Phillies history: Franchise’s top five rotations since the 1970s

Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO – UNDATED 1981: Steve Carlton of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during an MLB game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Carlton played for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1972-1986. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

No. 4: 1984 (Steve Carlton, Jerry Koosman, Charles Hudson, John Denny, Shane Rawley, Kevin Gross)

The 1983 Phillies won the NL Championship and finished a run of six playoff appearances in eight seasons for the franchise. Finishing a somewhat disappointing fourth with an 81-81 mark, there were still some bright spots. One of which was a starting rotation featuring 39-year old Steve Carlton and 41-year old Jerry Koosman, which helped make them the oldest pitching staff in baseball.

Carlton was a game under .500 at 15-16 in 1983, but lead the league in innings and strikeouts. Although not the same pitcher as in his prime, the big lefty posted a 13-7 record with a respectable 3.58 ERA in 1984, leading the team in strikeouts with 163.

Jerry Koosman won 14 with a 3.25 ERA in 224 innings in his 18th Major League season, which was highlighted by a four-hit shutout against the Braves in July.

Charles Hudson won nine games with a 4.04 ERA, while John Denny posted a 2.45 ERA a season after winning the Cy Young Award. Shane Rawley rounded out the rotation with ten wins and a 3.81 ERA in 18 starts, covering 120 1/3 innings.

Also adding to the mix was 23-year old Kevin Gross. He spent much of the season in the bullpen, appearing in 44 games total, 14 of them as a starter. Gross showed promise with an 8-5 record with a 4.12 ERA.

Although only two starters struck out more than 100 for the 1984 Phillies, the team ranked sixth in strikeouts during an era where hitters were less apt to strikeout than in today’s more power-laden game.