Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/6/13
Chris Carpenter will be remembered for two reasons that fall on complete opposite ends of the baseball spectrum and that rarely go hand in hand: success and injuries. But while the latter prohibited Carpenter from carving out a resume worthy of Cooperstown, the pitcher should take solace in what he did accomplish, because it’s far greater than even some Hall of Fame careers. Whenever a player endures an injury plagued career, he’s viewed in one of two ways. He’s either seen as frail and injury prone, or he’s seen as the unfortunate victim of a lack of luck. If Carpenter’s recent injury setback does spell the end of his big league career, which is a very real possibility, no one should look back with anything but admiration. Time and time again, Carpenter picked himself up off the mat, and he amazingly put together a very impressive career, something that so often seemed like an unattainable goal. Carpenter was a middling major leaguer during his early years in Toronto before a change of scenery, which so often can alter one’s career path, sent him in the right direction. Carpenter, whose injury woes and lack of consistency with the Blue Jays led to a 49-50 record, a 4.83 ERA and a one-way ticket out of town, arrived in St. Louis with a chip on his shoulder. The new home didn’t mean an easier road for Carpenter, but it proved to be a more fruitful one. Carpenter sat out all of 2003 because of a shoulder issue after being signed by the Cardinals. Fortunately for the Cards,  Band-Aids and pain killers weren’t going to be enough to derail Carpenter’s career, as the former first-round pick finally started to display his immense potential with a 15-win campaign in 2004. In the two years following that, Carpenter gained a reputation as one of the best pitchers in baseball, winning 21 games and a Cy Young award in 2005 and winning his first World Series title in 2006. While 2007 and 2008 marked another unfortunate tumble in the wrong direction, with the 6-foot-6 righty making just five appearances during that period, the chip on his shoulder proved to be a driving force, and Carpenter once again established himself as a bona fide ace from 2009 to 2011. It’s rare that you a see a player get hit with such adversity and stand his ground. It’s even rarer that a player gets dealt vicious blow after vicious blow and responds by throwing back haymaker after haymaker of his own. Yet Carpenter went toe to toe with each opponent he encountered, which more often than not was a nagging injury. Carpenter is 10-4 with a 3.00 ERA in postseason play, and is widely considered one of the best playoff pitchers of all time. Not only are the numbers good looking, but he also has the iconic moments to go with them. Carpenter pitched eight shutout innings against the Tigers in Game 3 of the 2006 World Series. He tossed six solid frames in Game 7 of the 2011 Fall Classic on three days’ rest. And who could forget his complete-game shutout over Roy Halladay and the Phillies in a decisive Game 5 in enemy territory in the 2011 NLDS? But one moment that stands out came during last season’s NLDS against the Nationals. Carpenter pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings to help put St. Louis up 2-1 in the series, just months after Carpenter’s season was once again thought to be over because of an injury. It wasn’t a beautiful performance by any means, and in the grand scheme of  things, it was far from his most important one. However, it symbolized exactly what Carpenter’s career has been all about. Has it been a pretty career for Carpenter? Nope. In fact, few have been uglier. But it’s better to come away from the fight a bruised and bloodied winner than as someone who wasn’t even willing to come out of the corner for Round 2. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Cult of Sport: Before there was Ezekiel Elliott, there was Eric Dickerson
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

White Sox trade Adam Eaton to Nationals for haul of impressive prospects

Looking at NFL injuries that could impact the Super Bowl chase

Report: RG3 to start Sunday barring health setback

Major changes could be coming to the World Cup in 2026

Peterson planning to return if Vikings stay in playoff hunt

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Desmond’s deal with Rockies is puzzling, opens door for trades

Report: ‘Well has been poisoned’ for Lane Kiffin as USF candidate

Johnny Manziel tells Lamar Jackson not to go to Browns

NCAA president on Penn State: ‘How could you not be pleased?’

Chris Bosh likely to wait until next season to try comeback

Report: Jackson ‘intrigued’ by possible Eagles reunion

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

Box Score 12/7: The date we got to know Bo

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

Ten most intriguing non-NY6 bowl games

Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 14

The best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

Box Score 12/6: Klay Thompson and the ball of fire

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

The good, bad, and ugly from NFL Week 13

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker