • Manju

    Everybody’s searching for a hero. People need someone to look up to.

    Gary Carter decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows.

  • creature

    Saw him play in the ’81 All-Star in Cleveland. I was just happy to be at the game, but I was never an Expos fan. Did like te Mets, ’cause I’m an Indians fan, and, well- it ain’t the goddam Yankees!

  • rea

    Man, 1954-2012?

    I’m now old enough to find it particularly distressing when people exactly my age start dying.

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