July 5, 2022

From the Archives: “The Kid” Becomes ‘Grata’ Again

December 14, 2021 by · 1 Comment 

This is the third of a series of articles I wrote about infamous trades of the past in which a superstar player was dealt for multiple players of lesser talent or value. This was originally posted on March 18, 2008.

December 10, 1984: Expos catcher Gary Carter to the Mets for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, and Floyd Youmans.

Seven and a half years after trading Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver to the Reds, the New York Mets appeared to be on the positive side of a deal that brought All-Star catcher Gary Carter from the Montreal Expos in exchange for infielder Hubie Brooks, catcher Mike Fitzgerald, outfielder Herm Winningham, and pitching prospect Floyd Youmans. At the time of the trade, Carter was considered the game’s premier backstop, having supplanted future Hall of Famer Johnny Bench.

He was movie star handsome, outgoing, enthusiastic, athletic, and popular with fans and media. He was a three-sport star in high school who signed a letter of intent to play football at UCLA before deciding to sign with the Expos and begin his professional baseball career instead.

In his 11 years with the Expos, Carter was named to the National League All-Star team seven times and was twice named MVP of the All-Star Game. He finished second in Rookie of the Year balloting in 1975, and earned league MVP votes in all but one year from 1979 to 1984.

Despite his impressive resume (and possibly because of it), Carter’s tenure with Montreal had reached a crossroads following a disappointing 1984 season in which the Expos finished fifth in the National League East with a 78-83 record. It was Montreal’s worst showing since winning only 76 games in 1978 and Carter took much of the blame even after enjoying one of his best seasons.

It wasn’t what happened on the field that rankled Expos management as much as what was going on behind closed doors. Rumors of a divided clubhouse went public. “There has been talk of clubhouse intrigue, racial animosity, petty jealousy, and second-citizen syndrome (double taxation from the U.S. and Canada) for Expo players,” wrote the Street & Smith’s 1985 Baseball Yearbook.

Carter appeared to be in the middle of most, if not all, of it. He was baseball’s highest-paid player (annually), hauling down as much as $2 million a season after signing an eight-year deal with Expos management in 1982. When contract negotiations dragged on longer than many had hoped, Expos center fielder Andre Dawson warned that prolonged negotiations could cause dissension among Carter’s teammates.

“From what I understand, he’s asking for $2 million,” Dawson said. “I hate to say that’s ridiculous but that’s what it boils down to. Personally, I feel that if he wants that much, the team won’t sign him. And if we’re not going to sign him, we should get something for him while we can and not be like some teams who have lost free agents and gotten nothing. We could get a good young catcher, someone like (Mike) Scioscia or (Rick) Cerone.”

But the Expos did sign him. On February 11, 1982, it was reported that the backstop agreed to an eight-year deal that would pay him an estimated $15 million. Carter refused to go into detail about the pact, except to say it “compares favorably with those of Mike Schmidt and Dave Winfield.” In fact, it was Winfield’s 10-year, $23 million deal with the Yankees that served as Carter’s benchmark during negotiations.

Murray Chase described the pact in the New York Times five days after the sides agreed on the new deal. Chass reported the deal was for seven years and called for $14 million and that Carter had received a $2 million signing bonus. The contract also called for incentive bonuses for games caught, awards won, and attendance at Olympic Stadium, which had the potential to make the deal worth as much as $17 million. Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post called Carter’s contract signing, “…the latest trickle of ice water to chill the game’s spine.”

Expos president John McHale explained the contract was an extension of the deal Carter signed in 1978 that paid him $115,000 for the first three years and $125,000 over the final two. He also signed a five-year promotional services contract worth $85,000 a year, putting his total salary in the $200,000 a year range.

“We look back at four great years Carter has given us at a salary well below the market,” McHale explained, “so we see this as dividing the package by 12 years.” McHale justified the contract by comparing Carter’s defense to Hall of Famer Roy Campanella and his offense to Bench. But the March 6 edition of The Sporting News painted a picture that was more Edvard Munch than Norman Rockwell.

Carter was exuberant but Expos president John McHale was not. The Expos’ chief executive is concerned about multi-million dollar contracts, such as Carter’s. McHale refused to pose for pictures after the signing.

“I’m happy that Carter is an Expos player forever and I’m certainly happy that this business is over with,” McHale said, “but I’m not in the mood to celebrate.”

…”We did what we had to do,” McHale said when he emerged from a final session with Carter, his wife Sandy, and agents Moss and Petrie. “Very simply, we cannot win without a Gary Carter.”

