In Memory of: Gary Carter (1954-2012)
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
The Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball program will forever be indebted to the impact, service and legacy left behind by former head coach and Major League Baseball (MLB) Hall of Famer, Gary Carter.
Carter closed out a remarkable life spent leaving his unforgettable imprint on those he interacted with as a world class athlete, respected coach, kind-hearted humanitarian, as well as being a loving husband, father and grandfather.
Known for his incredible enthusiasm and unyielding faith in Christ, Carter went to be with the Lord on February 16, 2012 following a nearly nine-month battle with brain cancer. He was 57 years old.
Following a brilliant 19-year playing career with the Montreal Expos, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, Carter would go on to earn the ultimate baseball honor by being enshrined into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2003.
A Palm Beach County resident since 1982, Carter returned home in October, 2009 to take the reins of a struggling PBA baseball team where he quickly helped turn the program into a winner. Winners of just seven regular season games the year before his arrival, Carter coached the Sailfish to 17 wins in his first season followed by 27 wins in his second campaign on the PBA bench in 2011.
Then Athletic Director Bob White announced the hiring of Carter to the PBA head coaching post on Oct. 13, 2009 as he joined Tony Gwynn (San Diego State University) as the only active members of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame to embark on a coaching career in the collegiate ranks.
Click Here for a Photo Gallery of Gary Carter During His Time at PBA
Carter took over the head coaching responsibilities at PBA after a successful stint as the Long Island Ducks manager for the 2009 season. An independent team of the Atlantic League, Carter led the Ducks to a Second-Half Liberty Division regular season championship before leading the team all the way to the Atlantic League Championship series, the first postseason appearance for the team since 2004.
Carter spent his first 11 seasons in the big leagues with the Montreal Expos (1974-1984) where he accumulated some of the most impressive overall statistics ever compiled by a catcher. After finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting after the 1975 season, Carter went on to lead the Expos to the franchise’s lone postseason appearance in 1981.
In 1980, Carter finished runner-up in the National League Most Valuable Player voting in while starting a string of three consecutive years in which he was awarded a Gold Glove (1980-1982). The California native was named the MVP of the All-Star Game in 1981 and again in 1984, and later that season was acquired in a trade by the New York Mets.
“The Kid” was a part of two National League East Division winners in Queens, as the Mets enjoyed the most successful five-year period in franchise history with Carter as their backstop. His two-out, two-strike base hit sparked the Mets’ three-run rally in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game Six of the 1986 World Series, while his two home runs and nine RBI in the series paced the Amazin’s to their second world title.
Following his time with New York, Carter spent a season each with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers before finishing out his 19-year career in 1992 with one more season in Montreal. All told, Carter appeared in 11 All-Star Games, including 10 straight from 1979-1988, and won five NL Silver Slugger Awards in addition to his Gold Gloves.
Click Here to View Carter's MLB Hall of Fame Bio
Carter began work as a broadcaster with the Florida Marlins in 1993 and spent four seasons as the Marlins television color commentator. Feeling a strong pull to get back on the field in a teaching capacity, Carter returned to the field as a roving catching instructor for the Mets organization.
He then began a second career in baseball as a manager, and, like he did in his playing days, he would have immediate success. He was named Gulf Coast League and Florida State League Manager of the Year in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and won the Florida State League championship in 2006 with the St. Lucie Mets. In 2008, Carter helmed the Orange County Flyers to a championship in the Golden Baseball League, and was named that league’s Manager of the Year as well.
Beyond his work on the baseball field, Carter also had a passion for giving back to the community and blessing others through the work of his foundation, The Gary Carter Foundation. This non-profit organization eagerly works toward providing funds, supplies, and time to local elementary schools as well as other charitable causes.
Click Here For More Information on the Gary Carter Foundation
Married to wife Sandy for 37 years, the Carters first made their way to West Palm Beach when Gary was a member of the Expos and the Montreal-based team made West Palm Beach their Spring Training home. The family then made Palm Beach County their permanent home.
A father to three -- daughters Christy and Kimmy along with son D.J. -- the Carters also have three grandchildren. Daughter Kimmy has been the head softball coach at PBA since 2006 while son-in-law Kyle Bloemers is an Assistant Athletic Director for Sailfish Athletics.