10,000 days ago (a “day-versary” as I call it), Steve Carlton made a bit of history for himself.
On Sept. 14, 1984, he pitched 6.2 IP to earn a victory over the Expos. In was his 312th career victory, and more important for today’s item, it was win No. 235 with the Philadelphia Phillies. That win made him the all-time franchise leader with one more than fellow Hall of Famer Robin Roberts.
Among other things, it’s the last time any of the pre-expansion franchise teams gained a new all-time franchise win leader.
Of the elder 16 teams, two have an all-time winner whose career took place entirely in the deadball era: The Giants and A’s with Christy Mathewson and Eddie Plank. The all-time winner for four more began in the deadball period: Detroit, Washington/Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati had Hooks Dauss, Walter Johnson, Wilbur Cooper, and Eppa Rixey respectively.
Since Whitey Ford began all-time franchise win leader in the late 1960s, only four pre-expansion franchises have changed their all-time win leader. The Orioles actually did it twice. In 1971, Dave McNally passed up previous leader Urban Shocker. Six years later, Jim Palmer surpassed McNally on his way to 268 Baltimore wins. In 1972, Bob Gibson became the all-time Cardinals leader. In 1979, Don Sutton became the all-time Dodgers leader.
So it happened four times to three pre-expansion franchises in the 1970s, but since then it has only happened once, with Steve Carlton and the Phillies. Obviously, there’s one clear explanation for this: Free agency. Keeping a terrific pitcher for a prolonged period of time has gotten much harder.
In fact, there have been only three pitchers who debuted in the free agency era who have won 200 games for one franchise. Andy Pettitte won 203 with the Yankees and longtime teammates Tom Glavine and John Smoltz accrued 244 and 210 wins each with the Braves. (It should be noted that Glavine won enough games to be franchise leader for most pre-expansion teams, but not the one he happened to play for.)
Getting back to Steve Carlton, his franchise-record setting win was near the end of the line for him. He’d pitch another year and a half with the Phillies, posting a record of 6-16 in the process. Still, his 241 wins as a Phillie is not only their record, but it’s also tied for 14th most any pitcher has ever had with a franchise. Here’s the all-time leaderboard
Wins Pitcher 417 Walter Johnson 372 Christy Mathewson 356 Warren Spahn 329 Kid Nichols 284 Eddie Plank 268 Phil Niekro 268 Jim Palmer 266 Bob Feller 260 Ted Lyons 254 Red Faber 253 Carl Hubbell 251 Bob Gibson 244 Tom Glavine 241 Steve Carlton 241 Cy Young
Cy Young’s 241 wins came with the Cleveland Spiders, a team that no longer exists. But it’s not bad for Carlton to be tied with him.
Aside from that, many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold for those who prefer to skim the list:
1,000 days since Eric Wedge manages his 1,000th big league game. His record so far: 507-493.
1,000 days since Bob Melvin also manages his 1,000th big league game. His record: 493-507.
1,000 days since Todd Helton homers on the 14th pitch of an at bat against Osiris Matos. Incredibly, it’s not the longest battle he’s ever had to end in a homer. He had a 15-pitch at bat on May 13, 2000 that resulted in a homer.
2,000 days since Mark Prior pitches in his last big league game.
2,000 days since Curt Schilling allows nine doubles in one game against the Royals. It’s the most doubles allowed by a pitcher in one appearance since (at least) 1920. His overall line: 7.1 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.
3,000 days since the Twins trade catcher and deeply unpopular teammate A.J. Pierzynski to the Giants for Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and Francisco Liriano. The Twins benefit from this trade while the Giants will cut Pierzynski outright because they didn’t like him personally.
6,000 days since Barry Larkin hits his 100th career home run.
7,000 days since Houston signs free agent pitcher Doug Drabek. This doesn’t work like they hoped it would.
10,000 days since Charlie Hough wins his 100th game. His record: 100-87.
25,000 days since Phil Rizzuto’s only five-hit game. He’s 5-for-6 with a double, and stolen base as the Yankees beat the Senators, 17-7.
1845 Bob Ferguson, nicknamed Death to Flying Things, is born.
1857 The publication “Spirit of the Times” refers to baseball as “the national pastime.”
1893 George H. Burns born.
1896 Charlie Robertson, pitcher who once threw a perfect game, is born.
1919 Jackie Robinson, Hall of Famer and sports icon, is born.
1926 Lou Bierbauer, the guy who caused the Pittsburgh club to get its nickname when they pirated him from another team, dies.
1927 Cleveland releases veteran centerfielder Tris Speaker, who is immediately signed by the Senators.
1927 Judge Landis rules that Rogers Hornsby can’t own stock in the Cardinals and play for the Giants.
1931 Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub, is born.
1931 Hank Aguirre, one of the worst hitting pitchers of all-time, is born.
1940 The Red Sox release catcher Moe Berg, the smartest player in baseball history.
1947 Johnny Kling, catcher for the Tinker-Evers-Chance Cubs, dies.
1947 Nolan Ryan, all-time great fastball pitcher, is born.
1950 Pittsburgh signs high school pitcher Paul Pettit to a record bonus of $100,000.
1952 US federal jury awards Mexican League owner Jorge Pasquel $35,000 for breach of contract by ex-Dodger catcher Mickey Owen.
1956 Buck Weaver, Black Sox who demanded a separate trial, dies at age 65.
1956 St. Louis trades pitcher Brooks Lawrence to the Reds.
1959 Joe Cronin is officially elected to a seven-year term as AL president.
1961 Houston voters approve of a bond to finance a luxury-domed stadium.
1963 Ossie Vitt, former player and the manager the 1940 “Cleveland Crybabies” club rebelled against, dies.
1965 Houston signs amateur free agent Bob Watson.
1965 Japanese pitcher Masanori Murakami says he won’t return to the Giants, instead pitching for the Nankai Hawks. This spurning will result in no other Japanese players in America for 30 years.
1969 The AL and NL agree to an experimental rule change allowing a DH in spring training games.
1969 The DH is approved for use in the Eastern League, Texas League, International League, and New York-Pennsylvania League.
1980 Houston signs free agent Joe Morgan. So long, Cincinnati.
1982 Yuniesky Betancourt is born.
1983 The Phillies sign Tony Perez.
1984 Josh Johnson, pitcher, is born.
1990 Pittsburgh signs free agent Wally Backman.
1994 St. Louis signs free agent Rick Sutcliffe for his final season.
1994 California signs free agent Bo Jackson, who is near the end of his line.
2000 John Rocker is suspended until May 1 for his Sports Illustrated article comments.
2001 A Wall Street Journal article quotes 1951 Giants survivors Monte Irvin, Sal Yvars, and Al Gettel. They admit they stole signs in the 1951 pennant race, those Yvars said it only happened in the best-of-three playoff games against the Dodgers at the end of the season.
2003 The Dodgers sign free agent pitcher Wilson Alvarez.
2003 New Comiskey Park is renamed U.S. Cellular Field.
2003 Pittsburgh signs free agent pitcher Jeff Suppan.
2006 Minnesota signs free agent Ruben Sierra.
2006 Oakland signs free agent Frank Thomas. He leaves the White Sox after a lengthy and excellent stay there.
2008 Florida signs free agent Luis Gonzalez for what will be the last year of his career.
2008 The Yankees sign free agent Morgan Ensberg.
2008 Seattle signs free agent player Brad Wilkerson.