Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
After 2004's epic performance, 2005 was an unhappy epilogue for Curt Schilling. The heroism of the triumph over ankle injury of the 2004 playoffs had as its necessary consequence an injury-riddled struggle in 2005, and a somewhat humiliating trip to the bullpen.

Schilling has had a fascinating career. He was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round in 1986, and made his way up the farm system, reaching double A New Britain in 1988. He was a good pitcher, but not a great one at that point, walking 40 and striking out 62 in 102 innings by the end of July. The Sox found themselves in the hunt and shipped Schilling and Brady Anderson to the Orioles for Mike Boddicker. It was the first of many trades for Schilling, most of which have been one-sided. Schilling bounced up and down between triple A Rochester and Baltimore in 1989 and 1990, gradually improving his K rate and overall effectiveness.

On January 2, 1991, the Orioles and Astros made the big trade of the off-season, with the Astros sending slugging first baseman Glenn Davis to the O's for Schilling, and Pete Harnisch, and Steve Finley. Talk was how Davis would hit 40-45 homers once liberated from the Astrodome. It didn't happen, and Finley and Schilling are in the majors 15 years later.

Painfully for the Astros, they didn't fully benefit from the trade either. Schilling pitched well in relief for them in 1991, striking out 71 in 75 innings, but for some reason they shipped him just before the 1992 season to the Phillies for Jason Grimsley. Bad timing. Schilling's first bloom was coming.

Schilling emerged as a top quality starter for the Phillies in 1992 after throwing 226 fine innings. Schilling followed that up with another good season in 1993, and a good post-season performance for the Phils in a losing cause. Schilling's prime years of 1994 through 96 were disrupted by injuries and the labour dispute, but he obviously put the lost time to good use as he emerged in his early 30s as a great pitcher. After giving the Phillies 3 and 1/2 fine seasons, he was sent at the trade deadline in 2000 to Arizona for Travis Lee, Omar Daal, Vicente Padilla and Nelson Figueroa. He struggled down the stretch for the D'Backs, but the deal paid off in 2001 when he teamed with Randy Johnson to lead the D'Backs to a World Series title.

After another great season in 2002, and an off season in 2003, Schilling was successfully pursued by Theo Epstein, had a fine regular season in 2004, and a memorable playoffs as the Red Sox finally got their rings. Schilling has an overall post-season record of 8-2 in 110 innings with a 2.06 ERA and peripheral statistics to match. This is one of the finest post-season records ever.

For his comparables, we will use Kevin Brown, David Cone, Tommy Bridges, and Dazzy Vance. Here's how they fared through age 38:

Pitcher     IP(seasons)   ERA+   K/9IP(Lg)   W/9IP(Lg)  HR/9IP(Lg)  Team DER(Lg)  W-L

Schilling   2906.0(12.2)  128    8.8(6.2)    2.0(3.4)   0.9(1.1)    686(690)      192-131
Brown       3051.0(12.8)  129    6.7(6.3)    2.5(3.5)   0.6(0.9)    696(692)      197-131
Cone        2880.7(12.3)  120    8.3(6.0)    3.5(3.6)   0.8(1.1)    688(689)      193-123
Bridges     2805.0(10.1)  126    5.3(3.4)    3.8(3.5)   0.6(0.6)    685(686)      193-137
Vance       2086.7(7.8)   130    6.4(2.9)    2.5(3.4)   0.5(0.6)    691(684)      233-210 

Brown and Schilling are quite close, with Schilling's superiority in the post-season (Brown has gone 5-5 with a 4.30 ERA in October) a big difference. Brown's career also doesn't quite have the markers of greatness that Schilling's does. He was a good pitcher in the American League in Texas and Baltimore, who exploded on the league when in favourable circumstances in Florida and Los Angeles. Most of the comparables were done by age 38, but Vance had one great season left, and a couple of pretty good ones, and ended up pitching as much as Schilling has already. Vance is a Hall of Famer, and the rest of the comparables are out, or likely will be.

Will Schilling go in the Hall of Fame? Of course. He's at worst a marginal Hall of Famer on merit, and he's got the "fame" angle covered pretty nicely, wouldn't you think? The merits are trickier, assuming that he's done now. His career has been quite short, and he hasn't been as dominant as, say, Sandy Koufax. But, like Mike Mussina, he stacks up pretty well against Marichal. That's a Hall of Famer, in my book. We'll conclude our look at starting pitchers with Andy Pettitte and Tim Hudson.
Hall Watch 2005-Curt Schilling | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 10:04 AM EST (#140706) #
Schilling is a slam dunk, I think. Though he will retire with middling, by HoF standards, numbers -- it may raise the hackles of, say, the Ron Guidry supporters who point to the Cy Young Award (and three other top-five finishes), the two World Series rings and the five Gold Gloves as supporting evidence. Schilling finished second in the CYA race three times in four years, but never won it, incidentaly.

Take away the bloody sock and the first Sox title since Phil Niekro's granddaddy was young and Schilling comes nowhere near HoF induction, D-Backs title or not.
Pistol - Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 11:09 AM EST (#140711) #
I guess I'm not sold that Schilling is an automatic.

