Cards All-Time Top 40 – Chris Carpenter #37

Next up in our Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals players of all-time is the club's ace starter and former Cy Young Award winner, Chris Carpenter.

Christopher John Carpenter

The Basics

Position

Throw

Total Yrs

Yrs in StL

W

ERA

SO

SV

Pitcher

Right

1997-Present

2004-Present

51

3.09

649

0

The Awards

Hall of Fame

Retired #

World Champ

All-Star

MVP

Cy Young

Gold Glove

NA

NA

1

2

 -

2005

 -

Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
Carpenter's career stats available from baseball-reference.com.

Voter Comments

Jerry Modene (40): Carpenter's inclusion on this list might seem awfully premature, given that he's only been in a Cardinal uniform for three years (four if you count his injury season of 2003) but he's just been so good – hands-down our best pitcher all three of his years with the Cards, one Cy Young to his credit and at least a reasonable mention in his other two seasons.

Overall, Carp is already in 56th place on the all-time wins list with 51; combine that with just 18 losses and we get an average Carpenter season as 17-6. Add to that a 3.10 ERA (remarkable in this age of pinball-baseball) and a 183/44 average annual K/BB ratio, and you've got the complete package.

Moreover, consider that a good major league pitcher is often judged as one who wins half his starts – not half his decisions, but half his starts. In Carpenter's case, he's won 51 of his 93 career Cardinal starts, which is just a shade under 55%.

The only reason Carpenter doesn't rate even higher in my book is because he's only had the three seasons thus far; but the level of performance he's given us to date not only justifies my rating him #40 on the list, but also justifies the well-deserved big-bucks contract extension awarded him this past winter.

Ray Mileur (35): The 2005 National League Cy Young Award honoree was the first Cardinal to win that award since Bob Gibson in 1970. A couple of seasons from now, trust me, Chris Carpenter is going to move up significantly on any All-Time St. Louis Cardinals list.

In just three seasons with St. Louis, he has won a National League Cy Young Award, the 2005 Players Choice Award for National League Outstanding Pitcher, the 2004 National League Comeback Player of the Year Award and twice has been named The Sporting News National League Pitcher of the Year and to the N.L. All-Star team.

The Cardinals recently signed Carpenter to a three-year extension after exercising their 2008 club option, locking up one of the best pitchers in the game through 2011 with a club option for 2012. My ranking may have as much to do with his potential as a Cardinal as with his significant accomplishments to date.

Rob Rains (NR): In a few more years, if Carpenter continues to pitch as he has so far in his St. Louis career, another top 40 ranking likely will find Carpenter higher up on the list. In only three healthy years, he has compiled a 51-18 record and led St. Louis to two NL pennants, a World Series title and earned the team's first Cy Young award since Bob Gibson in 1970. He has posted a 3.10 ERA in his Cardinal career, with his 3.09 mark in 2006 good for second in the NL, barely missing becoming the first Cardinal to win an ERA title since Joe Magrane in 1988.

Brian Walton (34): My colleagues have already most eloquently made the arguments in favor of Carpenter's inclusion here. So, let me cut to the chase.

Given the level of competition and parity across Major League Baseball today, think about how difficult it is getting to the top and staying there. In the last ten years, only one club other than the New York Yankees has appeared in two World Series in any three-year period - the St. Louis Cardinals.

Does anyone think the Cardinals could have ascended to these heights without Chris Carpenter heading up their rotation? I don't.

History will affirm that just as Bob Gibson anchored the staff in the glory days of the 1960's, so has Carpenter led the Cardinals from the mound in this decade of prosperity. And the best news is that the run isn't done, either for the Cardinals or Carpenter personally.

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

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