St. Louis Post-Dispatch - April 27, 1980
Carlton’s One-Hitter Stifles Cards
By Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch Staff
PHILADELPHIA – If the Lou Brock trade the Cardinals made in 1964 can be called one of their best, then the Steve Carlton trade of 1972 can legitimately be called one of their worst.
Carlton won his 151st game in a Philadelphia Phillies' uniform and 25th in 33 career decisions against the Cardinals when he pitched a masterful one-hitter in a 7-0 victory Saturday night. In the process, Carlton became the most prolific one-hit pitcher in modern National League history, achieving his sixth such success. He has never pitched a no-hitter in the majors and really wasn't close Saturday, inasmuch as Ted Simmons lined a single to left field to lead off the second inning.
But the 35-year-old lefthander, who struck out five and walked one, was virtually unhittable. Until the ninth inning when Garry Templeton flied to deep right and Tom Herr slashed a shot to third, only Simmons had really caught up with Carlton. The Cardinal catcher also lined to left-center in the fourth inning.
Saturday's one-hitter broke a six-man logjam in National League annals for this sort of event. Charles "Hoss" Radbourne, pitching before the turn of the century, had seven one-hitters for a variety of teams and Bob Feller holds the major league record of either 11 of 12, depending on which record book is your source.
But as one observer said, it might have been the closest 7-0 game ever. Until the seventh, John Fulgham had matched Carlton pitch for pitch, having allowed only two singles and no runs. But Del Unser, who has made the Cardinals his whipping boys no matter what uniform he's been wearing, pinch-hit a two-run triple just out of Tony Scott's reach in right-center and the rout was on.
"When it got out of hand, it went in a hurry," said Cardinals Manager Ken Boyer.
Unser, after driving home Greg Luzinski and Bob Boone, scored when Herr's relay throw to third bounced into the stands and the Phillies then scored four more runs in the eighth.
Singles by Pete Rose, Greg Gross and Garry Maddox finished Fulgham, then Donnie Moore allowed a homer to Boone.
"Did it really end up 7-0?" said Fulgham, somewhat incredulous himself.
Carlton, immersed in a longstanding feud with Philadelphia reporters, does not talk to any print media types, but he did go on the air with his long-time catcher Tim McCarver, who was part of the local television team.
Asked what Carlton had said, McCarver smiled and replied, "What are you going to write? Radio-television favoritism?"
Then McCarver said that Carlton had acknowledged throwing only 20 percent fastballs through the first five or six innings. "Of his first 57 pitches, only 11 were fastballs," said McCarver. "Amazing. That's the best one-hitter I didn't catch."
Cardinals pitching coach Claude Osteen said, "That might be the most number of breaking balls I've ever seen in a shutout." That is, of course, if you're excluding knuckleballers.
And Bobby Bonds, who fanned three straight times, missing probably nine sliders, said, "He had me really jumping. To one-hit this ball club, you've got to be that good."
Ah, yes, the 1972 trade. Carlton was engaged in a contract hassle. He wanted something outrageous like $40,000. Owner Gussie Busch decreed that he be traded. And in February of that year, the Cardinals acquired righthander Rick Wise, who has been a decent major leaguer. But not a future Hall of Famer as Carlton, who Saturday became the 10th major leaguer to pass 2,700 strikeouts, surely will be.
Now, a little trivia. What lefthanded starter has won the most games for the Cardinals since the Carlton trade in 1972? While Carlton was winning 151 for the Phillies (giving him 228 for his career), John Curtis was the leading Cardinal among lefthanded starters. He was 24-34 in three years.
"You're not going to see games any better than the two games we've seen him," said Boyer. Last week in St. Louis, Carlton, who now has 43 career shutouts, had the Cardinals blanked until the ninth inning when he surrendered three harmless runs in an 8-3 victory.
"I've seen him pitch that way before," said Simmons, whose major league tenure has paralleled Carlton's in Philadelphia and who caught Carlton in St. Louis for two years.
Simmons hit a first-pitch fastball for his single. It was the last fastball Simmons was to see all night. He, in fact, was the only other Cardinal baserunner, drawing a walk in the seventh to snap a stretch of 17 batters Carlton had retired in succession.
There was no action for third-base coach Jack Krol and had there been a coach at second, he wouldn't have had any, either. The fumed Carlton slider, which began transforming his career in 1969, was at work. It was over in 1 hour 46 minutes and into the record books.
"But it isn't like it was suspenseful," said Simmons. "It was only the second inning."
Simmons joined Glenn Beckert, Chris Speier, Felix Millan, Jeff Leonard and Elliott Maddox as players who have broken up a Carlton no-hit bid. The thing the Cardinals will never be able to figure out is why Carlton is 23-26 against the New York Mets and 25-8 against them.
REDBIRD NOTES: Ken Oberkfell, rested for two days, will return to the lineup for Sunday's finale of the three-game series and Terry Kennedy will catch. Bob Forsch (0-1) will oppose the Phillies' Dick Ruihven (1-1).
Lou Brock will make his debut as a radio and television commentator Sunday. "You'd better interview me before I fall under .300," advised Ken Reitz, traditionally hot in April.
Bake McBride was unhappy about being criticized publicly by Phillies Manager Dallas Green for his baserunning in Friday's 3-1 Cardinal victory. McBride, limping on a swollen knee, did not advance from first to third on a single and then was thrown out at home on a bouncer to the mound. He suggested that Green should have put in a pinch-runner.
Green, in his first full season as Phillies manager after succeeding low-key Danny Ozark, has been likened to a drill sergeant. "He even watches to see how many beers you drink after a game," said one player.