Carlton in 2008
Born: December 22, 1944|
|April 12, 1965 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
Last MLB appearance
|April 23, 1988 for the Minnesota Twins|
|Earned run average||3.22|
Career highlights and awards
|Vote||95.8% (first ballot)|
Steven Norman "Steve" Carlton (born December 22, 1944), nicknamed "Lefty", is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He pitched from 1965 to 1988 for six different teams in his career, but it is his time with the Philadelphia Phillies where he received his greatest acclaim as a professional and won four Cy Young Awards. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.
Carlton has the second-most lifetime strikeouts of any left-handed pitcher (4th overall), and the second-most lifetime wins of any left-handed pitcher (11th overall). He was the first pitcher to win four Cy Young Awards in a career. He held the lifetime strikeout record several times between
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- 1 Early years
- 2 St. Louis Cardinals
- 3 Philadelphia Phillies
- 4 Post-Phillies
- 5 Legacy
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Carlton was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where he played Little League and American Legion Baseball during his youth. He attended North Miami High School, and later Miami Dade College. In 1963, while a student at Miami-Dade, he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals for a $5,000 bonus.[N 1]
St. Louis Cardinals
Carlton debuted with the St. Louis Cardinals as a 20-year-old in 1965 and by
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The trade is now considered one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history. However, at the time, the trade appeared to make some sense from the Cardinals' perspective. Carlton had won 77 games to Wise's 75, and both were considered among the best pitchers in the game. Tim McCarver, who had caught for Carlton in St. Louis and for Wise in Philadelphia, described the trade as "a real good one for a real good one." He felt that Carlton had more raw talent, but Wise had better command on the mound. Although Wise would stay in the majors for another 11 years (though only two of them were with the Cardinals), the trade is now reckoned as an epoch-making deal for the Phillies, as well as one of the worst trades in Cardinals history.
In Carlton's first season with Philadelphia, he led the league in wins (27), complete games (30), strikeouts (310), and ERA (1.97), despite playing for a team whose final record was 59–97. His 1972 performance earned him his first Cy Young award and the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year. His having won 46% of his team's victories that season is a record in modern major league history. Carlton attributed his success to his grueling training regimen, which included Eastern martial arts techniques, the most famous of which was twisting his fist to the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket of rice.
Some highlights of Carlton's 1972 season included starting the season with 5 wins and 1 loss, then losing 5 games in a row, during which period the Phillies scored only 10 runs. At this point he began a 15-game winning streak. After it ended at a 20–6 record, he finished the final third of the year with 7 more wins and 4 losses, ending with 27 wins and 10 losses. Since he completed 30 of 41 starts, the 1972 Phillies rarely needed the bullpen when Steve Carlton pitched.
During the 18 games of the winning streak (3 were no-decisions), Carlton pitched 155 innings, allowed 103 hits and 28 runs (only 17 in the 15 winning games), issued 39 walks, and had 140 strikeouts. From July 23, 1972 to August 13, 1972 he pitched five complete game victories, allowed only 1 unearned run while only giving up 22 hits in 45 innings, and threw four shutouts. He had a fastball, a legendary slider, and a long looping curve ball; and later a change-up, then a screwball. Baseball commentators during 1972 regularly remarked that Carlton's slider was basically unhittable. He was also a good hitter for a pitcher; at times he pinch-hit for the Phillies during 1972.
Carlton's relationship with the media
Carlton slumped in
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In 1994 he agreed to an interview with the writer Pat Jordan. Mr. Jordan conducted the interview at Steve Carlton's home in Durango, Colorado. The result was the story "Thin Mountain Air" in the April 1994 issue of Philadelphia magazine. 
Carlton continued to enjoy many years of success with the Phillies, winning the Cy Young Award in
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Carlton won a Gold Glove Award for his fielding in
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On September 13, 1982, for the fourth time in his career, Steve Carlton hit a home run and tossed a complete game shutout in the same game. He is the only pitcher to have done so in three different decades.
Race with Nolan Ryan and Gaylord Perry for the all-time strikeout record
Over a three-year period between
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At the start of the 1982 season, the 55-year-old mark of the great Walter Johnson still stood at 3,508 strikeouts, but now there were three pitchers who would start the season within 100 strikeouts of Johnson: Nolan Ryan (3,494), Gaylord Perry (3,452), and Carlton (3,434). Ryan would be the first to surpass Johnson on April 22, 1983 against the Montreal Expos. However a stint on the disabled list shortly after he set the record, combined with a spectacular season by Carlton, allowed Carlton to make up ground and on June 7, 1983, Carlton passed Ryan as the all-time strikeout king with 3,526 to Ryan's 3,524. There would be a total of 14 lead changes and one tie that season, often after each of their respective starts, before the season ended with Carlton leading 3,709 to 3,677. Gaylord Perry, aging and in his final season, was never a huge factor, although he did eventually pass Johnson to finish his career with 3,534 strikeouts. Since then five other pitchers have surpassed Johnson's mark and he has fallen to ninth place on the all-time strikeout list.
