Phillies History: Taking a Look Back on Phillies Cy Young Winners

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Steve ‘Lefty’ Carlton, Phillies 1970’s-’80’s Hall of Fame ace /

Four-Time Cy Young Winner Steve Carlton

Steve Carlton is one of, if not the, best pitchers in Phillies history. He is their career leader among all pitchers in Fangraphs wins above replacement and second to Robin Roberts in Baseball Reference WAR. He is the lone Phillies pitcher to win multiple Cy Young awards, racking up four in his tenure in Philadelphia.

Carlton’s first Cy Young came in 1972, his initial season in Philadelphia after being traded from St. Louis. That season was the best of his career by WAR standards, accumulating 11.1 fWAR and 12.1 rWAR that year. He led the National League in wins (27), ERA (1.97), starts (41), complete games (30), and strikeouts (310) that year.

Carlton was the unanimous winner of the award in ’72. He also earned his fourth All-Star appearance and finished fifth in NL MVP voting.

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Four years later in 1977, Carlton once again took home that honor. The only category he led the league in that year was wins, securing 23 that season. Carlton finished the year just sixth in fWAR. Despite trailing in most categories, Carlton still received 17 of 25 first-place votes and was on 87% of the ballots. Wins were the deciding factor for voters, something which likely wouldn’t have happened in today’s era.

1980 was the culmination of decades of toiling and suffering for Phillies fans, with Carlton playing no small part in bringing the team to a World Series championship. He finished the year with 24 wins in 38 starts. He led the league with 286 strikeouts as his 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio also led the league. While not created yet, Carlton finished with the best FIP and ERA+ that year.

Carlton received all but one first-place vote in 1980 for the Cy Young along with finishing fifth in MVP voting once again.

1982 was Carlton’s last hurrah before his magic started to run dry. In his age-37 season, he once again recorded the most strikeouts (286) as well as tallying 23 wins to lead the league for the last time in his career. He accumulated 8.2 fWAR that year, receiving 20 of 25 first-place votes for the award.