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With ninth postseason win, Chris Carpenter makes a Hall of Fame case

Oct 28, 2011, 11:52 PM EDT

Chris Carpenter Getty Images

144 regular-season wins wouldn’t typically get a starting pitcher within shouting distance of Cooperstown. With two stellar postseason performances for World Series-winning teams, though, 36-year-old Chris Carpenter is starting to build a case for eventual enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.

Carpenter’s win on three days’ rest in Friday’s Game 7 against the Rangers improved him to 9-2 in 15 career postseason starts. He has a 3.05 ERA in 94 1/3 innings in those games. In four World Series starts, he’s 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA.

Carpenter obviously is going to need at least a couple of more successful seasons in order to have a shot. His case would get a clear boost if Curt Schilling receives strong support when he turns eligible on the 2013 ballot. Schilling’s case gets much of its momentum from his going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason starts and pitching for three World Series-winning teams.

Schilling also has a clear edge on Carpenter in the regular season. He finished his career 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA, good for a 128 ERA+ (ERA adjusted for league and ballpark, with 100 being average). Carpenter is currently 144-92 with a 3.76 ERA, which gives him a 116 ERA+.

Carpenter and Schilling both really turned the corner in their careers at age 30. A big difference, though, is that while Schilling got far healthier in his 30s than he was in his 20s, Carpenter missed almost entire seasons in 2007 and 2008. Carpenter has really only had three Hall of Fame-type seasons, and neither his 2010 nor 2011 campaigns measure up to that standard.

So, Carpenter is still a big long shot at this point. He’ll probably need another 50-60 wins and some additional postseason success to be a realistic candidate, particularly given how unkind the voters have been to starting pitchers in recent years. Incredibly, no starting pitcher to debut in the last 40 years has been elected to the Hall of Fame.

  1. theonlynolan - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    As of right now Carpenter has very little chance of making it to Cooperstown. Schillings case rests on having over 3000 Ks and huge peak years with the Diamondbacks. Even if Carpenter manages 5 more years and 60 more victories he’d still end up with a worse ERA+ than Schilling. Carpenters been very good but he’s not even in the same room as Curt Schilling.

  2. thehypercritic - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    Seeing as how the first sentence references pitcher wins — a stat that will hopefully no longer be acknowledged by the time Carpenter’s even on the ballot — I really hope this is satire. It sounds like McCarver at his most ridiculous — debating the merits of a career with narrative, data points and stats that tell us little about a player’s contributions.

    There’s no way this was a real post, right?

    • cur68 - Oct 29, 2011 at 1:58 AM

      Jeez, is this your only schtick? Show up and call all of the posts “satire”?

      • thehypercritic - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:12 AM

        Clearly it’s not a schtick. I’m sincerely inquiring and waiting for someone — ideally the author — to confirm that the piece was written tongue in cheek.

  3. 78mu - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    As much as I like Carp, I have trouble seeing him make into the HOF. Really good career and tough as nails in the postseason but I can’t see him staying healthy long enough to rack up the stats.

    By the way, are people still concerned with Carp’s elbow?

    • flapjack3285 - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:23 AM

      Agree. Carpenter has had a pretty good career. He just basically has the same numbers as Blyleven, but has half the time (so far).

      • thehypercritic - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:41 AM

        Carpenter does NOT have the same numbers as Blyleven. More than a quarter of the pitchers in Cooperstown don’t have the same numbers as Blyleven.

      • 78mu - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:55 AM

        It was a shame it took Blyleven as long as it did to make the HOF. Carp would not have BB numbers unless he had put up hellacious numbers in the years he missed with injuries.

        If Carp is in the HOF and Tim Raines or Ron Santo are not there is something wrong with the criteria used by the voters.

      • flapjack3285 - Oct 29, 2011 at 3:49 PM

        I should clarify. If you look at the rate stats like (ERA+, H/9, K/9, BB/9), they are pretty dang close. Despite Carpenter playing in a tougher pitcher environment. But what makes Blyleven a HOF and Carpenter just pretty good is the fact the BB did that over almost 5000 IP, while Carpenter is at 2200.

