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Former New York Mets Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter died Thursday at age 57.
"I am deeply saddened to tell you all that my precious dad went to be with Jesus today at 4:10 pm.," his daughter Kimmy Bloemers wrote on the family's website. "This is the most difficult thing I have ever had to write in my entire life but I wanted you all to know. He is in heaven and has reunited with his mom and dad. I believe with all my heart that dad had a STANDING OVATION as he walked through the gates of heaven to be with Jesus."
The Carter family has granted ESPN access to the family website to inform the public.
Carter originally was diagnosed with four brain tumors last May. In recent months, the family hoped that, with chemotherapy and other treatments, the tumors were in check. But in January, the family revealed that doctors found several new tumors on Carter's brain.
Carter made a public appearace at the beginning of the month, going to Opening Day for the college baseball team he coached.
Last spring, after experiencing headaches and forgetfulness, Carter underwent an MRI that revealed four small tumors.
Carter, an 11-time All Star, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 after retiring in 1992. He finished his 19-year career with a .262 average, 324 home runs and 1,225 RBIs.
"Gary's enthusiasm, giving spirit and infectious smile will always be remembered in Cooperstown," said Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "Our thoughts are with Sandy, Christy, Kimmie, DJ and the entire Carter family on this very sad day."
The effervescent Carter, nicknamed "Kid," is perhaps best known for helping the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series. He had 24 homers and 105 RBIs that season, then drove in 11 runs in the playoffs.
"When you think of the great baseball field generals, you think Gary Carter," Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said in a statement. "He ran the game from behind the plate with strong leadership and passion. The Kid's contribution to our national pastime is big, but his heart was even bigger. We'll always remember his caring way, ever-present smile and strong devotion to family, community and the Baseball Hall of Fame."
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Gary lived less than 10 miles from me here in Florida. Everyone I have met in my short time here in Florida that knew him or met with him say he was nothing but the best there is.
My simple Gary Carter story was knowing that he collected baseball cards for his kids and bought every complete set since the day each of his kids were born. After reading that in the mid 1980's I decided to do the same and bought Topps, Fleer, Donruss and all the others each year for my boys. At least until the excess amount of cards that began being printed in the 1990's.