In his first game with the New York Mets on Opening Day 1985, Gary Carter made a lasting impression.
Believe it or not, baseball didn’t always start in late March or even the first week of April. Back in 1985, New York Mets Opening Day took place on April 9.
In front of over 46,000 fans at Shea Stadium, Dwight Gooden went up against St. Louis Cardinals starter Joaquin Andujar. Neither pitcher left the game as part of the decision because this one went into extras.
The Mets got off to an early lead with two runs in the first. They tacked on a few more in the early innings, but St. Louis came roaring back against the bullpen. With two outs in the ninth, Doug Sisk walked Jack Clark with the bases juiced to tie the game.
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Unfortunately or fortunately—depending on whether you like free baseball or not—the Mets could not score anything in the bottom of the ninth even after loading the bases themselves.
The game was going to the tenth. A new hero in New York would make his presence known.
In the offseason, the Mets made a trade with the Montreal Expos to acquire star catcher Gary Carter. The deal has gone down as one of the best in franchise history for several reasons. Not only did Carter help lead the team to a World Series victory in his second season with the club, but the Mets also didn’t give all that much up to acquire the future Hall of Famer.
One could argue Carter wasn’t in his prime anymore. However, he was still one heck of a run producer. In 1985, he finished sixth in the MVP voting. His first year with the Mets included 32 home runs and 100 RBI.
The first of those home runs was about to happen in game one of his debut with the orange and blue.
Keith Hernandez led off the inning by striking out. When he made his way back to the dugout, it was Carter’s turn to try against former Met Neil Allen. You may remember him best as one of the players the Cardinals acquired in the Hernandez trade back in 1983.
Carter wasn’t about to let this game slip away. Rather than wear himself out further on the season opener, he reached out and clobbered a home run over the left field wall.
The game was over. The Mets won 6-5 and “The Kid” was already a star in New York after just one game.
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As far as first impressions go, there wasn’t a better way for Carter to introduce himself.