Worst Trade In MLB History?
This Day In Baseball History February 25th
On this day in 1972, the St. Louis Cardinals traded Steve Carlton to the Philadelphia Phillies for Rick Wise. Let us take a look at one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history.
The Steve Carlton and Rick Wise trade is one of the most famous trades in baseball history. It took place on February 25, 1972, when the Philadelphia Phillies traded left-handed pitcher Steve Carlton to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for right-handed pitcher Rick Wise. At the time, the trade was considered relatively even. Below are their stats at the time of the trade, courtesy of Baseball Reference.
Carlton was having salary disputes with the Cardinals which led in part to their wanting to part ways. Steve Carlton was one of the best pitchers in baseball at the time of the trade. He had won 20 games in both the 1970 and 1971 seasons, and had led the National League in strikeouts in both years. However, in 1971, Carlton had also led the league in losses, with a record of 20-14. Despite his impressive strikeout numbers, many experts believed that Carlton was struggling with his control and that his performance was declining.
On the other hand, Rick Wise was also one of the top pitchers in the league. Wise had gone 17-14 with a 2.88 ERA in 1971, and had also hit two home runs in a single game. He was considered a rising star in the league, and many believed that he had the potential to be a future ace.
In the years following the trade, Steve Carlton went on to become one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history. He won 329 games over the course of his career, struck out more than 4,000 batters, and won four Cy Young Awards. In contrast, Rick Wise struggled to find the same success he had with the Phillies. He won just 16 games with the Cardinals in 1972 and over the course of his career never lived up to his potential.
Steve Carlton's performance in the years following the trade helped lead the Phillies to multiple playoff appearances, including their first-ever World Series championship in 1980. Meanwhile, Rick Wise's career never quite reached the same heights he had seen prior to the trade.
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