        Blyleven Carpenter
        ERA+ 118 116
        H/9 8.4 8.9
        BB/9 2.4 2.6
        SO/9 6.7 6.9
        SO/BB 2.8 2.7

    • baccards - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:29 AM

      just as previous posts of trading Holliday because of his post season performance(see Alex Rodriguez) promoting Carp as HOF is less thanthoughtful.. I’m a Cardinal fan of 50 yrs.. would put Carp up with Mr. Gibson for post season start. and maybe even a single game .. but year to year, as a career.. not even close

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 29, 2011 at 4:34 AM

      If Carp makes it in it’ll probably happen the 15th time he’s on the ballot

  4. theonlynolan - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    K/BB And WAR

    Schilling-4.4 and 86.1
    Carp-2.7 and 42.4

  5. brewcrewfan54 - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    It seems people want to put everyone in tje Hall of Fame nowadays. Caprenter has been a good pitcher. He hasn’t been an all time great. And I doubt he has the years left to convince otherwise.

  6. mf44srq - Oct 29, 2011 at 5:41 AM

    Not even close to consideration. Do you have a “ridiculousness meter”, aka editor, to filter this junk?

  7. apgreco - Oct 29, 2011 at 6:46 AM

    It is pure nonsense to think that either Schilling or Carpenter are HOF material. Schilling does not have enough wins and his stats aren’t overwhelming enough to consider his induction. Pedro Martinez does not have a lot of wins but his stats are off the charts and he should get in on the first ballot. I love Carpenter’s toughness but 155 wins ain’t gonna get you to the Hall. Congrats to the Cardinals….I did not give them a chance and I was flat out wrong.

    • presidentmiraflores - Oct 29, 2011 at 6:58 AM

      Wins, wins, wins. If we keep on with this 300-win stupidity, we may as well as hang up a sign “Pitchers need not apply” on the Hall.

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Oct 29, 2011 at 8:32 AM


        . . . but seriously, I totally agree with you.

      • jakartinius - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        For reference, see

        300 wins has never been a requirement for the HOF. Of the 18 pitchers who have 300 wins, 9 played their last game within the last 25 years. Without looking I can tell you there are more than 9 pitchers in the HOF from pre-1986.

        Dwight Gooden played relatively recently, has 194 wins, and had seasons that can match all of Carpenters. When Carpenter exceeds Gooden (who isnt in the HOF, and I am not arguing for that here), we can start discussing Carpenter for the HOF again, and even then it will just be a discussion.

    • Kevin S. - Oct 29, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      It’s nonsense to think Schilling is HOF material? He’s 28th in career rWAR, and every eligible pitcher ahead of him is already in the HOF, along with a significant number of pitchers behind him. He has over 3,000 strikeouts, and every eligible pitcher in that club is already in the HOF. His 128 ERA+ is well above the starting pitcher “standard” of the HOF. And I haven’t even mentioned his post-season exploits.

  8. jessejames845 - Oct 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    being a strong post season pitcher gives very little to the argumnet for HOF. Andy Pettitte has the most wins of any pitcher in major league baseball in the playoffs and World Series with 18. Pettitte also leads all pitchers with the most games started in the postseason with 40 and most innings pitched with 249. So it’s no surprise he has the most wins.

    Pettite also has a career record of 240-138 and career ERA of 3.88

    Surprisingly enough, many people still don’t consider Pettite a HOF’er even with his stellar post season resume and over 100 more career wins than losses

  9. micker716 - Oct 29, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    When did Jon Heyman begin writing for HBT?

    • Kyle - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      And we have a winner!

  10. elmaquino - Oct 29, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    Nnnnno. Carp’s my favorite pitcher, but he shouldn’t be in the Hall.

    Don’y know if Matt’s been to Cooperstown or not, but I think, to get an accurate feel for who should be in the Hall of Fame, someone has to go there and experience what it’s really like. If you’ve seen the plaques of Ruth, Musial and Cobb, you understand Jim Rice and Chris Carpenter just don’t belong.

    Maybe if he had stayed healthy and started his career with Dave Duncan, he would have had the talent to make a case. But…

  11. paperlions - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    It is obvious that Carpenter has had nothing approaching a HOF career..add to that the fact that it is EXTREMELY difficult for a starting pitcher to make it into the HOF (for some unknown reason, the vague standards applied to starting pitchers are much higher than those applied to relievers or hitters/fielders), and there is no way he should stay on the ballot more than a couple of years….and that is only if he has 3 or 4 more great years…which he probably won’t.

