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Old 02-16-2012, 06:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Gary Carter dead at 57.

As a kid, all I wanted to do was play baseball and Gary Carter was my favourite player. Not only was he a superstar, he was by all accounts a humble and gracious man. Gary Carter succumbed to brain cancer this afternoon.


http://www.montrealgazette.com/sport...075/story.html
Quote:

MONTREAL - The lights went out for Hall of Fame catcher and former Expo Gary Carter on Thursday after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.

Carter, 57, was nicknamed “The Kid,” but his teammates also called him “Lights” because of his broad smile and ability to perform in front of the camera.

He was diagnosed with brain cancer last May and had been treated with chemotherapy and radiation. But new tumours were discovered in mid-January.

In 2003, Carter became the first former Expo to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. But apart from his baseball skills, Carter was also a model citizen and family man.

During his Hall of Fame induction speech, Carter said: “When I was playing, I always felt good knowing that my wife and kids were sitting behind home plate. And they understood that the ride home was a lot happier if we won the game.”

It was Carter’s daughter, Kimmy Bloemers, who announced his death Thursday afternoon in a statement posted to a family website.

“I am deeply saddened to tell you all that my precious dad went to be with Jesus today at 4:10 p.m. This is the most difficult thing I have ever had to write in my entire life but I wanted you all to know,” Bloemers wrote on the website. “He is in heaven and has reunited with his mom and dad. I believe with all my heart that dad had a STANDING OVATION as he walked through the gates of heaven to be with Jesus.”

In a 1982 interview, Montreal player agent Gerry Petrie, who had Carter as a client, described him perfectly.

“Sincerity, honesty, wholesomeness – he’s the kind of guy you want your son to be,” Petrie said. “And it’s real. Gary is no phoney. He’s one in a million. He loves his family, God and baseball.

“They call him The Kid, and he truly is a kid – not immature or foolish, but with a kid’s openness and joy and purity.”

Carter was the Expos’ third-round pick (53rd overall) at the 1972 major-league draft and quickly advanced through the club’s minor-league system. He made his big-league debut on Sept. 16, 1974 at Jarry Park as a late-season call-up from the Expos’ Triple-A affiliate in Memphis. It was the start of a 19-year major-league career, during which he would hit 324 home runs, win three Gold Gloves and play in 11 All-Star Games, twice earning the MVP award.

Carter played his first 11 seasons with the Expos, masterfully handling the pitching staff and leading the club to its only postseason appearance in 1981. The Expos traded him to the New York Mets on Dec. 10, 1984, in exchange for shortstop Hubie Brooks, catcher Mike Fitzgerald, outfielder Herm Winningham and pitcher Floyd Youmans.

Carter won a World Series with the Mets in 1986. He would also play for the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers before returning to the Expos for the 1992 season.

Carter's final hit was a game-winning RBI double, which can be seen here.

In August 1993, Carter’s No. 8 jersey was officially retired by the Expos during a ceremony at Olympic Stadium that attracted 36,558 fans. After a few words in French, Carter told the crowd:

“The support you have given me throughout my career is something I will never forget. You will forever be part of our family.

“During my time with you, I have only one regret and that is that we didn’t win a World Series for the Expos and Montreal.

“I will never forget my last game here when I made the winning hit (1-0 over the Chicago Cubs) last September,” he added. “For me, my family and hopefully all you fans in Montreal, that was a very special occasion.

“You will always be part of my family. Merci beaucoup and God bless you.”

A few years ago, Carter gave credit to Dick Williams as the manager “who played the biggest role in my career.”

Said Carter: “He was tough, but honest. And he put my name on the lineup card every day.”

While Carter noted that the highlight of his career was helping the Mets win the World Series, he was gracious in his praise of the Expos organization during his Hall of Fame induction speech.

Teammate Ellis Valentine said before the Hall of Fame induction that there was no doubt Carter was an Expo.

“I grew up with Gary in the minors,” Valentine said. “He’s an Expo, in my head. Just because he won the World Series with the Mets doesn’t change anything.”

At the peak of his career with the Expos, Carter received thousands of letters from fans and tried to reply to them all. He was the first baseball player in Canada with national advertising contracts and his Kid 8 Inc. company earned more than $400,000 in the early 1980s, pitching everything from 7Up to bedsheets.

Like Rusty Staub before him, Carter made an effort to learn some French. That, combined with his big smile and immense talent, won the hearts of Quebec baseball fans.

As a player, Carter was asked to explain how he got “The Kid” nickname.

“I’ve always been named The Kid, and then when I went to my first big-league spring training camp in 1973, I was a vivacious and enthusiastic young kid who wanted to get to the major leagues,” he said.

Sports were always a major part of a Carter’s life as a youngster. His father, Jim, was his first coach and was cast in the role of father and mother after Carter’s mother died of leukemia when he was 12.

In 1961, Carter was the 7-year-old national champion of the Punt, Pass and Kick contest, the first year the youth football event was staged in the United States.

“I realized at a very young age that the good Lord blessed me with the ability to play baseball,” he once said.

Carter leaves his wife, Sandy; a son, D.J.; and two daughters, Kimmy and Christy



Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/sport...#ixzz1mbT5XNOn
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