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.
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…
Follow me on Twitter: @stlCupOfJoe
- Strauss: Carpenter’s latest setback comes with sense of finality (stltoday.com)
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- Come September, Rosenthal Should Replace Mujica as Closer (stlsportsminute.com)