  12. awriterorsomething - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Sorry, I think it is laughable to think that Carpenter is making a case for the HOF. He would need 80 more wins (or barring that, extraordinary stats in everything else) to even make a ripple in the pond, much less a splash.

    He will fall in to the “if it were not for the injuries…..” catagory of guys that don’t deserve or get serious consideration.

    Schilling is not a HOF pitcher in my thinking but Pedro clearly is. Pedro falls in to the Koufax catagory: Seriously off the charts Peak. Schilling had a seriously GOOD peak, a not a great peak (sorry, I don’t think two years constitutes a Great peak).

  13. Mark - Oct 29, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    How is Carpenter, a guy with 6 good seasons to his name a potential HoF candidate?

    • paperlions - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:42 PM

      Sandy Koufax had exactly 6 good seasons. You might want be a little more detailed in your analysis

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        exactly 6 good seasons

        Oh come on, his last 6 years by bWAR:
        5.6, 4.4, 10.8, 7.8, 8.2, and 10.8

        Saying those are merely “good” is a huge understatement, especially the last 4.

      • paperlions - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        Sure, they were good or better…but there were only 6 of them, his other 7 seasons were average or worse.

  14. mplsjoe - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Carpenter might be a candidate for the A-hole Hall of Fame, but not the Ntl Baseball Hall of Fame. Not even close.

  15. astrozac - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Is everyone on here trying out to be a east coast liberal snob sports writer?

    Not that I disagree, Carpenter really has only had four pretty good/great seasons and two post seasons. If he could put up at least two more stellar seasons and more great post season starts, you could give him a shot.

    But I think Schilling should be in the Hall. Come on Gary Carter is, if that tells you anything. But the criteria and numbers “required” to get in for starting pitchers is gonna have to change sometime. With pitch counts, 5 man rotations, we’re never going to have another starting pitcher get in after Maddux, Glavine, Clemens, Johnson, Smoltz, etc….

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      If he could put up at least two more stellar seasons and more great post season starts, you could give him a shot.

      He needs a lot more than 2 more stellar seasons. Here’s Carpenter vs three other possible HoFers:

      A – 240-138 3.88 ERA 117 ERA+
      B – 270-153 3.68 ERA 123 ERA+
      C – 216-146 3.46 ERA 128 ERA+
      D – 144-92 3.76 ERA 116 ERA+

      Now Peripherals:

      A – 3055 IP, 2251 K, 962 B, 2.34 K/BB
      B – 3562 IP, 2813 K, 785 B, 3.58 K/BB
      C – 3261 IP, 3116 K, 711 B, 4.38 K/BB
      D – 2202 IP, 1685 K, 624 B, 2.70 K/BB

      Pitchers are:
      A – Pettitte
      B – Mussina
      C – Schilling
      D – Carpenter

      He matches up closely with Pettitte, but he’s still 800IP behind him which is a good 4 years. Also, Pettitte spent most of his career in the AL E whereas Carpenter has now spent most of his time in the NL C. There’s zero reason Carpenter should even sniff the HoF if the three above him don’t get in.

  16. bobinnh85 - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    If he does get voted in maybe in his acceptance speech he can recall his tirade against Mike Napoli and drop a couple of “F” Bombs and call someone a POS. Hopefully his kids and parents will be there also. What a dope.

  17. mgflolox - Oct 30, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    Carpenter is basically been this generation’s version of Bret Saberhagen. An all-time great when he can take the ball, but not nearly healthy enough throughout his entire career to merit serious HOF consideration.

  18. dasher521 - Oct 30, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    I have a problem making a HoF case for players based on playoffs that now have three rounds. You can’t compare a player with a player with a bunch of playoff home runs to a player who hit 18 in World Series games. The HoF should be about career achievement. It isn’t the “Three round of playoff hall of fame.” Otherwise induct Bucky Dent and Gene Tenace and Aaron Boone and … and …

  19. foreverchipper10 - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz should end that starting pitcher skid.

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