In short time, the baseball world was jolted by Thursday evening's news of the passing of former Mets catcher Gary Carter. A member of the 2003 Hall of Fame class, Carter was one of the most beloved players in Mets history. He passed away Thursday in Palm Beach, Fla., due to brain cancer. He was 57.
Carter played in New York from 1985-89, as well as for the Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Culver City, Calif., native entered the Hall of Fame as an Expo and retired with a .262 batting average, 324 home runs and 1,225 RBIs. In his 19-year career, Carter won three Gold Glove Awards, two five Silver Slugger Awards and earned a berth in the All Star game 11 times (earning MVP honors twice).
Of course, Carter was most famous for his role in propelling the Mets to the 1986 World Series championship -- an achievement he repeatedly noted as one of his most precious.
"Nothing will ever replace the moment when Jesse Orosco struck out Marty Barrett to end Game 7, and I was able to go out and jump in his arms," Carter said when he was elected to the Hall of Fame. "That was my biggest thrill."
Here are some of the most poignant reactions from around the web in memory of Carter:
Tom Verducci, SI.com:
Try as I might as a witness to his five years in New York as a catcher for the Mets, I cannot conjure a single image of Gary Carter with anything but a smile on his face. I have no recollection of a gloomy Carter, not even as his knees began to announce a slow surrender, his bat grew slow and weary or as his teammates, renowned masters of the dark arts, chided him for his well-displayed rectitude.
Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame Mets pitcher (from an outstanding compliation of reactions from The Wall Street Journal):
"No one loved the game of baseball more than Gary Carter. No one enjoyed playing the game of baseball more than Gary Carter. He wore his heart on his sleeve every inning he played. He gave you 110 percent and played the most grueling position on the field and that was something special."
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, former prime minister of Canada, in The New York Times' obituary for Carter:
"I am certainly happy that I don't have to run for election against Gary Carter."
Daryl Strawberry, former Mets outfielder, on SNY (via MetsBlog.com):
"Gary Carter smiled because he was free. He was free inside. He loved playing the game, and he played the game the right way. ... He would get in your face if he had to. He was very vocal and said what he had to say, and you respected him for that. ... I always listened to Gary. I always loved him. I've always had nothing but respect for him. ... He was an example of what a professional athlete was supposed to be. Mookie was the same way. ... He would never talk about you in the press or backstab you. ... Gary was real. The rest of us screwed up. He was real. When I look back and think about what he meant to us, not just as a player, but as the character of a man, that's what you live for. ... What a tremendous man. I always respect him more for his character than as a baseball player."
Johnny Bench, Hall of Fame Cincinnati Reds catcher:
I am so sad! The Kid has left us. I started calling him Kid the first time I met him. He was admired and loved. Thank you for our past @MLB— Johnny Bench (@Johnny_Bench5) February 16, 2012
And finally, a truly remarkable moment in baseball history captured on video: Gary Carter's last Major League at-bat