Each week leading up to the 2013 South Atlantic League All-Star Game at FirstEnergy Park, we’ll look back at one of the game’s alumni. This feature will run 20 weeks, as we are 20 weeks from the game, and include some outstanding players, perhaps none better than the one that we chose to start the feature with, Steve Carlton.
In 1964, Carlton pitched for the Rock Hill Cardinals and made 11 starts in the South Atlantic League (formerly the Western Carolinas League). He went 10-1 in those starts with a 1.03 ERA and was tabbed a league All-Star. In the same year, “Lefty” advanced to Double-A Tulsa and finished the season 15-6 with a 2.22 ERA with three different teams. In 1965, Carlton made 15 appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals, in just his second year as a professional baseball player.
In 1966, Carlton started in Triple-A Tulsa and made 19 starts before he was promoted to the MLB for good. He went on to play 24 seasons for six different teams, but it was his time with the Philadelphia Phillies (1972-1986) that earned him the most praise. While with the Phillies, Carlton won four Cy Young Awards and a World Series. Overall the southpaw was a 10-time All-Star, two-time World Series Champion, and a Gold Glove Award Winner.
He finished his career with 329 wins, a 3.22 ERA, and 4,136 strikeouts.
In 1994, Carlton was enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame, garnering 95.8% of the vote. The Phillies retired his number, 32, and honored him with a statue that stands outside Citizens Bank Park.