Gary Carter’s exuberance complemented his prowess at the plate. Curly-haired and with a ready smile, he was loved by the fans, first in Montreal, then in New York.
“I am certainly happy that I don’t have to run for election against Gary Carter,” Pierre Elliott Trudeau, then prime minister of Canada, once remarked.
Carter excited Shea Stadium fans in his first game as a Met. After sliding into second with a double to left-center field in the 1985 season opener against the St. Louis Cardinals, he jumped up and pumped his right fist. In the 10th inning he hit a game-winning homer over the left-field fence, then pumped his arm again and again while he rounded the bases as the crowd roared. He was mobbed by his teammates at home plate, and when the fans chanted for a curtain call, he came out of the dugout waving both arms.
He was as exuberant behind the plate. When Carter tagged a runner out at home, he liked to punctuate the play by happily holding the ball aloft.
He may have led the 1986 Mets in hugging teammates.