Rookie Card Year: 1965
Investment Rating: 8.0
Steve Norman Carlton, or "Lefty," as he was known to his teammates, was one of the most dominating left-handed pitchers of his era or any other. He was the first pitcher to win four Cy Young Awards and the last pitcher to pitch over 300 innings in a season. The ten-time All-Star also won a Gold Glove and two World Series Championships before retiring in 1988. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994, Carlton has two oddities to his career statistics worth mentioning. He holds the record for balks with 90, and in 1972, his win-loss record accounted for 46 percent of the Phillies' total wins.
Steve Carlton's baseball cards and memorabilia are quite affordable and undervalued for a Hall of Famer of his caliber. His rookie card hails from the 1965 Topps Baseball set and his autographs are readily available as he is a regular on the autograph circuit. Additionally, his signature has been used in hundreds of modern trading card sets.
His game-used items do come up occasionally. Past auctions have included road game jerseys from one of his Cy Young seasons and fielding gloves that sold for close to five figures. Most common are his game-used bats. The fact Carlton played the National League and the bats got little use make them rather plentiful but still highly collectible.
Steve Carlton Rookie Cards
Steve Carlton's only true rookie card comes from an era where future Hall of Famers were often paired with obscure players who barely had a cup of coffee in the bigs. Such is the case with Carlton being paired with Fritz Ackley, who pitched all of 19 innings for the Chicago White Sox. Oddly enough, Carlton collectors would have to wait two years before seeing him showcased solo on his own card, the 1967 Topps Baseball card #146, having been omitted from the 1966 release.