Gary Carter

Gary Carter #8 - Montreal Expos 1974-1984, 1992

Gary Carter played for the Montreal Expos from 1974-1984, and returned to the Expos for his final season in 1992.

A key member of the 1986 World Champion New York Mets, Carter is considered one of the greatest catchers of all-time, and his energy and enthusiasm earned him the nickname “The Kid”.

Drafted as a shortstop in 1972, the Expos converted Carter to a catcher in the minor leagues. Following a late-season September call-up in 1974, Carter made his major league debut on September 16 at Jarry Park during the second game of a double header against the New York Mets. Despite going 0–4 in that game, he finished the season batting .407. He hit his first major league home run on September 28 against Steve Carlton in a 3–1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Carter split time between right field and catching during his 1975 rookie season, and was selected for the National League All-Star team. Carter would go on to hit .270 with 17 home runs and 68 runs batted in, receiving The Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award and finishing second to San Francisco Giants pitcher John Montefusco for the National League Rookie of the Year award. He was also voted the Expos Player of the Year.

Expos catcher

Carter again split time in the outfield and behind the plate in 1976 while a broken finger limited him to 91 games. He batted .219 with six home runs and 38 RBIs. In 1977, the Expos moved to Olympic Stadium, and by June, starting catcher Barry Foote was traded, and Carter became the Expos full-time catcher. He responded with 31 home runs and 84 RBIs.

In 1979, Carter represented the Expos as a member of the NL squad at the All-Star Game in Seattle. Together with Dave Parker, Carter took part in one of the greatest plays in All-Star Game history, tagging out Brian Downing at home plate – compliments of Parker’s superb throw from right field. He would finish the ’79 campaign with 22 home runs and 75 runs batted in, leading the Expos to 95 wins in the National League East. In 1980, Carter clubbed 29 home runs, drove in 101 runs, and earned the first of his three consecutive Gold Glove Awards. He finished second to third baseman Mike Schmidt in NL MVP balloting, whose Phillies took the National League East by one game over the Expos.

Carter caught Charlie Lea’s no-hitter on May 10, 1981, during the first half of the strike shortened season. The season resumed on Sunday, August 9, 1981 with the All-Star Game. Carter was elected to start his first All- Star Game, and responded with two home runs and being named the game’s MVP.

MLB split the 1981 season into two-halves, with the first-place teams from each half in each division meeting in a best-of-five divisional playoff series. The four survivors moved on to two best-of-five League Championship Series. The Expos won the NL East’s second half with a 30–23 record. In his first post season, Carter batted .421, hit two home runs and drove in six in the Expos’ three games to two victory over the Phillies in the division series. Carter’s average improved to .438 in the 1981 National League Championship Series, with no home runs or RBIs, and his Expos lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.

Best in the business

By 1982, Carter had established himself as the best catcher in baseball, and the Expos rewarded him with an 7-year $14 million contract extension, making Carter the 3rd highest paid player in the game behind George Foster and Mike Schmidt. In turn, Carter enjoyed perhaps the finest season of his career with 29 homeruns, and career-high .890 OPS while winning the Silver Slugger Award as the best hitting catcher in the National League, and the Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence.

1984 season

Carter hit a home run in the 1984 Major League Baseball All-Star Game to give the NL a 2–1 lead that they would not relinquish, earning him his second All-Star Game MVP award. Carter’s league leading 106 RBIs, 159 games played, .294 batting average, 175 hits and 290 total bases were personal highs. Gary Carter #8 - Montreal Expos 1974-1984, 1992

The 1984 Expos finished fifth in the NL East. At the end of the season, the rebuilding Expos were eager to shed Carter’s contract and traded him to the Mets for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans.

Swan song

With his Hall-Of-Fame career winding down, Carter returned to the Expos for his final season in 1992. Now the elder staesman of the team, Carter provided valuable leadership to a young nucleus of stars featuring Larry Walker, Moises Alou, Marquis Grisson, and John Wetteland. While he was no longer the dominant, All-Star caliber player that he was a decade earlier, he was just as beloved and appreciated by Montreal fans. His final MLB at-bat was a memorable one, as he slugged a double over the head of former teammate Andre Dawson while playing the Cubs at Olympic Stadium.

Carter reflects

In this 2010 interview, Gary Carter reflects on his years in Montreal, and his journey through the minor leagues.

Career Highlights

  • The Sporting News Rookie Of The Year: 1975
  • MLB All-Star Game MVP: 1981, 1984
  • Gold Glove Award: 1980-82
  • Silver Slugger Award: 1981-82, 1984-86
  • Roberto Clemente Award: 1989
  • Expos uniform number (8) retired: 1993
  • National Baseball Hall Of Fame: 2003

Vital Statistics

Date of birth: 4/8/1954
Home town: Culver City, Ca
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 215 lbs
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
Position(s): C/RF
Drafted: 1972 (Expos 3rd round)
Debut: 9/16/1974
Final game: 9/27/1992
Expos HR: 220
Career HR: 324
Expos RBI: 823
Career RBI: 1225
Expos AVG: .269
Career AVG: .262
Uniform #: 57 (1974), 8 (1975-1984, 1992)
Died: 2/16/2012 (Aged 57)

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