Friday, March 9, 2012

DAHOF Top 100 -- #25 Steve Carlton

On February 25th, 1972 the St. Louis Cardinals traded lefthander Steve Carlton for Phillies righthanded starter Rick Wise. Both pitchers were All Stars, Carlton won 20 in 1971 and Wise was coming off a 17 win season with the Phils.

The 1972 Philadelphia Phillies were a terrible team. They had the second-worst offense in the National League, scoring 3.22 runs per game. Only two players hit .280 with 200 or more at bats for the team. Only four players with 200+ at bats had an on base percentage above .300. Catcher John Bateman was the one regular position player over the age of 30. They would lose 97 games, scoring 503 runs while allowing 635 runs.

There was one bright spot....In what could be considered one of the best single season pitching performances ever, Steve Carlton had a season for the ages. Lefty started 41 games, completed thirty of them, and had eight shutouts. He struck out 310 batters and walked only 87 in 346 1/3 innings pitched. His ERA was a phenomenal 1.97 and his WHIP was a minuscule 0.993. He won 27 games, lost 10, and easily took home the Cy Young Award after the season.

Consider that for a moment: Steve Carlton won 27 games on a team that only won 59 games. He won 45.8% of his team's games. He is one of only ten pitchers since 1901 to win more than 40% of his team's games in a season and the only one to do so since 1922.


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