Later, McHale said, “The reason that I couldn’t jump up and down with excitement is the system. The price for this kind of contract defies any kind of business logic.

“The system makes it happen. If we want to win, we have to go along and make things happen. There’s no alternative.

“The question for our board of directors was did they want to go heroic or did they want to try to win the pennant. “There was only one answer and we cannot win without Carter.”

Unfortunately, the Expos couldn’t win with Gary Carter either, at least not when it counted. From their inception in 1969 to 1974 when Carter made his big league debut, the Expos’ season-high in victories was 79 and they never finished higher than fourth. After a cup of coffee in ’74, Carter joined the team for good in 1975 and spent most of his time in right field while also serving as catcher Barry Foote’s backup. He hit .270 with 17 homers and 68 RBIs and finished second to Giants pitcher John Montefusco in Rookie of the Year voting. The Expos went 75-87 and finished in fifth place in the National League East.

Carter suffered through a sophomore slump in his second season, made worse by a fractured thumb that required surgery, during which a pin was inserted to speed the healing process. He batted only .219 with six homers and 38 RBIs in 91 games in 1976 while splitting time between catcher and right field again, and the Expos lost 20 more games than they had in 1975, finishing at a major league-worst 55-107.

He was named Montreal’s starting catcher in 1977 and the 23-year-old responded with his best season to date, belting 31 home runs, driving in 84, and hitting .284. Buoyed by the addition of several new players, including Dawson, who was named the National League’s top rookie, and veteran first baseman Tony Perez, the Expos improved to 75-87 but finished 26 games behind the first-place Phillies. Montreal rewarded Carter for his fine performance by signing him to a five-year deal. By all accounts, Carter was thrilled with the deal and hoped to make a permanent home in Montreal.

His up-and-down career slid south in 1978 when his slugging percentage dropped more than 100 points, but he hit 20 homers, scored 76 runs, and drove in 72 to help lead the Expos to a 76-86 record and fourth-place finish. He rebounded in 1979 to hit .283 with 22 homers and 75 runs batted in and was named to his second All-Star team. He also received MVP support, earning a first-place vote and finishing just behind Pete Rose and just ahead of Bill Madlock. More importantly, the Expos stunned everyone when they went 95-65 under manager Dick Williams and finished only two games behind the eventual World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

That began a six-year run in which Carter was named to the N.L. All-Star team each year, finished among the top 20 in MVP balloting in every year but 1983, and won three Gold Gloves. The Expos benefited as well, finishing over .500 for five straight seasons, before falling below that mark in 1984. Carter belted 29 homers and drove in a career-high 101 runs in 1980 and finished behind only Mike Schmidt in MVP voting. Montreal went 90-72 and finished only a game behind the Phillies, who would go on to defeat the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.

During the 1981 offseason, Dick Williams insisted that Carter was the best catcher in the game. Johnny Bench echoed Williams’ sentiments a month later. Pete Donovan of the Los Angeles Times predicted Carter would be named the N.L.’s MVP. Carter felt such high praise should be accompanied by more money.

“I love the Expos and they’ve treated me fine,” he told reporter Milton Richman. “But I’ll be 27 in a few days and if I’m being looked on as the best catcher in baseball, it’s only natural for me to associate that with my salary.” Carter was not only making much less than catchers Darrell Porter and Ted Simmons, but he was making less than most of the players on Montreal’s active roster.

Donovan predicted the National League pennant would go to either Montreal or Los Angeles, while the A.L. flag would be won by Milwaukee or Kansas City. He almost nailed it. The Brewers and Royals made the postseason thanks to a decision by then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn to split the strike-shortened season in half. Milwaukee earned its spot thanks to an A.L. best 62-47 record, but they needed to win the second half in order to face the Yankees in the playoffs (the Yankees won the first half). Kansas City finished with a sub-.500 record on the season, but won the A.L. West’s second half for the right to play the first-half winning Oakland A’s.

The Expos won the N.L. East’s second-half division title and finished with the East’s second-best record behind the Cardinals who were shut out of the postseason despite finishing with a division-leading .578 winning percentage. Because St. Louis won neither half of the season, they were forced to watch the playoffs from the comfort of their own homes, while Philadelphia and Montreal battled for the right to play in the NLCS. The Cincinnati Reds suffered the same fate. They finished with the best winning percentage in baseball, but took second place in both halves, leaving the door open for the Dodgers and Astros.

