Don't get me wrong, Wise was a solid pitcher for a number of seasons with the Phillies. He was an All Star in 1971, pitching to a 2.88 ERA for a Phillies team that lost 95 games under Frank Lucchesi. When we are talking about the worst trades made in the history of the game, this does not make the top 100, or 200, or even... Carlton seemed to be coming into his own though and the crystal ball would see Steve winning 27 games for the last place Phillies in his remarkable 1972 season. Wise pitched well in his two seasons with the Cards, winning 16 games each season and making his 2nd All Star team in 1973. He was then dealt to the Boston Red Sox and despite being hurt in 1974, he won 19 games and pitched for the team in the ALCS and World Series that season.
I guess the problem I have is the fact that this deal just did not make sense to do even not knowing what we know now. Carlton is the owner of 329 career wins and is a Hall of Famer. Wise was 188-181 and was not in the major leagues after a brief appearance in the 1982 season. The only thing could have been if there was a rift with the management in St Louis with Carlton. Maybe the Cards weren't ready to pay him the money he would be commanding. But neither Wise nor Carlton were commanding big salaries at the time as player salaries were still pretty tamed. In fact, Carlton got a raise of $165,000 from the $65,000 he made in 1972 in his 2nd Phillies season of 1973. That, of course, was after he was the best pitcher in the NL in 1972 for a last place team.