Star Catcher Kid dies at 57

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He was well known for the smiles that always melted hearts after every game, earning him the name Kid.

Gary Carter, whose joy at playing baseball made him stand out among others, and who was a Hall of Famer known for spurring the Mets to their 1986 championship in the dramatic World Series, passed away on Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida, due to brain cancer.

Carter was 57 years old, and his brain cancer had been diagnosed only last May. He had undergone radiation and chemotherapy, but his daughter Kimmy Bloemers revealed the discovery of new tumors in mid-January. She announced her father’s death on her family journal, found at .

Kid was well known for playing with flair and intensity. He had hit 324 homeruns, and tended to punctuate those he hit at Shea Stadium with curtain calls characteristic of the swagger of the Mets during the mid- and late 1980s. Over the 19 seasons he spent in the major leagues, with only two of them not with the Mets or the Expos, he had quickly risen to All-Star status 11 times, and also got named the All-Star Game most valuable player twice.

Carter’s skill at the plate was effectively complemented by his exuberance. The curly-haired readily-smiling player was loved by all fans from Montreal to New York.

In fact, he was so loved that Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who was then the prime minister of Canada had quipped that he was happy not to be running for election against Carter.

When Carter first played as a Met, he excited the fans at Shea Stadium. He slid into second base with a double to left-center field during the season opening game against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985, punctuating it by jumping up and pumping his right fist. During the 10th inning, he managed to hit a homer that won he game, punctuating it again with pumping his arm over and over while rounding the bases, in the midst of the roaring crowd. His teammates mobbed him at home plate, and the fans chanted a curtain call, which he answered by coming out of the dugout with both his arms waving excitedly.

He was also known for tagging a runner out of home by happily holding the ball in the air.

It is possible that his exuberance was part of what led to the Mets’ culture of hugging teammates in 1986.

Interestingly, the Expos had not been as happy about Carter’s unveiled enthusiasm, even going so far as to calling him Camera Carter, as they felt that he was too obsessed with press coverage.

After Carter had been traded, Andre Dawson, who would become a Hall of Fame outfielder for the Expos, described him as a glory hound instead of a team player, explaining the trade as caused by problems Carter had with his teammates.

When he joined the Mets, the team teased him about his image, but they wound up enjoying his power on the plate as well as his obvious enthusiasm.

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