Christopher John Carpenter (born April 27, 1975) is an American special assistant to the St. Louis Cardinals general manager and a retired professional baseball starting pitcher. He played 15 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays and Cardinals from 1997 to 2012. The 2005 National League Cy Young Award winner and two-time World Series champion, he was also a three-time All-Star selection. In addition, he was twice named the Sporting News National League Pitcher of the Year, and voted for a number of Comeback Player of the Year awards for surmounting injury.
The Blue Jays selected Carpenter in the first round of the 1993 amateur draft from Trinity High School in New Hampshire, and he made his MLB debut in 1997 as a heralded prospect. However, injuries and ineffectiveness delayed a promising career before the Blue Jays released him in 2002. After the Cardinals signed him, he emerged as an ace in 2004, becoming one of the most dominating starters in the sport. He won the Cy Young Award in 2005 and helped lead the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011. For much of his career, Carpenter showed a marked ability to command the strike zone with a cutter that produced a heavy bore and finished with a sharp drop, a 12-to-6 curveball and a sinker.
Multiple career-threatening injuries – including three major surgeries on his elbow, two on his shoulder and another on his rib cage – caused Carpenter to miss nearly five full seasons. However, just as his competitive nature during games helped cement his status as the leader of the Cardinals' pitching staff, it won him further notoriety as he returned to pitch after each of these injuries. In nine seasons playing for the Cardinals, he won 95 regular-season games and compiled a 3.07 ERA in 197 starts and 1348 2⁄3 innings pitched. His .683 winning percentage during that period led the Major Leagues. In 18 postseason starts, he proved no less difficult of an opponent, winning 10 games with a 3.00 ERA over 108 innings.
By Dean Hanley
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