Off the field, Chris Carpenter was polite, soft-spoken, a friendly guy with a warm smile. On the field, he was fierce, vociferous, an intimidator who snarled and scowled.
It was as if Carpenter was a chippy hockey player on the mound -- no surprise, considering that he was an All-State defenseman at Trinity (NH) High School. But that edge, you see, is what made him great.
On Tuesday, as the St. Louis Cardinals announced the likely end of Carpenter's career, manager Mike Matheny called him a "throwback" and general manager John Mozeliak called him "probably one of the most competitive players I've ever been around."
Carpenter, 37, fought back from shoulder surgery in 2002 and a torn labrum in '03 to win the National League Cy Young Award in '05 and help the Cardinals win the World Series in '06.
He then fought back from Tommy John surgery in '07 to resume his role as the Cardinals' workhorse, pitching a total of 273 1/3 innings in '11 and capping his postseason with perhaps his d...