Philadelphia Phillies: 50 greatest players of all-time
The Phillies have had many great pitchers during their long history, but no one quite stacks up to Steve Carlton. “Lefty” holds an esteemed place in franchise history and it is unlikely any pitcher will be able to stack up to him.
Carlton was already a good pitcher before he came to Philadelphia, posting a 3.10 ERA and making three All-Star teams over seven seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Phillies and Cardinals swapped All-Star pitchers after the 1971 season, sending Rick Wise to St. Louis for Carlton. The deal is now looked back on as one of the best in franchise history.
Carlton started his Phillies career with a bang, leading the league in wins (27), ERA (1.97), complete games (30), innings (346.1), strikeouts (310) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.56), as he won the Cy Young award unanimously.
When the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies made their run to win the franchise’s first World Series title, Carlton was right at the center of it. He made four starts during the 1980 postseason, recording a 3-0 record and allowing only seven earned runs. Carlton won the decisive Game 6, giving up just one run on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in seven innings.
Carlton spent 15 seasons in Philadelphia, winning four Cy Young awards and being named to seven All-Star teams. He finished fifth in MVP voting during three of his Cy Young seasons. He finished first in innings pitched and strikeouts five times, wins and starts four times, complete games three times and strikeout-to-walk ratio twice.
Carlton finished his career in Philadelphia in 1986 with a 241-161 record, 3.09 ERA, 120 ERA+, 185 complete games, 39 shutouts, 3031 strikeouts and 1.211 WHIP in 499 starts. He is the franchise leader in career wins, strikeouts and starts. He also ranks second pitching wins above replacement, innings pitched and shutouts.
Carlton was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994, his first year of eligibility, receiving 95.6 percent of votes. He was the only player voted in by the BBWAA that year. His No. 32 was retired by the team and he was inducted into the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame in 1989, one year following his retirement.