Gary Carter’s Multiple Brain Tumor Diagnosis Shocks Ex-Mets, Colleagues

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Ex-1986 Mets catcher Gary Carter is getting ready for what could be the fight of his life.

This weekend the Hall of Famer revealed that doctors discovered four “very small” brain tumors after he had an MRI on Friday in Florida.

“The last time I saw him a couple months ago, he looked well. He was Gary,” said Mets first base coach Mookie Wilson, a teammate of Carter’s in the 1980s. “He seemed himself. No indication anything was wrong.

“Whatever the situation may be, of course I wish him well. And I hope things turn out for the best.”

The 57-year-old Carter said he expects to learn more about his diagnosis when he is examined again Thursday at Duke Medical Center.

“My wife, Sandy, and our children and family thank you for your thoughts and prayers,” Carter said in a release issued Saturday by the New York Mets and baseball’s Hall of Fame. “We ask that you please respect our privacy as we learn more about my medical condition.”

The statement did not say whether the tumors are malignant or benign.

Former teammate Ron Darling called Carter “one of the biggest people” in his baseball family.

“It’s so sad,” Darling said. “He has great faith, great family, so he’s got an entire roster of people that are going to help him through this. … He’s not called The Kid for nothing, and we want him around for a long time.

“To hear that news, there are two things that cross my mind. One, how I hope the news is good once he gets out of Duke Medical Center. But then secondly, he said he didn’t want to make the last out in the sixth game of the ’86 World Series. That says a lot about what kind of person he is, and how he’s going to fight this.”

The effervescent Carter is perhaps best known for helping the Mets win the 1986 World Series. He had 24 homers and 105 RBIs that year, then drove in 11 runs in the postseason.

Lee Mazzilli, another teammate on the 1986 Mets, was on his way to Yankee Stadium when his wife called with the news about Carter. He said he plans to reach out to Carter and his family when the time is right.

“You hope that it’s not what you think it is,” said Mazzilli, who works in corporate sales and sponsorships for the Yankees. “It breaks your heart. But I think if anyone has an optimistic outlook, he has one.”

Fox broadcaster Tim McCarver, a Mets announcer in the 1980s, said he immediately thought of Carter’s bright smile.

“The ear-to-ear smile that only Gary has. And obviously a smile is very important at a time like this,” McCarver said. “I think everybody is kind of in that wait-and-see mode. … But certainly he has occupied our thoughts since we heard the news.”

McCarver was at Yankee Stadium preparing to broadcast the Subway Series game between the Mets and Yankees.

“It’s tough to go on the air without thinking about him and being reminded once again how great the game is that it takes you away from the travails of life,” he said.

Carter hit .262 with 324 homers and 1,225 RBIs in 19 seasons in the majors. The 11-time All-Star played his last game with the Montreal Expos in 1992 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

I’m shocked at the news. It gives us all a sense of our mortality. Gary was a great teammate and naturally my prayers are with him and his family,” Keith Hernandez said in a statement released by the Mets.

“You don’t feel it’s going to happen. You realize your mortality,” Hernandez added. “He was a guy that was on top of his game and perfectly healthy and an athlete, and anything can happen. My prayers are with him. Hopefully it’s something that can be taken care of, and he can live a long healthy life with his family.”

“On behalf of the Mets organization, our thoughts and prayers are with Gary, Sandy and the entire Carter family,” said Jeff Wilpon, the club’s chief operating officer.

Leave your encouraging words for Carter in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Patricia Finch

    Though a Dodger fan for 37 years, for the year of 1986 my heart belonged to the New York Mets and of all those Mets, you “the Kid” were my favorite player. You were a gamer who truly played for the love of the game and it showed. Then in the 90’s I got a chance to see you play with the Dodgers. You played your heart out for them too. My thoughts and prayers go out to you…May God truly protect and bless you and your family during this time of crisis…..Patti Finch

  • Gregg Johnson

    Gary Carter is a Class Act, I never met a Man like him on the field or off,My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family….And when you beat this, the Mets can use your bat…l.o.l

    Let’s go Mets,Let’s go KID!!!

  • Rita T

    Your positive attitude and your faith will play a large part in your recovery. Surround yourself with people who believe you can win this big one. And then turn it over to God

  • Robert Kaznica

    Gary many a memorable days of watching you play both for the mets and expos. Here wishing you all the best my prayers are with you

  • Martin

    I was very sad to know about the illness of my first idol. So In the name of all my baseball friends who still loves the Expos, I wish him well and hope that The Kid recovers fast.

    Martin, from Montreal

    • Desi, from B.C.

      Amen to that! I grew up with the Expos, they were a regular staple in our house. It was a joy to watch the slow motion replays of Gary’s bull’s-eye throw to second base to catch the runner. More often than not the guy called out would walk away smiling. Here’s to a great man with a great heart.

  • Ginny Bandiera

    As a big Yankee fan, one NY family to another,,,Get well soon.

  • Kristie Waskiewicz

    Mr. Carter, I remember watching you play baseball when I was young. You were one of the greats!!!! That’s coming from a huge Yankees fan, LOL. I am also suffering from a brain tumor, it is benign but no less scary. I also had a brain tumor removed 13 years ago. Never thought I would have to go through this again. I understand what you are going through and how scared you and your family are during this time. I pray that all the tumors are benign and easy to remove. God bless you and your family, you are a strong and courageous man. You will be in my prayers everyday.

  • Mitch Kaufman

    To My All Time Favorite Met…Every time I saw you, whether in person at an event or on the field, you always were kind and professional. I even have a pair of your game-worn batting gloves that you graciously signed “KID” for me.
    We are all saddend by the news of your health issues and are praying for you. Knowing you and your enthusiastic outlook on life, you will conquer all. YOU are a true champion. The BEST.

  • Patty

    You are my all time favorite Met, Gary. Met u many times at spring training and you were always a class act. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I wish only the best for you and your family. Hang in there and have only positive thoughts! God bless you!

  • skeptical

    More invisble tumors from doctors looking to make money? Don’t trust people who MAKE MONEY when they find problems. Auto machanics and doctors are they worst conmen and snake oil peddlers there are.

  • Tommy C

    To “THE KID: godspeed in your battle . You are on e the reasons why i love the game of baseball . You have always carried yourself with class and dignity .Good Luck .

  • Melvyn A. Cohen

    Dear Mr. Carter I am a 71 year old man who has been following the Mets since I was a young man. Mr Carter, your baseball talent and that wonderful smile of yours was infectiousl!! You and the Mets gave my Dad and I a reason to enjoy baseball again. Your stance at home plate your ability, you were so exciting to watch. Sir, I am a survivor of cancer and so will you be if thats the diagnosis. I donot know if you are a religious man. Either way you have the prayers and hopes from many millions of your fans. I am living with heart disease and have 14 stents implanted in my heart. My belief in God and prayer and a wonderful family keep me going. I have recently read a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz It is 150 pages of advise and love. I read it twice, It helps in so many ways. Mr. Carter I am so glad I was able to pass through life and have the oppurtunity to wittness with my Dad one of the greatist baseball players who have ever stepped up to the plate. Mr. Carter, God Bless You! and good luck! sincerely, Melvyn A. Cohen Middletown New York.

  • joseph durante


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