Gary Carter Mets

Gary Carter by the numbers

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As we mourn the passing of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, here’s a look at the numbers for “The Kid.”

– Carter played 19 seasons in the big leagues before retiring after 1992; 12 with the Expos, five with the Mets and one each with the Giants and Dodgers.

– He hit .262/.335/.439 with 324 homers and 1,225 RBI in 7,971 at-bats.

– Carter was named to 11 NL All-Star teams and won three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. He finished as high as second (1980) and third (1986) in the NL MVP balloting.

– Among those who played at least 50 percent of their games as catchers, Carter is tied for fifth all-time in homers. He ranks seventh in RBI and ninth in runs scored.

– Baseball-reference’s WAR rates him among the NL’s top eight position players every year from 1977-85. He was second in 1982, when he hit .293/.381/.510 with 29 homers and 97 RBI.

– In the 1980s, there were seven 100-RBI seasons for catchers: four by Carter and one each from Lance Parrish, Ted Simmons and Carlton Fisk.

– Carter led the NL with 106 RBI in 1984. The only catcher since to lead his league in RBI was the Phillies’ Darren Daulton in 1992.

– Carter is the last player to hit two homers in an All-Star Game, doing so in 1981. He won the All-Star Game MVP award that year and again in 1984.

– A member of the World Series champion Mets in 1986. He hit .276 with two homers and nine RBI in the seven games against the Red Sox that year. Overall, he hit .280 with four homers and 21 RBI in 30 postseason games.

– Fourth all-time in games caught at 2,056. The only players with more are Ivan Rodriguez (2,427), Fisk (2,226) and Bob Boone (2,225).

– Retired as the game’s all-time leader in putouts by a catcher. He’d since been passed by Rodriguez, Jason Kendall and Brad Ausmus.

– Along with Yogi Berra, Jim Sundberg and Kendall, Carter is one of just four players to catch at least 90 percent of his team’s games in five different seasons (stolen from Tim Kurkijan’s fine obituary on ESPN.com).

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.