December 09, 2013

Doc and Carp — two great pitchers, linked again in retirement

Baseball fans who love great pitching, whether St. Louis Cardinal fans, Philadelphia Phillies fanatics, or just real baseball fans, will continue to remember Game 5 of one half of the National League Division Series for years to come.

That, of course, was the duel between the Cards' Chris Carpenter and Philly's Roy Halliday.

The Cards gutted out one run against Halliday, getting 6 hits in 8 innings. Carpenter made it stick in what is surely his best performance ever, yielding just three hits and, in the Phillies' bandbox ballpark, letting nobody past second. Halliday was almost equal. After giving up a triple to Rafael Furcal, then a double to Skip Schumaker, to open the game, he dodged a potentially big first inning and shut the Birds down after that.

Late last month, Carp announced his retirement, and today, Doc Halliday hung up his pitching spurs, too.

It should be Cooperstown for Halliday's next stop, but one can never tell with today's Baseball Writers of America Association. Biggest argument in my book is Halliday's 40.7 Wins Above Average. To me, WAA is an even better "eyeball" than WAR. Anything above 30 is legit strong Hall of Fame talk. Anything above 35 is legit Hall of Famer.

A good point of contrast on that is Carpenter. A fine career he had, even while battling a whole series of injuries over many years. His WAR of 35.5 is below Halliday's WAA.

Another is the waaWL percentage. Anything above .550 is solid. And, Halliday is at almost .600.

That said, even with allowance for injuries, he's not a slam-dunk first-year HOFer, even setting aside the idiosyncracy of today's BBWAA. But, he deserves serious first-ballot consideration.

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