Montreal took the five-game series with the Phillies, three games to two, while the Dodgers defeated the Astros by the same margin, setting up an Expos/Dodgers NLCS just as Donovan had predicted. The NLCS kicked off at Dodger Stadium with a 5-1 Los Angeles win, then, to add insult to injury, a French-language daily newspaper in Montreal called La Presse reported prior to Game 2 that Carter had rejected an offer from the Expos that would have paid him $1.3 million a year for eight years and that he wanted to play for the Dodgers. Carter denied the rumors, claiming he and the Expos had agreed not to discuss his contract until the offseason.

The Expos won the next two contests and needed to win only one more game to advance to their first World Series. But Los Angeles took Game 4, setting up a memorable Game 5 showdown that went down to the wire. The Expos scored a run in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead over Dodger southpaw Fernando Valenzuela before L.A. retaliated with a run of their own in the fifth to knot the game at one apiece.

By that time, Valenzuela had settled down and was dominating Montreal’s hitters. Expos starter Ray Burris was equally effective, suffering from only one bad inning, during which the tying run scored. With the score still tied at 1-1 in the top of the ninth, Montreal manager Jim Fanning, who had replaced Williams mid-way through the second half of the season, removed Burris from the game.

Rather than rely on a bullpen that had been battered by the Dodgers in two of the first four games, Fanning brought in staff ace Steve Rogers. Rogers retired the first two batters, but surrendered a solo homer to Dodgers outfielder Rick Monday and, for all intents and purposes, the game and series were over. It would be the closest the franchise would ever come to the Fall Classic.

The playoff loss was hardly Carter’s fault as he hit .429 in 10 games vs. the Phillies and Dodgers with two homers and six RBIs. But that didn’t stop trade rumors from circulating only a day after Los Angeles wrapped up its World Series victory over the Yankees. The Hartford Courant reported that Carter would be dealt to the Yankees for catcher Rick Cerone, who had traded obscenities with Yankee owner George Steinbrenner during the ALCS after Steinbrenner criticized Cerone’s performance.

Ross Newhan reported in the Los Angeles Times in late October that the Dodgers couldn’t wait to pursue Carter after he became a free agent following the 1982 season. Meanwhile, the Yankees were attempting to acquire players that would allow them to offer Montreal more than just Cerone. The plan was to sign Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy, who was expected to file for free agency, to a contract, then offer Montreal a package that included Cerone, incumbent second baseman Willie Randolph, and minor league pitcher Brian Ryder.

Carter, however, remained optimistic that he and the Expos could reach an agreement on a new deal prior to the 1982 season. In early December, McHale admitted he was “encouraged” by the negotiations. Three weeks later, McHale reported that negotiations had ended and that Carter was weighing Montreal’s offer. When asked how he’d come to his $2 million a year asking price, Carter responded, “The standard was set by Dave Winfield…What is Dave Winfield worth to the Yankees? What is Gary Carter worth to the Expos?”

He backed off that statement a while later, telling reporters, “I didn’t say that they had to give me $2 million. I said that owners set the standard when they paid that to Winfield and (Mike) Schmidt. I want my share. What’s wrong with that?”

But the Expos did offer him $2 million a year and Carter finally signed on the dotted line. If there was resentment among his teammates it wasn’t immediately obvious. “If anybody is jealous of Gary Carter and his colossal contract, it doesn’t show,” wrote Joe Falls in March 1982. “His teammates walk by. They look over and grin. ‘Way to go Knox’, they call out. He looks back and grins. That’s what they call him now ”Knox, as in Ft. Knox.”

But there was resentment among a few members of the media, who were incredulous that a hitter with a career .265 batting average could command so much money. The Christian Science Monitor’s Melvin Maddocks compared the salaries of Carter, Winfield, and Schmidt to those of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s conductor and the president of Harvard, both of whom earned just over $300,000 combined. “Do we really think that money makes Gary Carter ten times as interesting as the conductor of the Boston Symphony?” he asked. “At times like these, the ever-present price tag on American life is a bit of a comedy that can make you laugh until you cry.”

Fans were a bit resentful as well. Booing at enemy stadiums was louder than normal, especially at Shea Stadium in New York, which was ironic considering Mets fans reserved their loudest ovations for slugger George Foster who had recently landed a lucrative deal of his own. Carter responded by enjoying his best season ever, finishing with a .293 average, 29 homers, and 97 RBIs and reaching base at a career-best .381 clip. Apparently, the fans’ attitude towards Carter softened as the season progressed–he was the top vote-getter in All-Star balloting, receiving almost 2.8 million votes. The Expos went 86-76 under Fanning and finished in third place, six games back of the first-place Cardinals.

