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Drinking Coffee With a Fork: The Story of Steve Carlton and the '72 Phillies Paperback – May 13, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Camino Books, Inc.; 1st edition (May 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933822252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933822259
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


What Steve Carlton did for the Phillies in 1972 was more than just pitch. This was a magic act, a miracle, a man doing the impossible. Would Sandy Koufax have won 27 games for that team? Would Pedro Martinez? Would Greg Maddux? We have Steve Bucci, Dave Brown, and this terrific book to thank for answering those very questions and especially this one: Was this the greatest pitching season of all time? --Jayson Stark Senior Baseball Writer ESPN.com

About the Author

STEVE BUCCI is an Emmy Award-winning Philadelphia sportscaster who has covered the Phillies since 1997. The author of Steve Bucci s Total Phillies Trivia and the Phillies Trivia iPhone app, he lives in Philadelphia.

DAVE BROWN is the author of three previous books, including Philly Jocks: The Best Philadelphia Pro Athletes of Our Time. He lives in Downingtown, Pennsylvania

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Customer Reviews

As a lifelong Phillies fan, I loved this book.
Steven Corino
Drinking Coffee with a Fork was a really satisfying journey and wonderfully entertaining read!
Dave Steidel
One of the All-Time great pitchers in MLB history, deserving of this.
E. Alton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dave Steidel on August 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A Philly fan since 1959, I saw the last game of 1971 in the brand new Veterans Stadium while waiting my shipping out orders at the Philly Naval Base which sat about a 1/2 mile from the Vet. In 1972 I spent the entire baseball season with the Navy in Europe. The first game I saw that season was game 2 of the World Series as we returned from our Mediterranean deployment. So I missed seeing any of Steve Carlton's incredible season having only the wire services to keep me in touch with MLB in '72 - until I bought this book.

Steve Bucci and Dave Brown paint a beautifully descriptive account of Lefty's super season combined with enough of Philly's local landscape and flavor to make you feel like you just downed a cheese steak 'wit' from Pat's and chased it with a cold bottle of Schmidt's beer. This book takes you through every one of Carlton's starts en-route to his leading the league in starts-41, innings-346, complete games-30!!!, wins-27, ERA-1.97 and K's-310 as well as his 15 game winning streak and 57 innings without allowing and earned run. No other pitcher in modern baseball ever posted Steve's numbers for a last place team before or after.

If you are a Phillies fan who lived through the horribly empty early 70's of the Phillies you will even welcome back the names of Roger Freed, Joe Lis, Oscar Gamble, Mike Anderson, Tommy Hutton, Billy Champion, Ken Reynolds and Don Money (all busts) once again. These Phils were really bad, but Bucci/Brown succeed in keeping you at the edge your seat as they masterfully describe Carlton's charge to reach his pre-season goal of 25 wins, which he established while still with the Cardinals before being traded for Rick Wise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Smith on May 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
One of the greatest individual seasons by a pitcher is told in rich detail in this recap of the 1972 season of the Philadelphia Phillies and their ace pitcher Steve Carlton. In that season, Carlton won 27 games for the Phillies, a team that won only 59 the entire season. Carlton not only won the most games in the National League that year, but he also had the lowest earned run average and led the league in strikeouts. This earned him the "Triple Crown" of pitching, something that only a handful of pitchers have ever done.

The book covers the season from when the Phillies obtained the left-handed pitcher in exchange for another pitcher, Rick Wise, from the St. Louis Cardinals. The trade was met with disappointment from fans and the media as Wise was a popular player and had thrown a no-hitter the previous season, a bright spot in an otherwise bad season for the Phillies. Now with Wise gone, why would anyone pay attention to the team?

While the team as a whole was even worse in 1972, fans were still interested in the team every fourth day as Carlton took his turn in the pitching rotation. He dominated the opposing team regularly during that season, and had masterful performances throughout the season. Fans who did not see baseball during that time would be amazed at what he did then, such as pitching the entire game when it would go extra innings, pitch every fourth day as opposed to five as is common now, and finish games in under two hours, something very rarely done today. These feats and other descriptions make this book like a time machine, taking us back to a time when baseball was a very different game than it is now.

Did I skim? No

Did I learn something new about the topic? Yes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gregory A. Foltz on June 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're a baseball fan, regardless of whether you root for the Phils, this highly detailed account of Steve Carlton's amazing 1972 season will resonate as one of the great baseball books of all time. I happen to be among the Phils faithful, and was 15 years old that magical season. I was there at the Vet with my Dad the night that Carlton captured his 15th consecutive win. He seemed unbeatable and untouchable. It's one of my great memories growing up with the Phillies.

Authors Bucci and Brown do an effective job setting the stage for the '72 season, with Baseball's labor strifes, the battle for free agency and what it meant at the time from the player's perspective to be under contract to some of the legendary team owners.

They also detail the season Rick Wise enjoyed prior to the trade that brought Carlton to the Phils, and the season Carlton enjoyed with the St. Louis Cardinals. This context setting is one of the more valuable aspects of the book.

A few remarkable facts: Carlton pitched every fourth day. This would be unheard of today in the modern game. He was actually under .500 in the win-loss column early in the season, prior to his 15 game undefeated streak. He even threw a stunning 160 pitches in a start against the Mets. This figure alone is just mind boggling in context of how bullpens and late inning relief are set up and managed today.

Readers are left wondering just how many games Carlton could have won that year had the season started on time, instead of being delayed by a players strike, and if the Phillies could have fielded an even moderately competitive team, instead of the AA squad they ran out there nightly. With just a few timely hits, he could have left Denny McLain's 30 wins in his rear-view mirror quite easily.
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