Carlton, Steve Steve Carlton had the last 300-inning season to date the following year, with 304. He finished with a record of 35-5.
Steve Carlton was one of the best pitchers in baseball history, and with good reason. During his career from 1967 to 1986, he never posted an ERA higher than 3.09 and averaged 15 wins per season. He also pitched three no-hitters during his career.
In addition to being one of the best pitchers of all time, Carlton was also one of the most durable. He started at least 40 games every season from 1969-1986 except for 1972 when he missed part of the season due to military service. From 1967-1986, he never went more than 150 innings without breaking out of it. In 1987, he threw 200 innings for the first time in his career.
Carlton's career winning percentage of.722 is the highest of any pitcher with at least 300 decisions. His 2,957 strikeouts are second only to Randy Johnson (4,20 K/9 rate).
Carlton died in November 2018 at the age of 75. He still ranks fifth on the Philadelphia Phillies' all-time wins list.
Seasons of 300,000+ While baseball's infatuation with round numbers is well-documented, there's no doubting the significance of a 300-strikeout season (especially in today's pitcher-friendly environment). Only 19 pitchers have surpassed the 300-K barrier in a single season in the modern period (since 1900). Three others are within 10 strikeouts of this mark: Randy Johnson (7th all time), Mike Mussina (10th), and Curt Schilling (11th)
Of these 20 pitchers, only three have more than one such season: Walter Johnson (3rd best strikeout rate of all time), Greg Maddux (5th), and Randy Johnson (6th)
It takes exceptional control to rack up that many K's while still allowing so few walks. The 20 pitchers who have reached 300 strikeouts have averaged just 3.4 walks per nine innings pitched. That's the 9th lowest walk rate among all active pitchers with at least 200 IP.
In addition to being rare, 300-K seasons are also very valuable. According to research conducted by James Duthie of Baseball-Reference.com, each additional 100 K's increases your WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player) score by about 0.35. That means the top pitcher in the league will add about 35 wins above average over a full season.
This time span includes Carlton's all-time best season, a 1972 season in which he went 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA for a Phillies club that won just 59 games. No other pitcher had more than seven wins in a season, and he was a reliever. In addition, he had six seasons where he had at least 150 innings pitched and averaged less than 6 ER per game.
His career average is 4.7 ER/game, which is third highest among pitchers with at least 2,500 innings pitched. His inconsistency caused him to have several great years and many bad ones throughout his career. For example, in 1971 he had 28 victories against only 10 losses while finishing with a 3.32 ERA. The following year he had 23 wins against 43 losses with a 5.02 ERA.
Another reason why he is considered one of the most inconsistent pitchers is because he had several injury-shortened seasons during his career. In 1964, he lost part of the season due to shoulder problems. Two years later, he missed nearly two months of action after breaking two bones in his left hand while hitting against a wall outside of his home stadium.
In addition, he had three other seasons where he made 30 or more starts but did not finish the season due to injury. The last one occurred in 1979 when he made 31 appearances but only finished the season due to elbow surgery that same year.