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).

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp now have a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they’ve only played five innings of baseball.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?