As a fan of the New York Mets in the 1980s, there may have no more a face of the franchise than Gary Carter.
Sadly, the Hall of Fame catcher died today after a battle with brain tumors. He was 57.
“The baseball community has lost a Hall of Fame player and a Hall of Fame person,” Tim Teufel, who played second base for the Mets in 1986, said in a statement. He was a good man and will be missed terribly.”
Carter, nicknamed “The Kid” was an 11 time All-Star and a career .262 hitter who hit 324 home runs during his 19-year career that also included stints with the Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. But it was his exploits during the 1986 campaign that endeared him to a generation of Mets fans.
During Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, with the Mets down two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning, Carter stood at the plate with no one on base.
A single from Carter. Then, one from Kevin Mitchell. Next, Ray Knight followed with another – a hit that scored Carter and cut the lead to one. Mookie Wilson stepped into the box to square off against pitcher Bob Stanley.
“What happened next was compelled, created, by Mookie’s cleverness and speed – a hitless at-bat that had wizardry in it,” Carter wrote in his 1987 memoir, “A Dream Season.”
Stanley threw a pitch inside, and Wilson “jackknifed out of the way,” Carter recalled.
The pitch escaped catcher Rich Gedman, Mitchell scored from third base. Somehow, the Mets had tied the game at 5.
The Mets won the game and the series.
“He was like a big brother to me,” Wally Backman, who played second base for the Mets in 1986, said in a statement. “I always went to him for advice. No matter what time of day it was, he always had time for you.”
Carter was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2003.
“No one loved the game of baseball more than Gary Carter,” fellow Hall of Famer and former New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver said in a statement. “No one enjoyed playing the game of baseball more than Gary Carter. He wore his heart on his sleeve every inning he played. He gave you 110 percent and played the most grueling position on the field and that was something special.”