Phillies: Top 5 moments of Steve Carlton’s career
2. 4000th strikeout
Carlton is undoubtedly one of the top left-handed starters in Major League history and his place in the Hall of Fame is well justified. It’s also clear that he stuck around too long, finishing his last three seasons with a 15-29 record and ERA of 5.73. Some may add 1985 to those number, in which he won just one of nine decisions. However, Carlton’s ERA was a still a sold 3.33 for the season.
After a poor start in 1986 in which Carlton went 4-8 with a 6.18 ERA in 16 starts, the Phillies released him and rookie Bruce Ruffin took Carlton’s spot in the rotation.
Carlton signed with the Giants and went just 1-3 with a 5.10 ERA in six starts, however, he did reach a milestone that at that time only he and Nolan Ryan had reached.
On August 5, 1986, the Giants faced the Reds in front of only 17,000 in Candlestick Park. Despite being shelled for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, Carlton fanned three, including the strikeout of Eric Davis to reach the 4,000 strikeout milestone.
Carlton announced his retirement after the game but that was short lived. He signed with the White Sox very shortly thereafter and was a solid 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA for the rest of the season. He finished 9-14 with a 5.10 ERA and then struggled with the Indians in 1987 before throwing 9 2/3 ineffective inning with the Twins in 1988.
Despite the poor end to an otherwise remarkable career, one cannot take away the 4000th strikeout milestone that to this day only four pitchers have attained.