Legends in Canadian Sports ….. Gary Carter
Gary Carter was an 11 time Major League Baseball All-Star and a key part of the 1986 New York Mets world championship team. But to Canadians he will always be a Montreal Expo.
Nicknamed “The Kid”, Carter was picked by the Expos in the third round of the 1972 draft as a shortstop after initially signing a letter of intent to play quarterback for the UCLA Bruins.
During his 1975 MLB rookie season he split his time between the outfield and the plate and was selected to his first All Star game as a right fielder. Carter became the Expos’ starting catcher in 1977 and spent the next 8 seasons behind the plate in Montreal. Gary excelled with both his defensive skills and the power of his bat. He is one of only seven catchers in MLB history to reach the 300 Home Run mark and some of his greatest moments saw him knock the ball over the fence. Gary was a key member of the Expos team that almost made it to the 1981 World Series against the Yankees … but Rick Monday’s 9th inning home-run crushed dreams of a Canadian championship on a cold October day in Montreal (it still hurts almost 40 years later!).
On December 10th, 1984 Carter was traded to the Mets where he proved to be the final key element in building a championship team. During his first game as a Met he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning to knock the game winning run out of the park. Gary was a huge contributor during the Mets World Series run in 1986 which earned him a Championship ring and a place in the Mets Hall of Fame.
After brief stops in San Francisco and LA, Gary wanted to return to the team where it all started – he played his last season with the Expos in 1992. Watch Gary’s last career hit on September 27th 1992 … a double over the head of his friend and old team-mate Andre Dawson that brought the crowd at the Big O to their feet for a long and well deserved ovation
Gary’s career highlights and achievements include:
• Selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003
• World Series Champion in 1986
• Eleven All-Star Game appearances
• Awarded three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers
• Received the MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award in 1989
• Two-time All Star MVP
• Hit for 324 home runs and 1,225 RBI’s during his 19 year MLB career
What’s Gary doing now?
After retiring from the MLB in 1992, Gary spent several years with the Marlins organization both in the broadcast booth and as a coach. He went on to be a successful manager in both the minor leagues and the NCAA. Gary was a passionate philanthropist and established the Gary Carter Foundation to support the well-being of impoverished youth in Palm Beach County Florida. Always the gentleman, who rarely used profanity, Webster’s Dictionary credits Carter with the first recorded use of the term “f-bomb”. Sadly, Gary was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011 and he passed away on February 16, 2012. Canadians will always remember his big smile and all of the great moments he brought to baseball fans across the Country.
Photo 1 credit: sabr.com
Photo 2 credit: Sports Illustrated