On this day five years ago, Montrealers mourned the loss of one their most beloved sports icons. Gary “The Kid” Carter succumbed to brain cancer on February 16, 2012. Today, baseball fans across the city shared their memories of one of the greatest Expos in history. MTL Baseball did some digging and found eight memories of The Kid on video for Montrealers to look back on five years after he left us.
The Kid Was a Superstar in Montreal
Gary Carter put up incredible numbers with the Expos from 1974 to 1984. Per 162 games in his first tenure in Montreal, he averaged 25 home runs and 92 runs batted in while hitting .271. The Kid was an All-Star seven times. Carter won three Gold Gloves as the best defensive catcher in the National League and three Silver Sluggers as the best hitter at the position.
Simply put, he was an incredible player.
He also had a knack for performing under the spotlight. He loved the glory that came with being a superstar in Montreal. Some of his teammates even called him “Camera Carter”.
In 1981, when he was first selected to start at catcher in an All-Star Game, The Kid responded in a big way.
1. Here is Carter connecting for his second home run of the 1981 All-Star Game that was played in Cleveland.
2. Carter won the Most Valuable Player award for that same All-Star Game. His two home runs helped the National League claim a 5-4 victory. Here’s The Kid receiving the award and flashing his trademark smile.
1981 was quite a year for The Kid. Before the players went on strike, he caught Charlie Lea’s no-hitter on May 10. He won the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award before the regular season resumed following the end of the strike. The Expos made the postseason for the first and only time in their history.
Carter was at his best in the playoffs, hitting .421 with two home runs and six runs batted in against the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series.
3. Here’s The Kid hitting a home run against the Phillies in the series. And yes, that’s Dave Van Horne using his signature “Up, Up and Away!” home run call.
Of course, 1981 was bittersweet for Carter, the Expos and their fans. The team came oh so close to reaching the World Series. Then Blue Monday happened.
The Kid Finally Wins the World Series
After Carter was traded to the New York Mets following the 1984 season, he got an opportunity to play in the World Series two years later.
After coming so close in 1981 with the Expos, Carter did his best to guide the Mets to victory. He hit .276 with two home runs and nine runs batted in.
4. The Kid hit two home runs in Game Four to tie the series.
Of course, the Mets would win a thrilling World Series in seven games. Carter’s leap into Jesse Orosco’s arms after the final out made for an iconic image in baseball history.
The Kid Caps His Hall of Fame Career Where it All Began
Eventually, Gary “The Kid” Carter would return to the city where it all began. Montrealers got to watch him on the field for one final season in 1992.
5. Carter was no longer a superstar, but he did give fans one more memorable moment, driving in the only run of the game in the seventh inning on September 27, 1992. Watch Carter drive the ball over his former teammate Andre Dawson’s head. Listen to the crowd go crazy. Watch The Kid soak it up.
6. Carter would be back in Montreal in 1993 as the team retired his jersey.
7. 10 years later, Carter would make one last speech as an Expo. He became the first Montreal Expo inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Kid Inspires a Baseball Renaissance in Montreal
It seems that Carter’s death five years ago has awakened a passion for baseball that was dormant in Montreal for many years. As Mitch Melnick said in this Vice article, Carter’s death tapped “deep feelings and emotion that people had put aside. And people realized how much they missed baseball.”
8. Since then, a movement to bring back the Expos has been growing. One of the biggest ambassadors for baseball in this city is Annakin Slayd, a local hip hop artist. Slayd has made a name for himself with songs that pay tribute to the city’s local sports teams and iconic athletes. He’s also embarked on a school tour to discuss the importance of Jackie Robinson’s impact in Montreal.
Here’s Annakin Slayd’s touching tribute to Gary Carter that captures his best memories of The Kid.