Chris Carpenter (carpech01)

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Christopher John Carpenter

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Biographical Information[edit]

In 2007, Chris Carpenter became the first pitcher ever to start on Opening Day and then miss the rest of the season. He only pitched a handful of games in the minor leagues because of injuries in 2003, and then missed almost all of the 2012 season also because of a nerve problem that caused numbness in the right side of his body. However, when he was healthy enough to pitch, he was generally outstanding.

Carpenter was 75-25 in his first 100 decisions for the St. Louis Cardinals. Only two other pitchers since 1900 had done so well in their first 100 decisions with a club - Pedro Martinez was 78-22 for the Boston Red Sox and Cy Young was 75-25, also for Boston.

Carpenter was the winner in the 7th game of the 2011 World Series over the Texas Rangers; he had earlier been the Cardinals' hero in the NLDS, when he outduelled Roy Halladay in pitching a 1-0 shutout over the Philadelphia Phillies in the deciding Game 5. That capped a relatively low-profile season, in which his record was only 11-9, with a 3.45 ERA, even though he led the National League in starts and innings pitched. His 4-0 record in the postseason was a key to the Cardinals becoming World Champions, however.

An injury during spring training in 2012 put a big dent on the Cardinals' hopes of repeating as champions, though, but they managed to overcome his absence. He finally made his season's debut on September 21st that year, with his team in the middle of a tight race for a wild card spot. He pitched five effective innings before giving up a home run to the Chicago Cubs' Darwin Barney and ending up with a no-decision as the Cubs won, 5-4, in extra innings. He ended the year with a record of 0-2 in 17 innings pitched, but had shown enough to be added to the Cardinals' postseason roster when they did make it to the postseason as the second wild card team in the National League. He pitched a great game in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals with 5 2/3 scoreless innings to lead the Cardinals to an 8-0 win. He was less sharp in the NLCS however, as he lost both of his starts against Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants. In Game 2, he gave up 5 runs in 4 innings to lose, 7-1, then in Game 6, he allowed another 5 runs in 4 innings for a 6-1 loss. In both cases, three of the runs he allowed were unearned, although in Game 2 it was his own error that had caused the problem.

Carpenter was back on the sidelines in spring training of 2013, dealing with more arm problems that manifested themselves with numbness and tingling sensations in his pitching arm, hand and shoulder. He said that at age 37, he was no longer willing to undergo surgery for the problem, hoping for rest and rehabilitation to the job. If not, he was ready to face the thought of retirement, however, satisfied with a very successful big league career. He felt sufficiently better to begin throwing off a mound in late May, and faced live batters for the first time in a simulated game in early June. However, he never made it back into a game, and after the season, on November 20th, he announced his retirement as an active player. He served one year in the Cardinals' front office, essentially in order to see if this was an area in which he wanted to work in the future, but decided to leave in December of 2014 to seek other avenues for his post-playing career.

He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2018 but received just 2 votes and dropped off the ballot.

He is not to be confused with contemporary pitcher Chris Carpenter, nor with Cris Carpenter, who spelled his first name differently and whose major league pitching career ended a year before Chris's began.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 3-time NL All-Star (2005, 2006 & 2010)
  • NL Cy Young Award Winner (2005)
  • 2004 NL Comeback Player of the Year Award
  • 2009 NL Comeback Player of the Year Award
  • NL ERA Leader (2009)
  • NL Winning Percentage Leader (2009)
  • NL Innings Pitched Leader (2011)
  • NL Complete Games Leader (2005)
  • NL Shutouts Leader (2006)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 5 (2004-2006, 2009 & 2010)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (2005)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 5 (2001, 2005, 2006, 2010 & 2011)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (2005)
  • Won two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and 2011

NL Cy Young Award
2004 2005 2006
Roger Clemens Chris Carpenter Brandon Webb

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jessica Kleinschmidt: "The Hall of Fame Case: Chris Carpenter", "Cut4",, January 7, 2018. [1]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Hall of Fame countdown: Chris Carpenter persevered through injury to produce compelling career", USA Today Sports, December 31, 2017. [2]
  • Joe Posnanski: "Carp or El Toro? It's an unexpected tossup: Comparing the careers of the longtime Cardinals ace to the mercurial Cubs fireballer",, December 31, 2017. [3]

Related Sites[edit]