Wednesday, December 16, 2009
#321) GARY CARTER
Gary Carter came to the New York Mets when he was traded from the Montreal Expos in exchange for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, and Floyd Youmans on December 10, 1984.
Gary made his Mets debut at Shea Stadium on April 9, 1985. In heroic fashion, he delivered a 10th inning game-winning home run against the St. Louis Cardinals. The blast drew a standing ovation and chants of "Gary! Gary! Gary!" from the opening day crowd. "What a way to start," Carter said with a grin afterward. "Hit by a pitch, strike out looking, a stolen base, a passed ball and then the home run. There's not enough words to describe what it feels like. I'll certainly remember this the rest of my life."
His impact on the club was immediate. The "Kid" drove in 100 runs, while hitting 32 home runs in his first season and was instrumental in the 1986 World Championship campaign the next year. During his time in New York he represented the Mets in the All-Star Game three times (1986, 1987, and 1988). Carter was named team co-captain with Keith Hernandez before the 1988 season. He was released by the Mets on November 14, 1989 and signed with the San Francisco Giants. Gary was elected to the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 2001, and was enshrined into Cooperstown when he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
"I relied on Gary for everything when I was on the mound, including location, what pitch to throw and when." Remembered Dwight Gooden about his catcher. "Even when I didn't have my best stuff, he found a way to get me through the game. He was just a warrior on the field."
"Nobody loved the game of baseball more than Gary Carter. Nobody enjoyed playing the game of baseball more than Gary Carter. He wore his heart on his sleeve every inning he played," Tom Seaver said in 2012.
After his playing career Carter remained around baseball by becoming a field manager. He started in the minor leagues with an assignment to the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2005. Then moved to the Independent League team the Long Island Ducks in 2009. Gary preferred to remain closer to his family in Florida so he accepted the position of baseball coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University in October of 2009. "I am looking forward to becoming a Sailfish," Carter said. "My goal is to make Palm Beach Atlantic's baseball program the strongest Division II program in the country. But my primary goal is to help young athletes become better Christians and prepare them for life, not just baseball."
Gary was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and lost his courageous battle with the disease on February 16, 2012.
I created Gary Carter's card in the set from an autographed index card given to me by my friend, Jessie on December 12, 2009.