There would be five more lead changes and a tie in
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San Francisco Giants
He joined the San Francisco Giants, but pitched ineffectively for seven shutout innings in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, in which he also hit a 3-run homer, for his only win as a Giant. He would hang around just long enough to collect his 4,000th strikeout (against Eric Davis) before retiring. He went 1–3 with a 5.10 ERA in six games for the Giants. He did, however, break his self-imposed boycott of the media, giving a press conference after signing with the Giants.
Chicago White Sox
His retirement was brief: he almost immediately signed with the Chicago White Sox for the remainder of the
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He joined the Cleveland Indians, where his most notable achievement was teaming up with Phil Niekro in a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, where they became the first teammates and 300-game winners to appear in the same game. Both were ineffective in a 10–6 Yankee victory. It would be his first and only pitching appearance in Yankee Stadium, having spent the majority of his career in the National League before the inception of interleague play. (He was selected to the 1977 National League All-Star team which was held in Yankee Stadium, but he didn't appear in the game.)
He was traded to the Minnesota Twins, where he was yet again ineffective. He went a combined 6–14 with a 5.74 ERA for both the Indians and Twins. However, the Twins, who had been a bad team for most of the 1980s, would go on to a surprising win in the 1987 World Series, albeit without Carlton on the postseason roster, to earn him a third World Series ring and a trip to the White House to meet President Reagan along with his teammates. Interestingly, when Carlton was photographed with his teammates at the White House, newspapers listed each member of the team with the notable exception of Carlton. Instead, Carlton was listed as an "unidentified Secret Service agent." The Twins brought him back in
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He attempted to find work in
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A ten-time All-Star, Carlton led the league in many pitching categories. He struck out 4,136 batters in his career, setting a record for a left-handed pitcher (since surpassed by Randy Johnson), and holds many other records for both left-handed and Phillies pitchers. His 329 career wins are the eleventh most in baseball history, behind Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, and Warren Spahn among pitchers of the live-ball era (post-
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|Steve Carlton's number 32 was retired by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1989.|
He never threw a no hitter, but pitched six one-hitters.
Carlton was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in
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In 1998, The Sporting News ranked him number 30 on its list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players. In 1999, he was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Despite his career-long rivalry with Ryan, Carlton maintains his greatest rival was Tom Seaver.
His losing 19-strikeout effort against the Mets was a microcosm of his career against them. While he posted 30 wins against them during his career, they bested him 36 times.
Carlton appeared in an episode of Married... with Children, playing himself in an episode where former athletes humiliate Al Bundy while filming a shoe commercial. In the episode, Bud asks him for an autograph and he is shown writing with his right hand.
- 300 win club
- 3000 strikeout club
- 4000 strikeout club
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career wins
- Triple Crown
- List of Major League Baseball ERA champions
- List of Major League Baseball strikeout champions
- List of Major League Baseball wins champions
- List of pitchers who have struck out 18 or more batters in a nine-inning MLB game
- Top 100 strikeout pitchers of all time
- Major League Baseball titles leaders
- $5,000 in 1963 is equivalent to $38,556.97 in 2014 dollars.
- If adjusted for inflation, these amounts would be equivalent to $167,000, $304,000, and $189,000, respectively, in 2014 dollars.
- "List of Major League Wins Leaders by Year". Retrieved September 15, 2007.
- "List of Major League IP Leaders by Year". Retrieved September 15, 2007.
- "Biographical information from Baseball Reference.com". Retrieved February 14, 2010.
- "Bio on Carlton's official site". Retrieved February 14, 2010.
- "A Bird in Hand and a Burning Busch" by William Leggett, Sports Illustrated, March 23, 1970
- "Cards, Phils Trade Aces: Carlton, Wise". St. Petersburg Times. February 26, 1972. p. 3-C. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
- "Steve Carlton Biography". ESPN. ESPN. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- Neyer, Rob (2006). Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders. New York City: Fireside. ISBN 0-7432-8491-7.
- "Steve Carlton". CNN. January 24, 1994.
- "Imagination, It's Funny" by William Leggett, Sports Illustrated, August 21, 1972
- Steve Carlton Official Website Bio
- "Steve Carlton's Long Winning Streak in '72 Still Amazing" by Ted Silary from Baseball Digest Nov 1992
- Steve Carlton Quotes
- The Philadelphia Phillies' Ten Greatest Pitchers of All Time
- http://thestacks.deadspin.com/thin-air-in-the-mountains-with-steve-carlton-armed-co-478492324 retrieved March 27, 2015
- 1980 World Series#Game 6
- 1983 World Series#Philadelphia Phillies
- "Stoic Carlton participates in excitement of No. 300". Gadsden Times. Associated Press. September 25, 1983. p. 7. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
- Sortable Player Stats | MLB.com: Stats
- Wulf, Steve (January 24, 1994). "Steve Carlton". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
- Corcoran, Cliff at Sports Illustrated.com on July 12, 2012
- "Pickoffs since 1957". Retrieved August 19, 2007.
- Steve Carlton at the Baseball Hall of Fame
- Official website
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Philly.com: Steve Carlton photo gallery
|National League Pitching Triple Crown
| Succeeded by|
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