The Kid went home on Thursday.
Gary Carter, considered by many to be the missing piece that transformed the New York Mets from a rebuilding team into the 1986 world champions, died after a nine-month bout with brain cancer.
The 11-time All-Star catcher was 57.
“On behalf of everyone at the Mets, we extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to Gary’s family — his wife Sandy, daughters Christy and Kimmy and son D.J.,” said Mets Owner Fred Wilpon, President Saul Katz and COO Jeff Wilpon in a statement issued by the team.
“His nickname ‘The Kid’ captured how Gary approached life,” the statement continued. “He did everything with enthusiasm and with gusto on and off the field. His smile was infectious. He guided our young pitching staff to the World Series title in 1986 and he devoted an equal amount of time and energy raising awareness for a multitude of charities and community causes. He was a Hall of Famer in everything he did.”
Carter spent only five of his 19 years in the Major Leagues with the Mets, and his plaque in the Hall of Fame depicts him in a Montreal Expos cap.
But he instantly became one of the faces of the franchise upon coming to Shea Stadium in a blockbuster trade in December 1984 for third baseman Hubie Brooks, catcher Mike Fitzgerald, outfielder Herm Winningham and pitcher Floyd Youmans.
He was one of the leaders of the 1986 team, his overt exuberance serving in contrast to the more reserved Keith Hernandez.
And in with the Mets losing 5-3 with two out and none on in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Carter came up and delivered a single to keep the inning alive, three batters before Mookie Wilson hit a ground ball that sent Bill Buckner down in baseball history, and extended the Curse of Babe Ruth over the Boston Red Sox for another 18 years.
Carter’s 324 home runs in the majors ties him for 104th place on the all-time list with fellow catcher Lance Parish, and his 298 as a catcher ranks sixth all time.
After leaving the Mets he had brief stints with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers before finishing his career back in Montreal for 95 games in 1992.