HOF Ballot: Heartbreakers among the newcomers

Carpenter---Hall of Fame talent whose body told him where to shove it . . .

Carpenter—Hall of Fame talent whose body told him where to shove it . . .

The rest of the newcomers to the Hall of Fame ballot—Chipper Jones and Jim Thome should be first-ballot inductees—have a few heartbreakers among them. Men you could have sworn were on the Cooperstown trail but got derailed for one or another reason. For that reason I’ll take these heartbreakers alphabetically.

CHRIS CARPENTER—Tell me you didn’t think this guy was on the way to the Hall of Fame once upon a time. Now, tell me how stinko it was that Carpenter had:

Vogelsong’s Serenade

Seven virtuoso innings, a sweet Vogelsong for the Giants . . .

Two teams who’ve made a fine art of shoving back with their backs against the proverbial wall returned to San Francisco to square off in Game Six of the National League Championship Series Sunday night. This time, it was the San Francisco Giants with their backs to that wall—again—and a pitcher who’d gone from prospect to reclamation project making certain enough that the St. Louis Cardinals joined them in the same position for a seventh game.

The Cardinals Finish Coming From the Brink to Valhalla

Nelson Cruz’s walkoff grand slam in Game Two of the American League Championship Series? Gone with his other eight postseason record-tying bombs. Ian Kinsler’s theft of second, channeling Dave Roberts, to spark a World Series-tying rally in the first place? You won’t even find it on the police blotter now. The Rally Squirrel? Who the hell needed him?

Albert Pujols channeling Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson in Game Three? Fuggedabouddit. Derek Holland’s masterpiece pitching in Game Four of the World Series? Prove it. (And those were the two events that helped turn this World Series from good to great in the first place.)

Now the Mighty Have Fallen

With the second-best regular-season record in baseball, the New York Yankees couldn’t out-hit their pitching issues while the Detroit Tigers figured out ways to hang in against both the Empire Emeritus‘s batting holes and pitching inconsistencies. With the best regular season in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies couldn’t out-pitch their hitting issues, while the tenacious St. Louis Cardinals—who weren’t even supposed to be in the postseason picture, you may remember—figured out ways to make the ballyhooed Four Aces resemble the Four Lads.