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.
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