Granted it's a bit of "hindsight being 20/20", but since Steve Carlton was the only Major League pitcher to "win" the pitching triple crown between Sandy Koufax in 1966 and Dwight Gooden in 1985, when he paced the N.L. in all three major stats in 1972, I decided to go ahead and create a "highlight" card for him in the 1973 Topps set.
Take a look:
It follows my designs for the Roberto Clemente and Jim Barr highlights from the same "set" that I posted earlier this year.
Carlton's 1972 season was one for the history books, as he ended up winning 27 games for a team that only managed to win 59 all together for the entire year!
To put things in perspective, the Phillies pitcher behind Carlton in wins that year was Darrell "Bucky" Brandon with seven! Seven! And he was a reliever!
The other three starters for the Phillies that year posted records of: 2-15 (Ken Reynolds), 4-14 (Bill Champion) and 4-10 (Woodie Fryman).
Throw in Dick Selma (2-9) and Wayne Twitchell (5-9), who each made over 10 starts that year, and you see just how colossal Carlton's year was in the annals of baseball history.
Now let's also look at his 1.97 earned run average and 310 strikeouts, and I tell you, (and bear with me now), as far as ONE player's value to a team, you have to wonder, was Pete Rose MORE valuable to the Red's, who also had Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, etc, than Carlton was to the Phillies?
It's incredible to think of this one guy making it all happen on his own like that, especially in baseball where it's harder to do than most other team sports.
Wish I was old enough to watch it all unfold back then!