Sponsored by Shea Stadium Remembered
One day after turning 31, and four months removed from a blockbuster deal with Montreal, perennial All-Star catcher Gary Carter debuts in orange and blue racing stripes at Shea Stadium. After their first winning record since 1976, the 90-win Mets went all in with Carter, shipping out three of their top prospects plus fan favorite Hubie Brooks. Carter, whose salary became too big for Montreal, led the NL with 106 RBI and batted a career-best .294 in 1984. With young pitchers like Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, and Dwight Gooden, making his first Opening Day start in 1985, the Mets needed a stellar signal-caller to guide the young staff; the lineup also needed a solid right-handed bat to help balance lefties Keith Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry. They fill both holes with The Kid.
The Cardinals drill Carter twice in his debut, including in his first Mets plate appearance. The Mets score twice in the first against Joaquin Andujar and still hold a one-run lead going in the ninth. Doug Sisk, coming off 15 saves and a 2.09 ERA in ’84, walks in the tying run with two outs. The game goes extra innings on a frigid afternoon with howling winds.
With one out in the 10th, Carter steps up against former Met Neil Allen, sent to the Cardinals another blockbuster deal (for Hernandez). Carter rips a line drive that clears the fence and Shea is instantly in love with Carter. The feeling is mutual.