St. Louis Cardinals: Should Steve Carlton be in the Cardinal HOF?

2004 National Baseball Hall of Fame Weekend -  Induction Ceremonies - July 25, 2004
2004 National Baseball Hall of Fame Weekend - Induction Ceremonies - July 25, 2004 / Al Messerschmidt/GettyImages
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Baseball Hall of Famer, Steve Carlton, has been nominated for the Cardinal Hall of Fame for the 6th time. Should the Phillies legend be inducted?

On the surface, it seems like a ridiculous question. Should a 4-time Cy Young Award Winner, a 10-time All-Star, a pitching Triple Crown winner, 4-time N.L. Wins leader and National Baseball Hall of Famer former St. Louis Cardinal be admitted to the Cardinal Hall of Fame?

Of course, I'm talking about former Cardinal pitcher Steve Carlton. This legendary lefty is up for the Cardinal Hall of Fame for the 6th time. Nevertheless, Cardinal fans who have voted on the past Hall of Fame nominees, have yet to find Carlton worthy of being admitted to the Cardinal Hall of Fame.


First of all, his Cy Young Awards, 7 of 10 All-Star appearances, the pitching Triple Crown, and the 4-time N.L. wins leader, were while he was wearing a Philadelphia Phillies uniform. Second, Carlton hasn't worn a Cardinal uniform since 1971. That means nearly two generations of Cardinal fans weren't around when Carlton wore the Birds on the Bat.

In fact, even many Cardinal fans who remember him when he played in St. Louis, would still consider him a Phillies legend. However, if we just focus on his time with the Cardinals, there is a legitimate case to be made for Steve Carlton's admission to the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

The Case for Steve Carlton

The Miami, Florida native was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1963 and entered their minor league system in 1964. Carlton advanced quickly through the Cardinals system and made his major league debut in 1965. By 1967, he was a regular in the Cardinal rotation.

During the Cardinals' 1967 World Championship season, Carlton was 14-9, with a 2.98 ERA, and pitched 193 innings. During the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, he started Game 5 and threw 6 strong innings.

In 1968, during the Cardinals N.L. Pennant Championship run, Carlton was 13-11, with a 2.99 ERA, and pitched 232 innings. He also earned his first All-Star appearance.

But Carlton's best year in St. Louis was in 1971 when he was 20-9 with a 3.56 ERA and pitched in 273 innings. Additionally, he earned his third All-Star appearance.

During his seven-year tenure with the Cardinals, he was 77-62 with a 3.10 ERA. During his five years as a starter, Carlton was 74-59 with a 3.11 ERA. The 6-4 lefty also had a 7-year WAR of 20.9, a 1.279 WHIP, pitched 66 complete games, 16 shutouts, threw 1265 innings, and earned 3 All-Star appearances.

With Carlton's case out of the way, it's important to compare his to other Cardinals' Hall of Fame candidates and recent inductees.