Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images
"Lefty" recognizes lefty as Steve Carlton, Jamie Moyer, and thousands of career Ks converged on a 2009 World Series mound.
September 21, 1981: Philadelphia ace Steve Carlton had been in this situation many times before, a bases-loaded jam in the third inning, facing a dangerous hitter. Except today “Lefty” was on the verge of setting a league record and the batter in question was Hall-of-Famer-to-be Andre Dawson. Carlton had already tied the National League’s mark for career strikeouts in the first inning against Larry Parrish. With his usual taciturn disposition, he quietly fans “The Hawk” for K number 3,118.
There are no celebrations or fanfare from the pitcher or the Olympic Stadium staff. "Lefty might not like that kind of stuff," says the Phillies’ Pete Rose.
Carlton finished the evening with a Herculean ten-inning, 12-strikeout effort, surrendering only three hits and three walks. Unfortunately, Philly’s offense failed to produce any runs, and the Expos would eventually win 1-0 after a 17-inning marathon.
Lefty pitched for 24 seasons, compiling a 329-244 record with a 3.22 ERA and 4,136 strikeouts. Only Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan have rung up more career Ks.