This Date in Mets History: February 16 - Rest in Peace, Kid

Stephen Dunn

Gary Carter, the man who made the Mets perennial pennant contenders upon joining the team in 1985, lost his battle with cancer one year ago today.

Today marks the one year anniversary of Gary Carter's passing. One of the most beloved figures on the 1986 Mets, one of the most beloved teams in New York sports history, Carter was remembered fondly here at Amazin' Avenue and lovingly eulogized seemingly everywhere on unfortunate occasion of his too-soon departure. You can read Eric's obit here, while Matthew Artus and Matthew Callan also had kind words for the Kid. If you're curious as to the origin that childish nickname, Joe Posnanski delved into it in his remembrance of Carter.

There are also a bunch of Gary Carter clips in MLB.com's video archive which should be mandatory viewing today. Highlights include:

His first homer as a Met, a game-winning, extra-inning blast of the Cardinal's Neil Allen on Opening Day 1985

His walk-off single against Dave Smith of the Astros in Game Five of the '86 NLCS

His final at-bat at Shea Stadium as a member of the Mets in 1989

And, finally, the entirety of the Kid's 2003 Hall of Fame induction speech.

Birthdays

  • Former Mets coach Barry Foote is 61. In 1975, the Expos moved 21-year old catching prospect Gary Carter to right field out of deference to Foote, the team's incumbent backstop. The two split duties behind the plate in 1976, but Carter ended the time share one year later by hitting 31 homers and amassing five-plus wins above replacement according to Baseball Reference, the first of eight seasons he'd crack that plateau in his career. Things worked out OK for Foote, though, as the Expos traded him (and Dan Warthen) to the NL East Champion Phillies.
  • Bill Pecota, the namesake of Baseball Prospectus's Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, is 53. The versatile Pecota joined the Mets in the swap that brought Bret Saberhagen, the 38th best Amazin of All-Time, to Flushing. At the time of the trade, Mets manager Jeff Torborg predicted "New York is gonna love Bill Pecota." Like most forecasts regarding the 1992 Mets, a.k.a. "The Worst Team Money Could Buy", that proved wildly optimistic. Pecota hit just .227/.293/.297 while wearing orange and blue and the team let him walk at the end of the season.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On February 16, 1923, archaeologist Howard Carter became the first person in millennia to enter KV62, the tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings that contained the mortal remains of King Tutankhamun. Seventy years later, in an exit interview with the Star-Ledger, retiring Mets owner Nelson Doubleday had this to say about another boy king, "Mr. Jeff Wilpon has decided that he's going to learn how to run a baseball team and take over at the end of the year. Run for the hills, boys...Jeff sits there by himself like he's King Tut waiting for his camel."

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