KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros manager Brad Mills, a former teammate of Gary Carter, made the more than 2 1/2-hour drive to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., along with his wife on Friday night to attend a memorial service for the Hall of Fame catcher, who died of brain cancer on Feb. 16. The pair were teammates with the Expos from 1980-83.
More than 1,000 former teammates, friends and members of Carter's family paid tribute to him.
"It was an outstanding memorial service," Mills said. "It was nice to see the family afterwards, and obviously there were a lot of baseball people there, but it was a very nice service. Johnny Bench spoke and did a great job, Tommy Hutton did a great job and [Carter's] children did a great job."
Carter and Mills played very different roles with the Expos, but Mills remembers him being down to earth. Carter was the starting catcher who was well en route to a Hall of Fame career, while Mills was a bench player who never played more than 54 games in any of his four seasons in Montreal.
"He got close to a lot of people simply because that's how he was," Mills said. "Our family and our wives became close. He wanted to be a good teammate, wanted to play on a winner and be a good player on any ballclub he was with. He did that with our ballclub in Montreal when we were one of the best teams in the NL, and he did the same thing with the Mets. He'll be missed."