Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Monday, February 15, 2010

1976 Topps #355 - Steve Carlton



  • Steve Carlton was a Hall of Famer who pitched from 1965-1988. Carlton was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1963. Pirates Missed Their Chance of Signing Steve Carlton - August 1984 Baseball Digest. He was in the minors in 1964, stayed with the Cardinals in 1965, and bounced between the minors and the Cardinals in 1966.


  • Steve wasn't used much in 1965 (0-0, 2.52 ERA in 15 games-2 starts). He missed two months from late June to late August and missed another month from late August to late September. Carlton came back to the majors to stay on July 31, 1966. He started 9 games for the Cards in '66 and was 3-3 with a 3.12 ERA.


  • Carlton became part of the Cardinals' rotation in 1967. He was 14-9 with a 2.98 ERA in 28 starts. Steve started and lost game 5 of the 1967 World Series. In 1968 Carlton was 13-11 with a 2.99 ERA in 33 starts. Steve was named to his first NL All Star team and pitched a scoreless 6th inning. Carlton made two relief appearances in the 1968 World Series but wasn't involved in either decision.


  • After the 1968 season the Cardinals went on a trip to Japan. While in Japan Carlton experiment with a slider and started using it in the 1969 season. Steve started the 1969 All Star game for the National League and was the winning pitcher, allowing two runs in three innings. He was 17-11 with a 2.17 ERA, which was quite good in a hitter's season. On September 15 Steve struck out 19 New York Mets but lost the game 4-3 as Ron Swoboda hit two 2-run homers. Carlton fell off in 1970 and led the NL in losses with 19. He was 10-19 with a 3.73 ERA that season.


  • The 1971 season was Steve's last one as a St. Louis Cardinal. He bounced back to win 20 games for the first time in his career. He was 20-9 with a 3.56 ERA for the Cards in '71. After the season Steve demanded a raise. Cards owner Gussie Busch wasn't willing to give Carlton as much as he wanted and Steve was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Rick Wise.


  • Carlton had one of the greatest seasons ever by a post World War II pitcher in 1972. Pitching for an awful team, Steve led the NL in wins (27), ERA (1.97), strikeouts (310), starts (41), complete games (30), and innings (346.1). Carlton pitched a scoreless 6th inning in the All Star game, won his first Cy Young Award, and was 5th in NL MVP voting. Steve Carlton: At Last A Winner for the Phils - November 1972 Baseball Digest


  • Steve fell off again in 1973 and led the NL with 20 losses. He was 13-20 with a 3.90 ERA and led the NL in starts (40) and complete games (18). Carlton had a better year in 1974 (16-13, 3.22 ERA) and was named to the NL All Star team (he wasn't used in the game). Steve had an off season (for him) in 1975. He was 15-14 with a 3.56 ERA in 37 starts.


  • In 1976 Carlton returned to the 20-win club and led the NL with a .714 winning percentage. He had a record of 20-7 with a 3.13 ERA. Steve started and lost game 1 of the NLCS. Carlton won his second NL Cy Young award in 1977. He was 23-10 with a 2.64 ERA. Steve was an NL All Star but didn't pitch in the game. Carlton started game 1 of the NLCS and got a no-decision. He started and lost game 4 of the NLCS. Steve Carlton: Pitcher with the Classic Style - December 1977 Baseball Digest.


  • Steve was 16-13 with a 2.84 ERA in 1978. He started and won game 3 of the NLCS -- it was the only game the Phillies won in the series. In 1979 Steve was 18-11 with a 3.62 ERA. He started the 1979 All Star Game and allowed a 2-run homer to Fred Lynn. He pitched only the first inning and allowed 3 runs.


  • The Phillies finally broke through in 1980 and won a World Championship. Carlton was a big reason why the Phillies won. He won his third Cy Young Award, was an All Star again (he didn't pitch in the game), and was 5th in NL MVP voting. Steve was 24-9 with a 2.34 ERA and led the NL in wins,starts, innings, and strikeouts. He started and won game 1 of the NLCS, and he started game 4 but got a no-decision. Steve started and won games 2 and 6 of the World Series.


  • Carlton had another good year in the strike-shortened 1981 season. He was 13-4 with a 2.42 ERA in 24 starts, was an All Star (but didn't get in the game), and won a Gold Glove Award. Steve had his last great season in 1982. He won his fourth Cy Young Award, was an All Star (he pitched two scoreless innings), and led the NL in wins (23), starts (38), complete games (19), shutouts (6), innings (295.2), and strikeouts (286).


  • Steve finally started to slow down in 1983. He still pitched a lot, leading the NL with 283.2 innings pitched. Carlton was 15-16 with a 3.11 ERA in 37 starts and led the NL in strikeouts with 275. Steve started and won games 1 and 4 of the NLCS. He started game 3 of the World Series against Jim Palmer and lost 3-2.


  • Carlton was 13-7 with a 3.58 ERA in 33 starts in 1984. In 1985 Steve missed 2 1/2 months of the season and was 1-8 with a 3.33 ERA in 16 starts. He started the 1986 season with the Phillies but was released on June 24 after starting the season 4-8 with a 6.18 ERA in 16 starts. Steve signed with the San Francisco Giants but was released after going 1-3 with a 5.10 ERA in 6 starts. Carlton then caught on with the Chicago White Sox and was 4-3 with a 3.79 ERA in 10 starts.


  • The White Sox didn't offer Carlton a contract for the 1987 season and he signed with the Cleveland Indians. Carlton was 5-9 with a 5.37 ERA for the Indians when they traded him to the Minnesota Twins for a minor leaguer on July 31. Steve didn't help the Twins much during their stretch run (1-5, 6.70 ERA in 9 games - 7 starts) and he was left off of their postseason roster. Steve started the 1988 season 0-1 with a 16.76 ERA and the Twins released him on April 28.


  • Carlton and Nolan Ryan had a see-saw race for the all time strikeout lead from 1982-1984. Steve tailed off and Ryan ended up almost 1600 strikeouts ahead of Carlton after all was said and done. Steve was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994 with 96% of the vote. Some quotes attributed to him stirred up some controversy in 1994, but he has continued to be a popular guest at appearences.

Steve Carlton's record:
329 wins (11th most all time)
4136 strikeouts (4th most all time)
10 All Star selections
4 Cy Young awards
4 TSN Pitcher of the Year awards
1 Gold Glove




  • Liked to face: Candy Maldonado (.080 in 25 AB); Marc Hill (.086 in 35 AB); Dale Berra (.115 in 52 AB)

  • Hated to face: Jesus Alou (.436 in 55 AB); Ellis Valentine (.404 in 47 AB); Johnny Bench (.298 with 12 HR in 124 AB)

An interview with Steve Carlton:


Here is a 2009 interview with Steve:

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh 1972! That summer, I helped my father with an early-evening construction moonlighting job a few nights a week. We would listen to the Phillies games in the car on the way home.

    A Carlton outing was pretty much a guaranteed win. He had 27 of their 59 wins (a stat etched in the gray matter!)

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