Chris Carpenter is a monster on the Baseball diamond!!
The words ‘work-horse’, ‘warrior’ and ‘champion’ are often banded around sporting circles to describe those larger than life characters whose battle-hardened approach to the game often sees their team-mates pale in comparison.
Chris Carpenter is all of those things… and more!!
I came across this card in a recent Blaster Box of 2012 Bowman (review to follow soon) and I don’t mind admitting it’s one of my favourite cards of last year!
Now THAT is raw emotion!! Look at that clenched right fist… The look on his face… His overall posture… COME ON!!!!!
Early in December I wrote about an article posted by Chris Mays called The Card of the Year which deals with Chris’ reaction to one particular Tim Hudson card from 2012 Topps. What struck me about Chris’ comments was that it was possible to have a visceral response to a Baseball card given the right set of circumstances.
And this is kind of what happened to me with this card!
The thing is I’m a huge Carpenter fan!! Have been for some time!
It all started back in 2005 when I had Carpenter on my fantasy team, the same year he went on to post a 21-5 record with a 2.83 ERA and 213 Ks, on his way to claiming his first and only Cy Young award.
Oh, my fantasy team came in 1st that year as well!
The Cardinals signed Carpenter prior to the 2003 season knowing he had an injury but hoping he’d be recovered by mid-season. Unfortunately he ended up sitting out the whole season but came back with a vengeance in 2004 helping the Cards win the NL Pennant for the first time since 1987. Sadly a nerve problem in his biceps ended his season prematurely in September, causing him to miss the 2004 World Series.
…And we all know how that ended, don’t we!
He has been sidelined with several injuries throughout his career with the Cards, including Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that sidelined him for most of last season with a nerve problem in his shoulder. As the most senior figure in the Cardinal’s clubhouse he returned in September 2012 to lead the Cards into the play-offs, including pitching 5 and 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 3 of the 2012 Division series against the Nationals.
Cardinal’s manager Mike Matheny recently said of Carpenter, “He’s a competitor like I’ve never seen. The guy just finds a different gear when it becomes his turn to do something special.”
So it was with a great deal of sadness that I read last week that the injury that had plagued Carpenter throughout 2012 was still affecting him, and will cause him to miss the 2013 season, his last in contract with St Louis!
No definitive statements have been made about Carpenter’s future, but at a recent press conference when asked whether he expected to see Carpenter pitch again, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak replied “It’s very unlikely. So, no,”
Whether this alluded to seeing Carpenter pitching in 2013, or whether he was talking more long term, is not certain. Carpenter himself has said previously that if he ever suffered any more setbacks with his health then he would consider retirement.
So who knows if we have seen Chris Carpenter pitch his last??
If that’s the case then the Cardinals will lose not only a great pitcher and team leader, but Baseball would be saying good-bye to one of it’s fiercest and hungriest competitors!