Phillies: Most impactful trade made with every team
St. Louis Cardinals: Steve Carlton
"On February 25, 1972, the Philadelphia Phillies traded Rick Wise to the St. Louis Cardinals for Steve Carlton."
The Phillies entered the 1971 offseason coming off their fifth consecutive losing season. One of the few bright spots was 26-year old pitcher Rise Wise. Not only did he win 17 games, but made his first All-Star appearance and hurled a no-hitter. However, when Wise’s salary demands were more than the Phillies were willing to offer, a trade went down with the Cardinals to acquire 27-year old left-hander Steve Carlton.
Carlton was a three-time All-Star coming off a 20-win season at the time of the trade. Asking for $65,000 the Cardinals refused and Carlton held out. When the trade went down, both he and Wise got single-year deals worth $65,000. The deal appeared to be even at the time, with Carlton edging Wise in career wins by just two.
Make no question about it, the Phillies were a horrendous team in 1972, except when Carlton took the hill. Then it was “win day.” Carlton had a season for the ages on a 59-win team, going 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA. He logged 346 innings in 41 starts, struck out 310, completed 30 games and had eight shutouts. Wise was solid with 16 wins and a 3.22 ERA in 1972 and actually outperformed Carlton in 1973, but then the trade got completely one-sided in favor of the Phillies.
Carlton went on to win 241 games with the Phillies, made seven All-Star appearances, led the league in wins four times, innings five times and strikeouts five teams. Carlton was instrumental to the Phillies success in the 1980 postseason, going 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA. He was even more successful in the 1983 NLCS against the Dodgers, posting a 2-0 record with a 0.66 ERA in 13 1/3 innings.
Wise went on to have six more seasons with at last 10 wins following the trade. He posted a career-high 19 wins in 1975 and made his second and final All-Star appearance in 1973. Wise won 188 games with 1647 strikeouts. While quite respectable, it pales in comparison to Carlton’s 329 wins and 4136 strikeouts.
Rubbing salt into the wounds of the Cardinals, Carlton dominated his former team, going 38-14 for at .731 winning percentage. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994 on the first ballot with nearly 96 percent of the vote.
– Kerry Kauffman contributed to this report
"Honorable Mention July 29, 2002. The Philadelphia Phillies traded Doug Nickle, Scott Rolen and cash to the St. Louis Cardinals for Placido Polanco, Bud Smith and Mike Timlin. December 11, 1929. The St. Louis Cardinals traded Pete Alexander and Harry McCurdy to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bob McGraw and Homer Peel."