Ranking the Top 5 greatest starting pitchers in Phillies franchise history

Many great starting pitchers have played for Philadelphia since the franchise's inaugural season in 1883. Which starters are among the elite throughout Phillies history?

Steve Carlton, Philadelphia Phillies
Steve Carlton, Philadelphia Phillies / George Gojkovich/GettyImages
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No. 1: Steve Carlton

Steve Carlton had a remarkable pitching career, particularly with the Phillies from 1972 to 1986. He is one of the first starting pitchers who comes to mind when thinking about who is the best in the team's history.

After spending his first seven years in the majors with the Cardinals, St. Louis traded the left-hander to Philadelphia for pitcher Rick Wise on Feb. 26, 1972.

During his first year with the Phillies, he won the Cy Young Award, going 27-10 in 41 starts, with 30 complete games and a 1.97 ERA. Carlton, nicknamed "Lefty," also finished with a career-high 310 strikeouts, a 0.99 WHIP, 346 1/3 innings pitched, and eight shutouts! Incredibly, his phenomenal year coincided with Philadelphia's struggles during the 1972 season when the club finished sixth in the NL East with a 59-97 record.

Carlton won his second Cy Young Award following the 1977 season. In 36 starts, he went 23-10, with a 2.64 ERA in 283 innings. He finished with 198 strikeouts, a 1.12 WHIP, and 17 complete games. In 1980, the Miami native contributed to the Phillies 91-win regular season that included another division championship. Philadelphia also won its first World Series, defeating the Kansas City Royals in six games.

"Lefty" also earned his third Cy Young in 1980, finishing with a 24-9 record in 38 starts, a 2.34 ERA, and 13 complete games in 304 innings. He also had 286 strikeouts and a 1.10 WHIP. Carlton had the best postseason of his career that year, going 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. He had 23 strikeouts along with a 1.54 WHIP.

Carlton earned his fourth and final Cy Young during the 1982 season. He went 23-11 and had 19 complete games with six shutouts in 38 starts. He finished with 286 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP in 295 2/3 innings.

Among Phillies pitchers, the left-hander is the leader with 241 wins and by a large margin with 3,031 strikeouts. Carlton is second with 39 shutouts, 499 appearances, and 3,697 1/3 innings. He is third with 185 complete games and tied with Red Donahue and Ron Reed for eighth with a .600 winning percentage.

The 10-time All-Star, seven of which came with the Phillies, became a Hall of Famer in 1994. He is one of seven players, which includes three other pitchers, to have his number retired by the Phillies, and the organization placed a statue of him at the left field gate of Citizens Bank Park.

Carlton excelled during his time with the team, whether Philadelphia had a good or bad season. He is unquestionably a Phillies icon and the greatest starting pitcher in franchise history.

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