Saturday, September 21, 2013

Carlton Sets A New NL Strikeout Record

On Sept. 21, 1981, Philadelphia Phillies great and Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton strikes out a National League record 3,118 batters, fanning Montreal Expos outfielder Andre Dawson. Carlton would end his career with 4,000 strikeouts in the National League, which is still the most of all-time.

The next highest player who is currently playing is Livan Hernandez with 1,922, so it is fairly easy to say that Carlton will most likely hold the National League strikeout record forever.

Carlton’s 4,000 career strikeouts in one league are also the second highest mark of any player in a single league to that of Roger Clemens, who has 4,167 career strikeouts in the American League.
Carlton spent the majority of his 24-year career with the Philadelphia Phillies, but also saw time with the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins.

Carlton finished his career with 10 All-Star appearances, including four consecutive appearances from 1979-1982. He was a four time National League CY Young Award winner, a Gold Glove winner in 1981 and a two-time World Series Champion, winning the 1967 World Series with the Cardinals and 1980 World Series with the Phillies.

Although he never won an MVP award, he was in the conversation six-times, being in the top five in voting three times.

Over his career Carlton stacked up some impressive numbers including 329 wins, 244 losses with two saves in 744 games, including 709 starts. He was able to pitch 254 complete games and 55 shutouts. Over his career Carlton put together a lifetime 3.22 ERA over 5,217.2 innings pitched with 4,136 strikeouts allowing 4,672 hits, 1,864 earned runs, 1,833 walks and 414 home runs.

Over the course of his career Carlton led the league in wins four times, with his highest single season total coming in 1972 with 27 wins. He led the league in losses twice, with his highest single season total coming in 1973 with 20. He led the league in ERA once in 1972, with his lowest single season ERA coming that same year with a 1.97 mark. He also led the league in games started four times, with his highest single season total of starts coming in 1972 with 41.

Carlton also led the league in complete games three times, with his highest single season total coming in 1972 with 30. He led the league in shutouts once in 1982 with six, although his highest single season total came in 1972 when he had eight. He led the league in innings pitched five times, with his highest single season total of innings pitched coming in 1972 with 346.1. He also led the league in strikeouts five times, with his highest single season total coming in 1972 with 310.

Carlton’s No. 32 jersey was retired by the Phillies in 1989.

In 1994 Carlton was inducted into the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame with 95.8 percent of the vote on the first ballot on which he appeared.