A Biography in 1,000 Players No. 38 Steve Carlton (Number 9 Pitcher)

Steve Carlton pitched for 5 different teams his last three years. Basically, he didn’t have it anymore, but the teams kept giving him chances as he was such a great pitcher. The 1987 Twins got him for the stretch drive for the pennant race. He had 1 win and 5 losses with an earned run average of 6.70. Which quite frankly was terrible. They won their division despite him and for some reason didn’t include him on their post season roster. The neat thing Carlton was in the stands cheering for the Twins even though he was with them only a short time. The Twins let him pitch 4 games in 1988. Her earned run average was 16.76 which is worse than terrible. He finally retired from the game.

The reason I mention this is I did a project that awarded teams for having hall of famers on their teams. If he just showed up on a team the team got credit for 1 percent of the players career. Carlton spent a good chuck of his career starting in St. Louis. He got off to a solid start there. He was then traded to the Phillies where he earned his way into the hall of fame. He won 4 Cy Young Awards and won 241 games which was 60 percent of his decisions. Then he had the required 1 percent of his career with the Giants, Indians, White Sox and Twins, none he pitched practically well.

Steve Carlton had a super season in 1972. He went 27-10 for a Phillies team that went 59-97. Carlton talked about the exercises he was doing that helped him out. It had something to do with martial outs. He didn’t have a very good season in 1973 and the writers started making fun of his exercises. Carlton stopped talking to the press. You would have thought he committed murder. He became one of my favorite players. Unfortunately, he has come out with some strange statements after retirement. He lives by himself in the mountains as he is an introvert. The press when mentioning him get upset with that. As a fellow introvert I can understand the living in the mountains part and I wouldn’t necessarily say weird stuff to the press, I would just keep avoiding them.

Some of the Phillies try to take away from Carlton’s season saying when he pitched the played great, like the 1927 Yankees one of the greatest teams of all time. I don’t know If they scored more runs for them of caught everything in sight or what. Maybe they got drunk when celebrating. I once did a series of articles on Carlton’s season and I didn’t find any fluke victories. Let me check out his season on Baseball Reference. He started out 5-1. He won one game 1-0, not a lot of offensive. The next game he won 3-0. He stuck out 14 so the team only had to make 13 plays in the field. Then he lost 5 in a row to go 5-6. The team must have forgot to put on the Superman capes for Carlton the rest of May. This meant from June to the end of September and the end of the season Carlton went 22-4 and lowered his ERA from 2.95 (which was pretty good) to 1.97 which was outstanding.

In June Carlton went 4-0 winning two games 3-1 and one 1-0. He had one of his worse starts to end the month winning the game 9-4. Still he had a complete game struck out 13 and had a game score of 64 which is well above average. In July he went 6-0. In those six wins (he had one no decision) he never gave up more than 2 runs. His last two wins were 2-0. In August he had a bad month. He went only 5-2. One of the losses was 2-1 in 11 innings. In September he went 6-2 and won three games by a 2-1 score.

As far as I can tell Philadelphia had an average to a little below average defense that year. I don’t think they were much better at fielding when Carlton pitched.  The offense was below average also, although Veterans Stadium was slightly a pitcher’s park that year. I think the Phillies scored more than the average amount of runs for Carlton that year, then in the other games. There were no other strong pitchers on the 1972 team.  I also think it is easier to score runs when you know your pitcher is not going to give up many. However, looking at it on a game by game bases Carlton won his share of low scoring games. He had a great season, and no one should take that away from him.

 

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Author: Douglas Byzewski

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