Gary Carter (2003)
Gary Carter, the first Montreal Expo or Washington Nationals player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, was a power hitting catcher who was also an excellent defensive player. He played with the Expos for 11 years (1974-1984) and then went to the New York Mets (1985-1989), the San Francisco Giants (1990), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1991) before returning to Montreal for his last season in 1992.
Carter started his professional baseball career in the minor leagues in 1972. In September, 1974, he joined the Montreal Expos, playing in nine games with them that season. The following year, he was the starting catcher and he played in 144 games with the Expos. Carter batted .270 with 136 hits, 20 doubles, 17 home runs, and 68 RBIs in 1975, his first full season in the major leagues.
In 1980, Carter won his first of three consecutive Gold Glove awards. That year he made only seven errors and had 108 assists, 822 putouts, and a .993 fielding percentage in 149 games. Carter was an excellent defensive catcher and his career fielding statistics include:
- 2,056 games played
- 121 errors
- 1,203 assists
- 11,785 putouts
- .991 fielding percentage
Carter won his first of five Silver Slugger awards in 1981. However, his batting statistics for that season are not impressive, with a batting average of just .251, 94 hits, 20 doubles, 16 home runs, and 68 RBIs in 100 games. Carter also won the All Star Game MVP award in 1981. The following year he won a Silver Slugger award again and his numbers in 1982 were considerably better, with a .293 batting average, 163 hits, 32 doubles, 29 home runs, and 97 RBIs in 154 games.
Carter had one of his best seasons in 1984, again winning a Silver Slugger award and the All Star Game MVP award. That season he batted .294 with 175 hits, 32 doubles, 27 home runs, and 106 RBIs in 159 games. Although Carter was a star player for the Montreal Expos and his 1984 season was a very good one, they traded him after the season to the New York Mets.
Carter played in 130 or more games with the Mets each year from 1985 through 1988. In those four seasons, Carter hit twenty or more home runs in three seasons, with a high of 32 homers in 1985. He had 100 RBIs in 1985 and 105 in 1986 and he won the Silver Slugger award both years. By 1987 his power with the bat started to diminish and Carter finished the 1988 season with only 11 home runs, 16 doubles and 46 RBIs. The following season, he played in only 50 games and the Mets released him at the end of the season.
In 1990, Carter played in 92 games with the San Francisco Giants and in 1991, he played in 101 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although his statistics in those two years were only fair, the Expos signed him for the 1992 season. Carter finished his last season with a .218 batting average and only 5 home runs and 18 doubles in 95 games.
From 1993 through 1996, Carter worked as a television commentator and analyst for the Florida Marlins. He was a minor league manager from 2005-2006 and from 2008-2009. Carter died of brain cancer in February, 2012, at the age of 57.
Batting statistics for Carter in 18 full seasons (1975-1992) in the major leagues include:
- 3 seasons with over 150 hits, with a high of 175 in 1984
- 3 seasons with over 30 doubles, with a high of 37 in 1983
- 9 seasons with 20 or more home runs, with highs of 31 in 1977 and 32 in 1985
- 4 seasons with 100 or more RBIs, with a high of 106 in 1984
Career batting statistics for Carter include:
- 2,295 games played
- 2,092 hits
- 324 home runs
- 371 doubles
- 1,225 RBIs
- .262 batting average