The Phillies’ recent trade for Roy Halladay has been the talk of the town.
They acquired baseball’s premier pitcher. The only pitcher who could be better than Halladay right now would be Tim Lincecum.
The Phillies made a risky move trading away their ace pitcher Cliff Lee, but that makes the deal all the more interesting. Will the big risk equal a big reward? Or will it go down in flames?
The deal is very similar to a deal the Phillies made in February 1972. The St. Louis Cardinals were trying to trade away disgruntled left-handed pitcher Steve Carlton and were looking for a good team to trade with.
The Phillies, on the other hand, had fan-favorite Rick Wise, who was coming off his best season yet.
The Cardinals proposed a deal to the Phillies that would send Carlton to the Phillies in exchange for Wise. No other players would be involved, just a swap of aces.
The deal was the best in Phillies history as Carlton was 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA the next year. He would go on to win 241 games as a Phillie and became a Hall of Famer in 1994.
Now, Wise didn’t do so bad himself. He won 32 games for the Cards in the next two seasons and finished with a career record of 188-181.
Both of these deals are very similar. In 1972, Carlton was 27 while Wise was 26. Right now, Halladay is 32, and Lee is 31.
Both deals involved trading an extremely dominant pitcher for a fan favorite.
Both involved a pitcher who wanted to be traded.
Both involved a lefty and a righty (which isn’t a big deal, just coincidental).
Do I expect Halladay to pitch as well as Carlton? No, of course not, but I would be extremely happy if he did. Carlton won four Cy Young Awards as a Phillie. Who wouldn’t love that?
But with Halladay and Hamels, the Phillies won’t be too bad themselves.
All I can hope for is that Halladay will be half as good as Carlton, but I’ll be happier if he can do just as good.
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