A nice article on Steve Carlton as he won the 10th game of the 1980 season against the Pirates. It covered a lot of typical Steve Carlton material: He was 38 years old, didn't talk to the media (or his wife), stuffed cotton into his ears, and was one of the most feared pitchers in the major leagues. Bill Madlock made reference to "that damn slider" in part of the article. Overall, Carlton would win 24 games and his third Cy Young Award in 1980.
|From The June
5, 1980 edition of The Doylestown Daily Intelligencer:
Carlton Wins Tenth As Phils Top Bucs
by Ron Cook
PITTSBURGH - A man with a microphone innocently strolled over to Philadelphia Phillies' pitcher Steve Carlton Wednesday night. Obviously, he wasn't aware of Carlton's long-standing policy towards the news media.
"I don't give any interviews," Carlton said before walking away "I don't even talk to my wife."
Mrs. Beverly Carlton didn't get much sympathy in the Pittsburgh Pirates' clubhouse. Living with Carlton may be tough at times. Facing him with a baseball in his hand is a nightmare.
"You hope he's hurt before his rotation comes around," Pittsburgh third baseman Bill Madlock said with a laugh. "I remember last year during the World Series every one talked about how tough (Mike) Flanagan and (Scott) McGregor were. I don't think those guys can walk down the same street with Carlton.
"Since I've been m the National League, the only guy I've seen close to him was (Jerry) Koosman when he had his big years with the Mets. Carlton is the best pitcher going in baseball today. He's excellent I'll take him. "
Philadelphia isn't ready to part with its star lefthander, who turned 35 years old in December. The Phils own 24 victories this season. Carlton owns 10, including Wednesday's 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh. "This is one of his fastest starts. Even in the Cy Young years, I don't think he got off to this good of a start," Philly manager Dallas Green said of Carlton, who won the Cy Young award in 1972 when he was 27-10 and in 1977 when he was 23-10. "There's no question he's one of the greatest pitchers of modern times.
"One of the individual things that makes him so great is when he gets that reprieve that second chance he makes the most of it. All the great pitchers have that ability... Koufax. Robin Roberts, all of them. You don't give them a second chance like Steve got tonight. If he gets the lead after the sixth inning, it's like money in the bank."
The Phils gave Carlton the edge he needed with three fifth-inning runs. Good-bye, 3-1 Pittsburgh lead... Hello, Philadelphia victory.
"You go through those last few innings because the game has to go nine innings," Madlock said "But if you don't get Carlton in the first five or six, you know you're not going to get him at all. He'll completely dominate you.
"It's hard to say why the great ones are like that I guess they have it here," Madlock said, placing his hand over his heart. "Some pitchers don't have it in the late innings. The great ones do. "Carlton didn't rattle when Pittsburgh scored single runs off him in the first, second and fourth innings. He didn't let the 31,075 screaming fans at Three Rivers Stadium get under his skin.
"I stuffed cotton in my ears," said Carlton who only grants interviews to his former long-time catcher, Tim McCaxver, who does post-game shows for the Philly television network. "It gets loud here and that helps me concentrate. When it's in, I can hardly hear anyone."
That includes the Pittsburgh hitters. More than one cursed after going to the plate.
"That damn slider," Madlock said "It's not even a strike and you're still hacking at it because it looks so good. Next time you watch him, see how many balls in the dirt are swung at."
Only in the eighth and ninth innings did Pittsburgh threaten to tie the game. Carlton struck out Bill Robinson to end the eighth with Dave Parker on second base and then ended the game by getting Steve Nicosia to fly out and Dale Berra to line out to nght field with Lee Lacy on second.
"You never have enough runs against Pittsburgh," Phils' shortstop Larry Bowa said "I don't care if you've got Cy Young pitching or Steve Carlton. They're the best comeback team in baseball.
"But with Steve out there, I like our chances You know Steve is on when guys like Parker and Madlock tell you how tough he is when they get to second base. In Philadelphia last week, Madlock made it to second and just shook his head He said, 'Man, his slider is nasty.'
"That's when you're glad you're on his team."