ST. LOUIS, MO. - St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter today announced his retirement as an active player, concluding a 15-year Major League career that included a Cy Young award in 2005, the National League's ERA title in 2009 - the same year he was named the N.L.'s Comeback Player of the Year, three All-Star selections (2005, 2006 & 2010) and 144 career wins, 95 of which came while pitching for St. Louis.
"Chris will always be remembered as the leader of the pitching staff during one of the great eras of Cardinals baseball," stated Cardinals Chairman William O. DeWitt, Jr. "We congratulate him on a tremendous career and thank him for his many contributions to the Cardinals tradition."
Carpenter, 38, is the Cardinals all-time leader in postseason wins (10), none more memorable than his 1-0 complete-game shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies in the decisive Game 5 of the 2011 N.L. Division Series that helped propel the Redbirds to an 11th World Championship.
"I have a lot of admiration for Chris and his many career accomplishments," said Cardinals Senior V.P./General Manager John Mozeliak. "We wish Chris all the best and I am hopeful that we will identify a future role that will allow the organization to utilize his valuable insights and leadership skills."
Carpenter's professional career began in 1994 following his 1st round selection (15th player overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in the June, 1993 draft out of Trinity High School in Manchester, N.H. He made his Major League debut at the age of 22 on May 12, 1997 at Minnesota, recording the first of his 1,697 career strikeouts against future Hall of Famer Paul Molitor.
Following nine seasons in the Blue Jays organization, Carpenter signed a free-agent contract with the Cardinals on December 13, 2002. After spending the 2003 season recovering from shoulder surgery, Carpenter went 15-5 in 28 starts in his initial season with St. Louis in 2004, helping the club to the National League Championship and its first World Series appearance since 1987.
Often compared to Hall of Famer Bob Gibson as one of the fiercest competitors in Cardinals annals, Carpenter in 2005 put together one of the greatest single-season pitching performances in team history by going 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA, seven complete games and four shutouts. His .808 win percentage that season was the best by a Cardinals starter since 1934 when Dizzy Dean went 30-7 (.811). Carpenter was also a perfect 2-0 in the postseason in 2005 with the Cardinals winning all three of his starts while advancing to the N.L. Championship Series for a 2nd-straight season. Carpenter, who started the 2005 All-Star Game for the N.L., was voted the recipient of the 2005 Cy Young Award, joining Gibson (1968 & 1970) as the only two Cardinals to have ever won the Major League's top award for pitchers. Carpenter also posted top-three finishes in the Cy Young vote in 2006 (3rd place) and 2009 (2nd).
In 2009, Carpenter became the first Cardinals pitcher since Joe Magrane (1988) to win the National League ERA title (2.24) after having spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons recovering from elbow and shoulder surgeries. He went 17-4, leading the majors in winning pct. (.810) and earning selection as the N.L. Comeback Player of the Year. On October 1 of that year he belted his first career homer, a grand slam, and finished the win over the Reds by driving in a Cardinals' single-game record six runs by a pitcher.
Carpenter led the majors in games started (35) in 2010, including five complete games, and he tied for the N.L. lead in games started (34) in 2011 while posting a league-leading 237.1 innings pitched.
Carpenter tossed a complete-game two-hit shutout at Houston on the season's final day in 2011, positioning the Cardinals for the Wild Card following Atlanta's loss later that evening. Carpenter was a perfect 4-0 during St. Louis's magical run to the World Championship, posting wins in the decisive Game 5 of the N.L. Division Series and Game 7 of the World Series.
His 2012 season was limited to just three regular season starts following surgery in July for neck and shoulder ailments. Carpenter's final win, and his franchise best 10th postseason win, came in Game 3 of the 2012 Division Series at Washington, an 8-0 combined shutout.
Carpenter made a total of five Opening Day starts for St. Louis, tying Dizzy Dean for 2nd most behind only Bob Gibson (10), and he is currently ranked 4th on the team's all-time strikeout list (1,085).
He was 144-94 all-time in 350 games pitched with a 3.92 ERA in 2,219.1 innings pitched and went 95-44 (.683 win pct.) with a 3.07 ERA in 198 games pitched for St. Louis.
The Cardinals won two World Championships (2006, 2011), four National League pennants (2004, 2006, 2011, 2013) and five Division titles (2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2013) after he joined the franchise.