Top 100 Baseball Blog

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Frank Carpin: Perseverance Pays Off

Left-handed pitcher Frank Carpin had a habit for playing for top notch organizations. He attended college and played baseball at Notre Dame, before being signed by the New York Yankees in 1959. This pedigree was both a good thing and a hindrance to his career.

Carpin toiled in the Yankees' minor league system for six seasons, posting double digit win totals in three campaigns. He was made exclusively a reliever in 1964, his final year in the New York organization. Despite pitching so well, he was never able to crack the Yankee roster, which was loaded with star veterans, as the franchise was a perennial contender.

The Pittsburgh Pirates finally gave Carpin his break when they acquired him through the minor league draft after the 1964 season. He started out 1965 in the minors, but pitched so well that he was brought up by late May. He pitched well for the 90-win Pirates, going 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 39 games.

Because the Pirates had a deep bullpen, Carpin was left unprotected in the 1965 Rule 5 draft, and he was snatched up by the Houston Astros. He pitched sparingly for them in 1966, spending most of his season with their Triple-A team in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately it was his final season in professional baseball, as he retired at the end of the year.

For his career Carpin appeared in 49 major league games, going 4-1 with a 3.74 ERA. His most impressive stat is that he never gave up a home run in his big league 45.2 innings. More information about his career statistics is available at .

I was recently able to catch up with Carpin and find out a little more about his experiences and memories in baseball.

Frank Carpin Interview:

How did you first become interested in baseball?: My godfather was a Brooklyn Dodger fan and he took me to Ebbets Field in 1943-44. It was an instant love affair,

What was the process like getting signed by the Yankees?: The Yankees signed me out of the Basin League in the summer of 1958. I was approached by several other major league teams in South Dakota, but my father did the negotiation with the Yankees back in Richmond. Detroit actually made me a better offer after my dad and I committed verbally to the Yankees if they would meet our proposal, but we honored our word.

Who was the biggest character you ever played with or against?: The biggest character was Al McBean who was my teammate in Pittsburgh He was a non-stop ball of energy. We used to play a game in batting practice every day to see who could shag more fly balls in the outfield.

What was your favorite moment from your playing career?: My favorite moment was winning a game in relief the very first night I was in the big leagues. *Editorial note- Carpin was the winning pitcher against Jack Warner and the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates won 7-6 in 12 innings at Forbes Field in front of 6,403 fans.

What was Roberto Clemente like as a teammate and person?: Roberto was an awesome player who everyone respected as a super star. He set apart from everyone else, but was not aloof to me. I found him very cordial.

Who was the toughest hitter that you faced?: Aaron and Mays were undoubtedly the best hitters I faced. Several Dodgers were very successful off me... Ron Fairly and Maury Wills of all people.

How difficult was the transition from going from a professional ballplayer to the "private sector?": The transition to private sector was easy because I had been interning in the off-season after college. Combined with four children, a college education, bone spurs in my elbow, and before free agency; the decision to retire was logical.

What have you been up to since you stopped playing baseball?: Ever since baseball I have been a
stock and commodity broker; 1967-present.

Do you still follow baseball, and if so, what do you think about the current game?: I follow baseball, but not as closely as college and pro football. As a Notre Dame graduate do I have a choice? Baseball is still of interest and would be more so if small market teams had a chance. Baseball needs to learn a few lessons from the NFL and not have the Yankees and Red Sox dominate the airwaves. If Pittsburgh and other small market teams would be more competitive it would suit me better.


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