|Title:||Class of 2008|
In the 105-year history of WPI baseball, only an elite group of players have been inducted into the WPI Athletic Hall of Fame. Tonight, Al Carpenter joins that exclusive club.
Al came to WPI after a standout scholastic career that saw him earn 10 varsity letters at Plainfield High School in Connecticut. As a senior, he helped the baseball team reach the state championship game. Inhis freshman season at WPI in 1980, he hit over .300 for the season and led the Engineers with 13 RBI in just 18 games.
During his sophomore year, Al established himself as one of the top catchers in all of New England. He led the team with a batting average of .363. He was also tops on the squad with 20 runs batted in and tied for the top spot with two homers. Al was an extra-base machine as he added five doubles and a pair of triples in just 19 contests.
As a junior in 1982, Al arguably had his finest offensive season as a member of the Crimson and Gray. He led the team with a .411 batting average, six home runs, 18 RBI, and 30 hits. His 54 total bases were 20 more than his closest teammate's. Al's defense also took center stage as he notched an eye-popping 19 assists in just 17 games as a catcher.
As a senior, Al used both his arm and his bat to help the Engineers. He pitched nine-inning complete games to defeat nationally ranked Division II Assumption and the No. 5 nationally ranked Division III Tufts. He collected three hits and three runs batted-in in both victories while adding a home run in each. For the season, he delivered with a perfect 4-0 record on the mound and a 3.80 ERA. Al continued to thrive on opponents' pitching, posting a .338 batting average along with a team-best six home runs, seven doubles and 23 RBI. For his accomplishments, he was selected to play in the College All-Star game at Fenway Park.
"Al excelled playing the two most difficult positions in baseball: pitcher and catcher," observed teammate Tom Villani. "He truly was a five-tool player. As a catcher he had a major-league arm, and he excelled defensively-he could run and hit, for both average and power. He may very well be the best all-around baseball player ever to come out of WPI."
Al Carpenter's legacy is even more impressive when you consider that during his career, WPI did not have an indoor batting cage or take a spring break trip to Florida (where now 10 games are commonly played), something today's players have come to expect.
He was also a valued member of the 1979 and 1982 football teams. He connected on three of six field goal attempts as a freshman while handling the kickoff duties during both seasons. He was a member of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity and participated in Big Brothers and Sisters of Worcester.
Al graduated with distinction from WPI with a degree in civil engineering. He is currently vice president at CPH Engineers in Vernon, Conn. He and his wife, Heidi, live in Brooklyn, Conn., with their children, Christopher, 14, and Cara, 9, and Emma, 4.