Gary Carter Stats & Facts
Gary Carter Essentials
Positions: Catcher and Rightfielder
Bats: Right • Throws: Right
6-2, 205lb (188cm, 92kg)
Born: April 8, 1954 in Culver City, CA
Died: February 16, 2012 (Aged 57-314d) in West Palm Beach, FL
Buried: Riverside Memorial Park, Tequesta, FL
Draft: Drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 3rd round of the 1972 MLB June Amateur Draft from Sunny Hills HS (Fullerton, CA).
High School: Sunny Hills HS (Fullerton, CA)
Debut: September 16, 1974 (Age 20-161d, 11,196th in MLB history)
vs. NYM 4 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
Last Game: September 27, 1992 (Age 38-172d)
vs. CHC 3 AB, 1 H, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB
Hall of Fame: Inducted as Player in 2003. (Voted by BBWAA on 387/496 ballots)
View Gary Carter’s Page at the Baseball Hall of Fame (plaque, photos, videos).
Full Name: Gary Edmund Carter
Gary Carter Baseball Reference Page
Gary Carter emerged as the best catcher in the National League as Johnny Bench began to wane. Carter starred in Montreal until he was traded to the Mets prior to the 1985 season. In New York he blasted a game-winning 10th inning homer on opening day and helped lead the Mets to a World Series title in 1986, guiding a talented pitching staff and supplying a clutch bat. His single in Game Six of the 1986 World Series started the three-run rally which shocked the Boston Red Sox and forced a seventh game. Like most catchers, Carter aged quickly, but not before he established himself as the best catcher in the National League in the 1980s.
Quotes About Gary Carter
“Behind Johnny Bench, he’s the best catcher in baseball.” — Pirates manager Chuck Tanner on Gary Carter, 1979
Quotes From Gary Carter
“I was out of position. I was running into walls and hurting myself.” — Gary Carter on his early career as an outfielder
Best Season: 1984
In 1984, Gary Carter led the National League in RBI (106), and set personal-highs in total bases (290), hits (175), batting average (.294), and games played (159). He was still one of the best defensive catchers in the league, his only competition Tony Pena. The Expos made a terrible mistake in the off-season when they dealt Carter to the Mets.
Where He Played
Catcher (2,056), right field (132), first base (76), third base (3). The Expos tried to make Carter an outfielder when he first came up, in fact he wasn’t really a catching prospect. But Carter’s range in the outfield was a liability, especially on turf. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the game were a perfect fir behind the plate. By 1976, when he was 22 years old, Carter was the Expos’ catcher.
Carter did his best to get the Expos to the post-season. In 1979 the Expos trailed the Pirates by three games at the end of August. On September 13, in the midst of winning 17 of 18 games, the Expos caught the Bucs, and on the 20th they moved 1/2 game in front after a doubleheader sweep of the Mets, in which Carter went 4-for-9 with two doubles and two RBI. Then, Carter broke his thumb in the second game of a doubleheader against the Pirates on the 24th, after he had hit a homer earlier in the game, and was lost for the last week of the season. The next day the Bucs took over first place for good. Carter had hit .370 with 15 RBI and 13 extra-base hits in September. Prior to the injury, he had hit .452 (14-for-31) with six RBI in his last eight games.
The next season, Carter’s Expos trailed the Pirates by one-half-game through August, tied with the Phillies for second place. Montreal then won 12 of 15 games, to take a 2 1/2 game lead on the Phillies, with the Bucs five out and falling. Carter was instrumental in the Expos drive for the post-season, hitting .360 with 21 runs scored, 16 extra-base hits, seven homers and 22 RBI in September. On October 1, the Expos led Philly 1/2 game, but Philadelphia won the next day while Montreal was off, and then took the first two games of a showdown with the Expos in Olympic Stadium. Mike Schmidt was 5-for-7 with two homers and four RBI in the first two games, which clinched the division title for the Phillies. Carter was 0-for-7 in those contests. For the second straight year, the Expos lost a close division race to a team that went on to win the World Series.
In 1981, a player’s strike split the season, with the Phillies winning the first half of the campaign, and the Expos left to battle the Cardinals (who ended up with the best overall record in the NL East) for the second half title. The Expos seemed out of the race after dropping three of five games to the Cardinals from September 15-17, as they stood 3 1/2 games back. But, as in 1979 and 1980, Montreal made a September run, winning eight of nine to jump 2 1/2 games ahead (St. Louis seven of eight at the same time). Then the two teams met for a pair of games in St. Louis, which the Redbirds won 6-2 and 8-4, coming from behind each time. The Cardinals vaulted into a 1/2 game lead. But the Expos refused to fold, winning their next four games, the last one on October 3 to clinch their first post-season berth of any kind. Carter hit a solo homer in the clincher.
