Mets History: The end of Gary Carter in New York after four All-Star seasons

Gary Carter of the New York Mets chats with sportscaster Joe Garagiola (left).
Gary Carter of the New York Mets chats with sportscaster Joe Garagiola (left). /

On November 14, 1989, the New York Mets said farewell to star catcher Gary Carter when they released him after five seasons.

November 14, 1989, isn’t a day that lives in infamy but it is the end of an era for the New York Mets. On this day, the team released Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter. After five seasons in New York, his time with the orange and blue officially came to a close.

The decision was an understandable one at the time. In 1989, Carter played in only 50 games for the club. Injuries were taking their toll on the longtime catcher. At 35-years-old in his final season with the organization, it could have very well been his last big league campaign.

Not knowing their run as a National League favorite was nearing its end, the Mets decided to move forward without Carter as a possible platoon option. Barry Lyons led the team in starts behind the plate in 1989 with Mackey Sasser not far behind. By 1990, Sasser was starting behind the plate a little more regularly with four different catchers behind him receiving at least 74 plate appearances.

As Carter went on to prove, he still had a little something left in the tank for two more seasons. He played abbreviated seasons in 1990 and 1991, hitting several points below his career average and reaching base at a lesser clip. His power dissipated and his defense wasn’t what it once was.

Carter clung onto major league life until 1992 when he wrapped things up with the Montreal Expos. By this point, the Mets were a much different-looking team and about to head into a tailspin.

The first four years in New York were stupendous for Carter. He was awarded a trip to the All-Star Game each time. Although he was reaching the end of his career, Carter still competed for the MVP twice while with the Mets.

Unfortunately, one of the issues for Carter may have been how often he played during his time with the Expos. You would never see it today, but in 1982, he started 151 games behind the plate. He still played a lot of catcher with the Mets, setting a high with them in 1985 with 139 starts at the position.

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Time and his ailing body caught up with him. The three-time Gold Glover and two-time Silver Slugger winner couldn’t last through the 1989 season. Looking to go in a different direction, the Mets cut ties with one of baseball’s greatest catchers of all-time.

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