Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another '72 added via eBay

Lefty is in the fold.

Picked up this beauty last night on the Bay.  Completely forgot that I threw in a bid at 2AM about four nights ago. Usually I never just throw in a bid as I figured I would have seen go back in forth at auctions close. This has happen a bit lately with some other '72 high numbers/star cards.

Turns out, I was the only one this go.  So one "TRADED" down, another six more to go. I don't know why Topps didn't take this route more often during the early 70's, or even earlier. They DID issue there cards in series during the course of the season. I have always like these TRADED cards. I missed out on a Frank Robinson, a Joe Morgan over the weekend, so this was a nice surprise.

Here is a little background info on the trade of Carlton to the Phillies ...

It was one of the worst trades ever made, but no one realized it for a while. In 1972, St. Louis Cardinals’ left hander Steve Carlton wanted $65,000 to work for the Cardinals. They were willing to pay him $60,000, Philadelphia Phillies’ right hander Rick Wise wanted $65,000 to pitch for the Phillies, which the Phillies would not consider. Each pitcher become a holdout.

On February 25, 1972, the Cardinals traded Carlton to the Phillies for Wise. The impetus was the fact that neither the Cardinals nor the Phillies wanted to pay THEIR pitcher $65,000, but each team was willing to pay $65,000 to another team’s pitcher. Wise was ecstatic to join the Cardinals, but a shocked Carlton said he would have reconsidered if he had been aware that he would be traded.

The Phillies gave Carlton a one year contract for $65,000 and the Cardinals gave the same amount to Wise. Baseball experts considered Wise and Carlton to be “mirror images” of each other. Carlton was 27 years old and had won 77 games in seven seasons. Wise was a year younger and had won 75 games in seven seasons with the Phillies. In 1971, Carlton was 20-9 with a 3.56 ERA, while Wise had been 17-14 with a 2.88 ERA. Carlton had LOST 19 games in 1970, which was ammunition the Cardinals used against Carlton.

Many baseball people at the time thought the Cards were getting the better pitcher.  Turns out, the Phillies, not the Cardinals, would become the dominant team in  the National League East, winning the division in 1976, 1977, and 1978, and finally winning their only World Championship in 1980. Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, Jay Johnstone, Dick Allen, Greg Maddox, Lonnie Smith, and the great Pete Rose usually provided Carlton with enough runs.

In 1972, before the Phillies became contenders, Carlton had one of the most incredible seasons ever. For the last place Phillies, Carlton won 27 games. He was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball until about 1984, winning a total of 329 games. Carlton was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994.

Rick Wise was a good pitcher, but he never was more than that. He won 19 games for the Red Sox in 1975, which was his best season. He won a playoff game and a World Series game that season as the Red Sox lost the World Series. In his career, Wise was 188-181 with a 3.69 ERA.

And with that, I am another card closer to my 1972 Topps set. Welcome home Lefty.

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