10. Steve Carlton (1980)
Steve Carlton came to the Phillies in 1972 when they were one of the worst teams in the league. The franchise gradually got better and better thanks in large part to Carlton’s indomitable performances on the mound. Though 1980 wasn’t his best season ever statistically (that comes later on this list), it was his most important and the most important to the long-suffering Philadelphia franchise.
The Phillies were in a battle with the Expos and Pirates all season for first place in the NL East. Carlton led the league with 24 wins and his team would need every single one as the Phillies just edged Montreal by a single game to claim the division title. In addition to his win totals, he led the league with 286 strikeouts while posting a 2.34 ERA. Teammate Mike Schmidt won the NL MVP that season and deserved much of the credit for the Phils’ success, but it was Carlton who led the league in WAR at 9.4, as compared to Schmidt’s 9.1.
Not only did Carlton have an amazing regular season but that success carried over into the playoffs. He went 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA, winning two games in the World Series, including the Game 6 clincher against the Royals to give the Phillies their first ever world championship.