Carter’s numbers tailed off a bit in 1983 (although he established a new career-high in doubles with 37), but the fans continued to support him in All-Star voting, making him the highest vote-getter among National Leaguers for the second straight season. But Expos fans turned on him not long after. So did team management. Montreal was only a game-and-a-half out of first place going into September and Carter had just enjoyed his best month of the season, hitting .337 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 26 games.

Carter’s bat had cooled off over the latter part of August, however, and he hadn’t homered since August 17, a span of 19 games and 69 at-bats. He wasn’t hitting in the clutch and he wasn’t hitting well with runners in scoring position. He was being booed in Montreal.

Despite Carter’s troubles, Montreal was on Philadelphia’s heels in early September. Carter homered twice in a 10-9 win over the Mets on September 10 to break his long ball drought and propelled the Expos into first place. But they couldn’t maintain their momentum and Montreal went 9-13 over their final 22 games, finishing in third place, eight games behind the Phillies. Carter didn’t help his cause when he immediately suffered another power outage, failing to homer in his final 21 games. From August 18 to October 2, Carter homered only twice in his last 145 at-bats of the season and finished the campaign with only 17. It was his lowest non-strike year total since 1976.

A few weeks before the season ended, Expos owner Charles Bronfman went on a radio talk show in Montreal and said that it was a mistake to sign Carter to such a lucrative deal and that he was sorry he’d agreed to it. “Two months before Carter signed the contract, we were perfectly aware we were making a mistake,” said Bronfman. “The next day, and a month later, we still knew we were wrong. I’ll know it until my dying day, and I’m not just saying that because Carter had a bad year.”

Carter dismissed Bronfman’s remarks and insisted he wanted to remain with the Expos organization. “I think the owner was frustrated and he came down on me,” Carter told the New York Times. “I feel that I’m part of the reason why we didn’t win. I tried my best but I didn’t have a Gary Carter year. I just have to handle it in a dignified way. I’ll have to come back and make them eat their words.”

As winter approached, rumors of a trade with the Cubs began to surface. The Chicago Tribune reported on November 29, 1983 that the Cubs had approached the Expos with an offer that would send catcher Jody Davis, first baseman Leon Durham, and an outfielder (either Carmelo Martinez or Joe Carter) to Montreal for Carter and pitcher Steve Rogers. A week later, the Expos insisted their catcher was going nowhere, but they’d entertain offers for Rogers. Both ended up staying in Montreal. Amid the trade rumors, there were also reports of a “cancer” in the Montreal clubhouse and, though no names were mentioned, Carter felt the reports were directed at him.

His relationship with the press cooled considerably and he announced in March 1984 that he would speak to reporters only after games. His stance was quite a turnaround for someone George Vescey once called “a hyper-version of Steve Garvey, with fewer three-piece suits.”

“Both players see baseball as a seven-digit-a-year profession that includes kissing a few babies, shaking a few hands, and posing for a few amateur photographers,” Vescey wrote. “Depth is not the issue; image is.”

Expos management made a handful of offseason moves, one of which brought 43-year-old Pete Rose to Montreal to platoon at first base and in left field. On the surface it was a perfect marriage–Rose had nowhere else to go and by signing him to a two-year deal the Expos were all but guaranteed of having him in a Montreal uniform when he finally broke Ty Cobb’s hit record. But the signing proved to be anything but perfect.

Rose batted only .259 with an anemic .295 slugging percentage in 95 games before he was traded to the Reds in mid-August for light-hitting infielder Tom Lawless. He also proved to be a divisive force in the clubhouse, adding to the tension that already existed. Carter accused Rose of caring only about Cobb’s record and that he didn’t bring the leadership to the Expos that was expected of him. Rose accused the Expos of fostering a losing attitude and said Carter didn’t have the “right approach to the game” and that he needed to grow up. He then singled out third baseman Tim Wallach and outfielders Tim Raines and Andre Dawson as the only Montreal players he respected.

The Expos finished below .500 in 1984 and fell to fifth place in the N.L. East. Carter rebounded from his sub-par 1983 season and batted a career-high .294 with 27 home runs and a career-best 106 RBIs. He was named to the All-Star team, won his third silver slugger award, and finished 14th in MVP voting. Except for the Rose/Carter exchanges, Autumn was relatively quiet and there were no rumors to stoke the flames of the hot stove league. Instead, the Expos simply traded Carter without fanfare. On December 10, Montreal sent Carter to the Mets for infielder Hubie Brooks, catcher Mike Fitzgerald, outfielder Herm Winningham, and pitching prospect Floyd Youmans.

