Over 5 different seasons, Christopher Carpenter made 7 starts.
Not 7 starts per season. In 2003, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013 he was able to take the ball to start a professional baseball game for a Cardinals, a team that had playoff aspirations, a TOTAL of 7 times.
Yes, I'm aware that Mr. Carpenter retired this week; not trying to be a dick.
But for other teams, having their ace shelved for a half a decade would spell doom – the Cardinals had their best decade ever from 2003-2013.
For other players, having to go through 5 different grueling rehab assignments would be inhumane – Carp… well, are we sure he's for REAL real this time? Maybe we just rushed number 5 a bit?
It's a testament to what a beloved player we bore witness to in St. Louis.
Getting almost 40 million dollars in paychecks for 7 games started is something that athletes not named Chris Carpenter wouldn't get away with. They'd be blasted on sports talk radio and blogs for 'putting the team in a bad situation'. But in some odd way, it seemed worth it.
Almost a value, even?
His presence made the Cardinals believe. His grit was contagious. He was Bob Gibson for a different generation.
Guys, he had a rib removed so he could play baseball. A fucking rib. He put it in a mason jar and gave it to his daughter. And the Cardinals should go ahead and sign her right this very second.
It's probably en vogue to mention 'the duel' with Roy Halladay in the NLDS GM5 circa 2011 yesterday and today. Maybe it's just faulty memory. Maybe it's just nostalgia. But damn, if that wasn't one of the most intense baseball games I've ever seen.
Chris Carpenter took on the toughest city in America and didn't flinch. And if that primal roar at the end of his signature win didn't say it all about Carp, I don't know what does.
I'll always have this moment:
He's called it a career now. Let's hope the Cardinals do the smart thing and give him even more money. Because having Chris Carpenter around is kind of like keeping a bottle of Maker's in your house… never a bad idea.