In the 1981 playoffs, Carter hit .429 in 10 games, with six runs scored, four doubles, two homers, six RBI and five walks. The Expos swept the Phillies aside in the NLDS< and led Game Five of the NLCS against the Dodgers, 1-0, but lost the contest 2-1. It’s the closest the franchise has ever been to the Fall Classic. Carter had seven hits in the LCS loss to Los Angeles.
New York Mets
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. The Mets and Cardinals became embroiled in a heated rivalry atop the National League East, with Carter and first baseman Keith Hernandez leading the charge for the Mets. The season came down to the wire as the Mets won 98 games that season, however, they narrowly lost the division to a 1985 St. Louis Cardinals team that won 101 games. Carter clubbed a career high 32 home runs and drove in 100 runs his first season in New York. The Mets had three players finish in the top ten in NL MVP balloting that season (Dwight Gooden 4th, Carter 6th and Hernandez 8th). Meanwhile, the “Redbirds” placed four players in the top ten (Tommy Herr 5th, John Tudor tied Hernandez at 8th, Jack Clark 10th and winner Willie McGee), as well as having the eleventh place finisher (Vince Coleman).
Something of a rivalry developed between the Mets and Expos as well as a result of Carter’s departure from Montreal. On July 30, while facing the Expos at Shea, Montreal pitcher Bill Gullickson sailed a pitch over Carter’s head in the fifth inning, which drew boos from the Shea Stadium crowd. Though he denied it was retaliation, Gooden did the same to Gullickson in the bottom of the inning. Interestingly, Carter caught the ball as if he knew exactly where the pitch was going to end up.
1986 World Series Champions
Carter and the Mets would not be denied in , winning 108 games and taking the National League East convincingly 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 of the Series, 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.
Carter will be forever remembered by Mets fans as the man who started the now legendary two out rally in the tenth inning of game six. Carter came around to score the first of three Mets runs that inning on a single by Ray Knight, as the Mets would defeat the Red Sox in one of the most famous games in baseball history. Carter also hit an eighth inning run scoring sacrifice fly forced the game to go into extra innings.
On the Mets’ World Champion team, Carter and Hernandez finished third and fourth, respectively, in NL MVP balloting.
300 career home runs
Carter batted only .235 in , and ended the season with 291 career home runs. He seemed determined to hit 300 career home run immediately, clubbing eight home runs by May 16 . However, it would take him until August 11 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field to reach the milestone. During his home run drought, Carter was named co-captain of the team with Hernandez, who had been named captain the previous season.
Carter ended the season with eleven home runs and 46 RBIs—both the lowest totals he’d put up in either category going back to his sophomore season in 1976. He also ended the season with 10,360 career putouts as a catcher, breaking Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan’s career mark (9941).
The Mets won 100 games that season, taking the NL East by fifteen games over the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, both Hernandez and Carter were in the twilights of their careers, and the heavily favored Mets lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1988 National League Championship Series. Carter batted only .183 in fifty games for the Mets in . On November 13, the Mets released Carter—a day after Keith Hernandez was granted free agency. Carter would play five seasons with the Mets hitting 89 home runs and driving in 349 runs.
Return to Montreal
After leaving the Mets, Carter enjoyed something of a resurgence in a platoon role with Terry Kennedy on the San Francisco Giants in 1989, batting .254 with nine home runs. Carter found himself again in a pennant race in 1990, signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His club finished 93-69, one game behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League West.
At the end of the season, Carter returned to Montreal for his Swan song when the Expos selected Carter off waivers from the Dodgers. Carter was still nicknamed “Kid” by teammates despite his age of 38. The Expos 23-year-old second baseman Delino DeShields told Carter, “I grew up on you, man. You were like Wheaties to me. Eat my Wheaties and watch Gary Carter play baseball.” 37 games into the season, the Expos fired manager Tom Runnells and replaced him with Felipe Alou. With Alou at the helm, the Expos went 70-55 and finished second behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League East.
He ranks sixth all-time in career home runs by a catcher with 298.
Notable Events and Chronology for Gary Carter Career
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