And then, there were 26.
The Arizona Fall League announced on Wednesday that Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter and Rangers third baseman Michael Young have been elected the 25th and 26th members of the AFL Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was formed in 2001 to honor the top Major League players and managers who have honed their skills in the Fall League since its inception in 1992. Of the 26 members to date, Carpenter is the third pitcher to be elected, while Young becomes hitter No. 15 to be so honored. There have been eight managers enshrined.
The selection committee, chaired by baseball ambassador Roland Hemond, the "Architect of the Arizona Fall League," bases its appointments upon individual achievement at the Major League level since participating in the Arizona Fall League. "Throughout the past decade, Chris Carpenter and Michael Young have been among baseball's most consistent performers," Fall League director Steve Cobb said, "making them two of the most prolific players in recent Major League history. The Fall League is proud to have contributed to their outstanding careers. Their career statistics speak for themselves. Chris has displayed fortitude in overcoming injuries twice to regain his Cy Young-winning form; Michael Young epitomizes the word 'professional' in every way."
Carpenter, 35, played for the Phoenix Desert Dogs back in 1996 and is one of three AFL alumni to win a Cy Young Award (fellow AFL Hall of Famer Roy Halladay and Brandon Webb are the others). Carpenter took home Cy honors in '05 after going 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA. He's made two All-Star teams and had the highest winning percentage (.729) among all big league starters from 2004-2007.
The right-hander has also twice won Comeback Player of the Year honors, missing the majority of three seasons due to injury. His first win came in 2004, after coming back from missing all of the '03 campaign. He pitched only five times from 2007-08, then got his second comeback award by going 17-4 with a 2.24 ERA in '09. He's at it again this year, with a 15-6 record and 3.09 ERA for the Cardinals, giving him 15 or more wins in each of his past five injury-free seasons. For his career, he's 132-80 witha 3.79 ERA over 13 years with the Blue Jays and Cardinals.
Young, 33, won the American League batting title in 2005, hitting .331. He also topped the league in hits (221) and multi-hit games (66). He played for the Grand Canyon Rafters in '00.
The infielder had five straight seasons of at least 200 hits from 2003-07, and has hit better than .300 for his 11-year Major League career. Young was the MVP of the '06 All-Star Game during a stretch of six straight All-Star selections (2004-09). He also won a Gold Glove Award in '08. This season he's hit .289 with 20 homers and 82 RBIs in 141 games for the AL West-leading Rangers.
Carpenter will be officially inducted on Tuesday, Nov. 9, prior to a game between the Peoria Saguaros and Peoria Javelinas at the Peoria Sports Complex. Young's induction date is to be determined.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.