Thank You, Chris Carpenter

Photo Credit: Springfield Cardinals' Facebook page

Photo Credit: Springfield Cardinals’ Facebook page

If this latest setback is truly the end for Chris Carpenter, then dang, what a ride it has been over the past ten years. Given that time-frame and what he has been able to accomplish in a St. Louis uniform, I do not know if there is another major league pitcher I would have wanted on my team more than Carp.

197 regular season starts and 18 post-season starts later, Carpenter can officially go down as one of the Cardinals’ all-time greats.

Thus, in two words to describe ten years: thank you.

Thank you for the comebacks. Sure, it would have been nicer to be 100% healthy in a St. Louis uniform, but to be honest, I think the fans enjoyed the comebacks. It was always nice to know that Carp could be on his way back at any time, regardless of the injury.

Thank you for pitching well enough to have a .683 winning percentage (95-44) with the Cardinals.

Thank you for being one of the best post-season starting pitchers of all time–10-4 (.714 winning percentage) with a 3.00 earned-run average in 18 starts.

Thank you for the masterful performance against your buddy, Roy Halladay, in game five of the 2011 NLDS. Given the circumstances, I still think that was the best pitching performance I have ever seen. A 1-0, 3-hit shutout on the road against THE Roy Halladay? There is no way. Well, it happened, and it helped spring-load the team to the 2011 World Series.

Thank you for your performances in the 2006 and 2011 World Series. I don’t need to describe them because the table below sums them better than words can describe.

Credit: baseball-almanac.com

Credit: baseball-almanac.com

Thank you for this fantastic play in the 2011 World Series. Go ahead, you want to watch it again and again and again.

Huge thank you for your role in some of brawls with the Cincinnati Reds over the years. The Cardinals had been lacking a true rival since the Chicago Cubs disappeared into an abyss, so it was nice to have that one team that I just could not wait to see the Cardinals play against.

Lastly, thank you for not giving up this season even when the prognosis was poor and the outlook was cloudy. Most major leaguers would have packed it up and moved on to collect their last paychecks, but you battled your way through one last grueling comeback attempt.

Though your career statistics may not be seen as Cooperstown caliber, you’re a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer in St. Louis. If asked who was the face of the St. Louis Cardinals over the past ten seasons, the national media might say Albert Pujols, but you are most definitely not far behind.

It is going to be tough not seeing #29 out there on the mound next season, but the rotation is in good hands. Adam Wainwright has learned from the best over the past eight seasons, and if this season is any indicator, he has fully embraced the role as staff ace.

Thus, if this is the end of your playing career, thank you. I feel like I can speak for the majority of Cardinal Nation in saying that, too. Let’s hope the team can add one more ring to your collection before you officially retire. Also, like I said here about Darryl Kile, I could see Carp returning as the pitching coach some time in the future. Until then, though, I believe there will be an open invitation for him to join the team in Jupiter for Spring Training as a special instructor.

Until next time…

Joe

Follow me on Twitter: @stlCupOfJoe

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3 thoughts on “Thank You, Chris Carpenter

  1. Pingback: St. Louis Cardinals: Thank you, Chris Carpenter - StlSportsMinute.com : StlSportsMinute.com

  2. Carp wasn’t my favorite cardinal during his era, but I always enjoyed watching him and he was a winner. His time with stl was Hall of Fame worthy, just too bad his pre stl days will keep him out. I think the best thing to say about Carp is that stl was a better team because he was a part of it. This side of Gibson and Wainwright, I think best cardinal pitcher in Stl history.

  3. Well Written Joe!! Carp has been a personal favorite for me as he pitched with the same ferocity as Bob Gibson. As I young boy I asked Bob for an autograph, he scared the opposition as well as some of the fans. He gave me a huge smile said sure, I kept that for years till it was destroyed in a fire. Carp gave me that same in your face, hit me if you can attitude. To have so many great pitchers in one life time, StL has been blessed.

    I think Wainwright will pick up the baton for great pitching as Carp helped groom him. It takes greatness to teach the same. Matt C has Ozzie’s influence on his play. Insurance will never let the flip be repeated but we loved it just the same. Lets hope Carp does what McGuire, Mabry and others have done, return and teach the Cardinal way. Go Redbirds!!! Lets make October exciting in StL.

    Don Oliver
    Life long Cardinal fan

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