Of the players the Expos received, Brooks was the only established member of the bunch. He hit .309 during a cup of coffee stint in 1980, then batted .307 in 1981 and finished third in Rookie of the Year balloting, raising hopes among Mets management (and fans) that they’d finally found someone to fill the vacuum at third base that had existed since the team’s inception in 1962. Prior to Brooks’ arrival, Wayne Garrett had been the only third sacker in team history to play more than 250 games at the hot corner and he batted only .237 with an OPS of .691 during his eight-year run with the team.

Brooks had batted .305 and .297 in his last two minor league seasons before going to the Mets, so there was no reason to believe he wouldn’t continue that trend. But he batted .249 in 1982 and .251 in 1983 with little power, before finally breaking out in 1984, hitting .283 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs. He was a below-average third baseman, however, and the Mets were planning on moving him to shortstop before they dealt him to Montreal.

Fitzgerald was never much of a hitter, although he batted .312 in Double-A in 1981 and hit .284 with 14 homers for Tidewater in 1983, and his arm was weak and erratic, especially compared to Carter’s, but he earned praise for his ability to call games. He batted only .242 with two homers and 33 RBIs in his first test at the big league level. According to The Scouting Report: 1985 many within the Mets’ organization were high on Fitzgerald’s future, but TSR felt he “needed to improve several facets of his game to have a solid career.”

Winningham showed promise in the minors, stealing 50 bases for Single-A Lynchburg in 1982, then hitting .354 in Double-A in 1983 before being called up to Triple-A Tidewater. He hit .281 for Tidewater in 1984, then batted .407 in 14 games with the Mets after a late-season call-up.

Youmans was perhaps the most promising of the four. He was only 20 years old at the time of the trade and had not only been a former high school teammate of Dwight Gooden but was considered as good as, if not better than, Doc. Youmans used a fastball clocked in the low 90s to dominate hitters, but he had trouble controlling it, which resulted in high walk totals. He went 12-3 with a 3.42 ERA in the Sally League in 1983, then went 11-9 with a 4.30 ERA between Class-A Lynchburg and Double-A Jackson in 1984.

Though the Expos were getting four young and promising players, Jerome Holtzman called the trade a “steal” for the Mets and suggested that Charles Bronfman’s only concern was shedding salary and that he’d chosen to go the “Calvin Griffith route.” When told of the Mets’ desire to acquire Carter, Bronfman reportedly told John McHale, “Good, we just saved $8 million.” Someone within the Expos organization insisted Bronfman and McHale didn’t get enough for Carter. Holtzman agreed, calling Fitzgerald “below average” and questioning Youmans’ control.

The New York Times‘ Joe Durso reported that the trade had been in the works for 14 months, but it wasn’t until new Expos general manager Murray Cook asked for permission to trade Carter in an effort to shake up the club that talks got serious. The Mets were thrilled with the deal, especially since they went into the offseason looking for a right-handed power hitter and a catcher. Filling both holes with one player was a bonus. Carter was equally excited to be going to the Mets. He waived his veto rights as a 10-and-5 player because he felt his addition to an already solid nucleus would lead the Mets to a World Series title.

Besides that, he was tired of being blamed for the ills that plagued the Expos. Carter met with Cook in late November and suggested that perhaps it was time for him to move on and that if Cook wanted to trade him, he wouldn’t object (Carter had a no-trade clause in his contract that prevented him from being dealt to the Dodgers, Braves, or Angels).

The Mets refused to part with Brooks until they were able to acquire another third baseman. They sent pitcher Walt Terrell to the Tigers for Howard Johnson on December 7, and three days later the Carter deal was made official. Sharon Edwards, a former motion picture executive and full-time Mets fan, lamented what she called the “Yankification” of the Mets. “Well, the Mets, that hardscrabble club that prides itself on bringing up babies, have gone and succumbed to a Yankee-type trade,” she wrote in the New York Times.

Most, however, cited the obvious, that the trade strengthened the Mets and put them among the National League’s elite. They had already taken a giant step in 1984 under new manager Davey Johnson when they won 90 games and finished in second place, 6 1/2 games behind the Cubs. Maury Allen predicted a two-team race in the N.L. East in 1985, giving the Cubs the edge over the Mets, and he picked the Expos to finish third. About Carter, Allen wrote, “The big bucks and his teammates’ jealousies at Montreal made him persona non grata. With New York, he is grata, the guy who is supposed to lead them to October festivities.”

