Thursday, February 17, 2011
Before there was Brett Favre, there was Lefty.
Steve Carlton was one of the best lefthanded pitchers in the history of baseball. His career is highlighted by 10 all star games, 2 (or 3?) world championships, 4 Cy Young awards, and entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Following two decades of brilliance in St. Louis and Philadelphia, it was clear to just about everyone but Carlton himself that he was out of gas. The Phillies released him and his 6+ ERA in June 1986. The Giants and White Sox gave him a shot later that summer and got below average results. Not willing to give up, Lefty signed with the Indians in the spring of 1987, pitched in 23 games (he started 14 times) before the Tribe traded him to Minnesota, where he went 1-5 for a team that won the World Series, without Carlton on the post-season roster. Since he was on the team, he got a World Series ring and a trip to the White House. 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 1988 but he lasted only a month (0-1 16.76 ERA in four games) before the Twins released him, ending his MLB career.