Jack Morris won about 50 more games and has the 1991 Game 7 on his resume and isn't coming close to making it. Granted, Morris isn't nearly as good as Schilling, but he has the similar postseason heroics.
Anders - Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 12:01 PM EST (#140714) #
I also, on the balance of things, am unconvinced Schilling will make it in, at least right away - or is a straightforward HOFer. If he rebounds from this past season of injury, then I think that certainly helps, but if his career was over now, I'd be slightly suprised if his ascension was immediate.

The last pitchers to get in that werent Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver all had trouble - it took Don Sutton 5 years to get in, Phil Niekro 5 years, Fergie Jenking 3 years, Gaylord Perry 3 years - and they all won 300+ games, with the exception of Fergie who was at 284, and he won 20 games 7 times. Schilling, meanwhile, will likely be competing head to head (if not exactly, then at least in mind) against Clemens and Maddux, as well as Randy Johnson, Glavine, Smoltz and Mussina.

I think its a long trip for Schilling - and given that the whole process will take place 7+ years after the WS win... well, people forget these things. Who were the heroes of the '99 World Series? Clearly his moment was bigger, but I think its premature to start working on his bust
CeeBee - Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 12:01 PM EST (#140715) #
If Schilling gets in I can see a pretty long list of pitchers rather upset starting with Blyleven, John, Morris, Guidry and Kaat who come to mind among starters.
kpataky - Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 12:41 PM EST (#140717) #
Jack Morris won about 50 more games and has the 1991 Game 7 on his resume and isn't coming close to making it. Granted, Morris isn't nearly as good as Schilling, but he has the similar postseason heroics.

I think I remember Schilling serving up a homer to Soriano late in game 7 that gave the Yankees a lead in the 2001 World Series. That was Schilling's only game 7 appearance of his career.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 03:22 PM EST (#140728) #
So, readers have doubts that the writers will select Schilling. Hmm, I guess we'll see.

As for his merits, he's quite clearly not as good as Blyleven was. He has however been a significantly better pitcher than Morris by almost any measure, better than Guidry and with a longer career, and had a different type of career than John.

The funny thing is that I don't care for Schilling. I respect his preparation and his work on the mound, but neither that nor my opinion of him as a person entered into it.
kpataky - Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 03:58 PM EST (#140732) #
If you look at Schillings career, he has had periods of brilliance, but I don't think there was a long stretch in a row where you can say he dominated his sport. There are many pitchers over time with similar stretches. (I'm thinking David Cone) That's why I wouldn't vote for him. Maybe if he adds another Championship ring, 2 or 3 more 20 win seasons or a couple more Cy Young awards, but at his age with all the mileage he's accumulated, I don't see that happening.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 04:52 PM EST (#140737) #
You know what might hurt Schilling's chances? If the BoSox win two or three more titles in the next decade. (I will be dead if that happens, incidentally, as life will not be worth living, I think.)

If that DOESN'T happen, then he is forever mythologized as The Guy Who Broke The Curse." The best thing that could happen to his HOF chances is three or four more heartbreakers for Boston in the post-season.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 08:47 PM EST (#140748) #
Is Schilling a HOFer? To be honest, I doubt he passes the bus test at this point. Only 1 of his 10 comparables is a member of the HOF with no others really close (maybe David Cone, but that is a remote shot imo). He has under 200 wins, no Cy Youngs, just 3 20 win seasons. He was very good for a long time and the playoff MVP's (2 of them) plus the bloody sock help a lot. Could he make it? Yes. Will he? I doubt it without another good season (ie: crack the 200 win mark).
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, February 08 2006 @ 01:35 PM EST (#140767) #
I think you underestimate the ability of the Boston sports proletariate to mythologize their heroes; Schilling gets in the Hall -- I am NOT saying he SHOULD -- because by 2017, every single 40-year-old in Mass, NH and the area will have personally been at Fenway for all nine of Schilling's perfect games against the Yankees AND for his four complete-game wins in the World Series while pitching on two broken ankles.

No, seriously, I think he gets in and if it's not first-ballot, the Peter Gammons Choir will fire up the "it's a shame the writers don't understand baseball in a meaningful way" wagon, and echoes will come from Arizona enough to keep the discussion continental-wide until he does get in.

Personally, I'd rather see Mussina in the Hall, even if both are done career-wise RIGHT NOW, which may be the case for Schill, but probably isn't for Moose.
DavidC - Wednesday, February 08 2006 @ 04:58 PM EST (#140775) #
Being a Boston hero didn't help Tiant or Rice and from what I've head about me 'red light' is that he isn't too popular in baseball circles.

I don't doubt that Curt has hall of fame talent - his problem has been injuries which has robbed him of the counting stats needed by marginal hall candidates.

Smoltz for example should match him in wins - and has all those saves - I would putting Schilling no higher than ninth in this generation of pitchers - (behind Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, Pedro, Glavine, Rivera, Smoltz & Mussina)
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, February 08 2006 @ 05:04 PM EST (#140776) #
I thought about Rice, but the fact is, he was not beloved in Boston -- let's put it down to his sullenness. Because I would hate to play the card where I point out what Schilling is that neither Rice nor Tiant is. But in Boston, that plays a role, kids.
Hall Watch 2005-Curt Schilling | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.