McHale couldn’t wait to see how the Expos would respond to the loss of their superstar catcher. “Now we will see what kind of stuff this club is made of. They won’t have Gary Carter to kick around anymore.”

The Mets improved by eight games over their 1984 record, going 98-64, but the Cardinals improved by 17 wins, going 101-61, and finished three games ahead of New York. The Expos finished third as Allen predicted, while the Cubs fell to fourth. Carter acclimated well to the Big Apple, belting a career-high 32 homers and driving in 100 runs to go along with a .281 average.

Brooks hit .269 with 13 homers and paced the Expos with 100 RBIs, becoming the first N.L. shortstop to drive in that many since Ernie Banks in 1960. Fitzgerald hit only .207 for Montreal but received praise from Expos pitchers for his ability to call a good game, something Carter rarely received from Expos hurlers. Even though Carter was no longer an Expo, he was still being “kicked around.” Winningham was prematurely thrust into center field and struggled to hit .237 with a weak .297 on-base percentage.

He vowed to match speedster Tim Raines stolen base for stolen base but fell 50 short of Rock’s 70. Youmans was called up from the minors in mid-season to help solidify Montreal’s injury-riddled pitching staff and he was fantastic in 14 appearances, going 4-3 with a nifty 2.45 ERA.

Carter’s premonition about the Mets’ bright future came true in 1986 when he helped them dominate the National League to the tune of a 108-54 record, then led them to a World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox. He hit 24 round-trippers and drove in a team-leading 105 runs, then belted two homers and drove in a team-best nine runs in the seven-game Series against Boston. For his efforts, he placed third in N.L. MVP balloting, finishing behind Mike Schmidt and Houston first baseman Glenn Davis.

Meanwhile, Montreal fell below .500 in ’86 and finished in fourth place. Brooks was enjoying his best season and leading the National League in hitting (.340) and slugging (.569) on August 1 when he tore ligaments in his thumb while batting in the ninth inning of a game against the Mets. He missed the rest of the season and finished at .340 with 14 homers and 58 RBIs. Ironically, Fitzgerald, who was also enjoying his best season (.282/.364/.440), was lost for the season in the same game after a foul tip fractured his right index finger and tore ligaments. Winningham lost his starting job to Mitch Webster and batted only .216 in 185 at-bats. Youmans anchored the pitching staff and went 13-12 with a 3.53 ERA and struck out 202 batters in 219 innings. He also walked a league-worst 118 batters.

Carter spent three more seasons with the Mets from 1987 to 1989, but his skills began to fade and he was released following the 1989 season. He signed with the Giants in 1990 and platooned with Terry Kennedy behind the plate; moved on to the Dodgers in 1991 and platooned with Mike Scioscia; then returned to Montreal in 1992 for one last hurrah. He finished his career with a .262 average, 324 home runs, 1,225 RBIs, and 1,025 runs, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

Brooks played for 15 seasons, five of them in Montreal, but never came close to reaching the levels he achieved in 1986. He hit 20 homers in a season twice (1988 and 1990) and drove in as many as 90 runs twice (also ’88 and ’90). After leaving the Expos via free agency following the 1989 season, he played for the Dodgers, Mets, Angels and Royals and finished his career with a .269 mark, 149 homers, and 824 RBIs.

Fitzgerald spent most of his 10-year career with Montreal, playing for the Expos from 1985 to 1991, but he never became a regular and split time with guys like Jeff Reed, Nelson Santovenia, Jerry Goff, and Gilberto Reyes. He left the Expos via free agency after the ’91 season and finished his career with the Angels, for whom he played only one year before landing in Triple-A New Orleans. Fitzgerald retired in 1993 with a career .235 average, 48 homers, and 293 RBIs.

Winningham played for nine seasons and bounced around between Montreal, Cincinnati, and Boston, hitting .239 with 19 homers, 147 RBIs, and 105 steals in 868 games. He played a small part in the Reds’ 1990 run to a World Series title, hitting .364 in parts of five games.

Youmans’ career lasted only five years, having been derailed by injuries and drugs. He was placed on the disabled list multiple times in 1987 with a sore elbow, was slapped with a 60-day suspension in 1988 for “failing to comply with his drug-testing program,” then underwent arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder in 1989. He spent four years with Montreal and one with the Phillies, compiling a career record of 30-34 and posting a 3.74 ERA in 94 games.

Scoring the Carter trade with WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player)


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