2. STEVE CARLTON, Pitcher
Steve Carlton had already won 77 games and struck out nearly 1,000 batters over parts of 7 big league seasons when he came to the Phillies in a straight-up trade for righty pitcher Rick Wise prior to the 1972 season.
The deal would prove to be one of the best in baseball history. Carlton was just entering his prime, and as a 27-year old in that first season in Phillies pinstripes, the man who became known simply as ‘Lefty’ would put together a season for the ages.
In 1972, the Phils won just 59 games. But Carlton went 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA, striking out 310 batters and pitching 346.1 innings. He also tossed 30 complete games, something that would be unheard of today. He was rewarded with the first of 4 career NL Cy Young Awards in a Phillies uniform.
Starting that season, Carlton gave the Phillies a true ace starting pitcher to match up with the best the opposition had to offer for over a decade. In his Phillies career from 1972-86, Carlton fashioned a 241-161 record. He struck out 3,031 hitter over 3,697.1 innings in 499 games, all of them starts. He is considerd to have had perhaps the greatest slider in the history of the game.
Carlton was also strong in the postseason with the Phillies. Pitching in the half-dozen trips that the club made during his tenure, Lefty went 6-5, and lasted at least 6 innings in 11 of his 13 postseason starts for the club.
Of course, part of that stretch was the 1980 World Series championship. In that 1980 postseason, Carlton went 3-0. He won the first game of the NLCS vs Houston to get the club off to a good start, and then won both Game 2 and the clinching Game 6 of the World Series vs. Kansas City.
In addition to his 4 Cy Young Award wins while with the Phillies, Carlton finished in the top 4 of the voting two other times. He was a 7x NL All-Star, and finished 3x in the NL MVP top five voting. In 1981, Carlton won the NL Gold Glove for pitchers.
On the Phillies All-Time lists, Carlton is 1st in Wins (241), Games Started (499), Strikeouts (3,031) and his 3,697.1 is 2nd in Innings Pitched. He is one of five Phillies with statues erected in their honor at Citizens Bank Park. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2004.