The baseball world lost a great one on Thursday when Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter passed away after a battle with brain cancer. Carter, affectionately known as The Kid, was just 57.
Carter was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the third round in 1972 out of Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, just three picks after fellow Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. In 19 big league seasons, Carter hit .262/.335/.439 with 324 home runs and made 11 All-Star teams.
He went into the Hall of Fame as an Expo, but my first memory of Carter came as a member of the New York Mets. Down 5-3 to the Boston Red Sox with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Carter got a base hit that started the Mets' improbable rally to save their season, which ended two nights later with a world championship.
Carter, then 37, signed with the Dodgers in 1991 and hit .246/.323/.375 in 101 games with the team he grew up idolizing. Manager Tommy Lasorda, who called this picture of him and Carter one of his favorites, issued a statement upon hearing of Carter's death.
"Gary Carter played for me with so much respect and enthusiasm for the game he loved. He was a Hall of Famer as a player and as a man. On behalf of the entire Dodger organization, we love him and will miss him," said Lasorda.
Carter was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003, where he said in his speech, "Going to a baseball game and sitting in the stands is like going to that happy place, where you can leave your worries behind."
Carter will be sorely missed.