Gary Carter was a professional Major League Baseball catcher for 21 years, but many people he was much more than that. Carter was affectionately nick-named “The Kid” for his youthful personality and love of the game. Known mostly for his time spent with the New York Mets, where he won his first and only World Series in 1986, and his time with the Montreal Expos, Carter never failed to bring his youthful love of the game with him wherever he went.
When Gary Carter came to the Mets in 1985, it was the missing puzzle piece for the club. The Mets missed the playoffs in ’85 despite posting 98 wins, and the club came back more determined in ’86 to win it all. Fueling that determination was the vibrant Carter, who sought nothing less than a World Series championship. Carter wasn’t a one-man band though, the club was stock full of talent with the likes of Daryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden in the mix, there was no question this team would be a force to be reckoned with. Carter and his teammates made ’86 a memorable year for all of baseball.
Carter should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer; however, he was not. Carter was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 on his sixth ballot. “The Kid” posted astounding offensive numbers over the course of his career, putting up a .262 batting average, 324 home runs, and over 1,000 R.B.I’s. Carter was an all-star eleven times and there is no question the impact his youthful exuberance had on his teammates, fellow ballplayers, and baseball fans at large.
Carter was the type of player who made everyone around him better, a true team player. Unfortunately, players and even people like Carter are a rarity, but perhaps that’s what makes his legacy so satisfying. Looking at Carter’s career, his success, and the immense impact he had on fellow ball players, and fans alike, is like taking a breath of fresh air. It is refreshing to know that players and people like Gary “The Kid” Carter do come around every once in a while.