Gary Carter’s Amazin’ debut
The Mets finished the 1984 season with a 90-72 finishing in second place and missing the playoffs. The ninety wins was a huge jump for a team that did not win more than 68 games in a season since 1976. They knew a few moves had to be made to get over the hump in December of 1984 they did just that.
On December 10th, 1984, the Mets acquired Gary Carter from the Montreal Expos for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, and Floyd Youmans. Carter was coming off six consecutive all-star seasons but the Expos did not want to meet Carter’s contract request.
The Mets knew the addition of Carter’s bat would be huge to this lineup and could help bring them into pennant contention. His debut with the Mets on April 9th, 1985 will always be considered one of the greatest Mets debuts in history.
The Mets opened the 1985 season at home against the St. Louis Cardinals on a chilly afternoon. Doc Gooden, coming off his 1984 Rookie of the Year season, got the nod to open the season for the Mets. Not only was the teenage phenom on the mound but this was the debut of the offseason acquisition of Gary Carter.
The Mets jumped out to a 5-2 lead on the Cardinals and getting Cardinals starter Joaquin Andujar chased in the fifth inning. After Gooden was able to get into the seventh for the Mets they then found themselves only holding on to a 5-4 lead heading into the ninth inning.
Doug Sisk was on the mound for the Mets in the ninth and he was not able to hold onto the lead. He walked in the tying run and the 1985 opener headed to extras after the Mets left the bases loaded in the ninth.
The Mets survived a tenth inning double from Ozzie Smith and set themselves up again to walk it off. Keith Hernandez led off the bottom of the tenth and struck out to start things off. Looming on deck was Gary Carter.
Not only was this his Mets debut but Carter was considered the best hitting catcher in baseball ad knew he had the potential to end a game with one swing.
Neil Allen was still on the mound for the Cardinals and with one out and a 1-1 count, he threw a hanging curveball to Carter. Carter turned on the curveball and hit deep to left field where Cardinals left fielder Lonnie Smith had to make a leaping attempt at the wall. The ball just cleared the glove of Smith and landed into the Mets bullpen and Gary Carter played the hero roll in his Mets debut.
Knowing the type of hitting Carter was and seeing what he did in his first game with the Mets, fans knew more good things were to come from “The Kid” during his Mets career. Just that happened as Carter made four more straight all-star appearances and was a huge piece to the Mets 1986 World Series championship team.