Phillies Franchise History: Greatest Player to Wear Each Number
Steve Carlton is undisputedly the greatest pitcher in Phillies franchise history, and one of six players with their number retired. “Lefty” is the Phillies all-time wins leader with 241 and strikeouts with 3031, more than 1,000 more than Robin Roberts and Cole Hamels.
Carlton is also the franchise leader with 499 starts, and sits second behind Roberts in WAR, games played, innings, and shutouts. He won four Cy Youngs, which was once a record but now he sits tied for third-most behind Roger Clemons and Randy Johnson.
Lefty made 10 All-Star games, won an ERA title and a Triple Crown, and capped off his career with a Gold Glove and enshrinement into Cooperstown.
Needless to say, Lefty was pretty darn good.
Philadelphia acquired Carlton just as he reached the prime of his career with St. Louis. Already seven seasons into his Hall of Fame career, Lefty had a 3.10 ERA and 66 complete games in 172 starts.
St. Louis traded Carlton in February of 1972 for 25-year-old Rick Wise, who had already thrown a no-hitter and was coming off his first All-Star game. Needless to say, the Phillies won that trade.
Carlton won his first Cy Young in his inaugural season with Philadelphia, winning the Triple Crown with 27 wins, a 1.97 ERA, and 310 strikeouts. He won half the team’s wins that year in a dismal 59-97 season.
In 1980 he went 24-9 in the regular season, and had a 2.40 ERA in 15 World Series innings.
Carlton won no fewer than 13 games in his first 13 seasons in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia released Carlton during the 1986 season after he posted a 6.18 ERA in 16 starts at the age of 41. Minnesota, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Chicago each gave Carlton shots in his final two years, but Lefty’s career was complete after 1987.
Carlton is 11th on the all-time win list with 329, and fourth in strikeouts with 4,136.