January 4, 2013
Cooperstown 2013: Curt Schilling
First Year on Ballot
Baltimore Orioles (1988-1990), Houston Astros (1991), Philadelphia Phillies (1992-2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2000-2003) and Boston Red Sox (2004-2007)
Career record of 216-146 (.597 winning percentage) with an ERA of 3.46 and 3116 strikeouts. Three 20-win seasons, nine seasons with 200-plus innings pitched, five seasons with 200 or more strikeouts...three times with more than 300. Three-time World Series champion (2001, 2004 and 2007) and six-time All-Star selection (1997-1999, 2001-2002 and 2004). Owns a postseason record of 11-2...good for a .846 winning percentage.
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, few pitchers were as consistent as Curt Schilling. He led his league in strikeouts twice (1997 an 1998) and in wins (2001 and 2004). He was efficient, leading his league in K/BB ratio five times in six years (2001-2004 and 2006). Plus, he was very durable, leading the league in starts three times (1997, 1998 and 2001) and in complete games four times (1996, 1998, 2000 and 2001).
Schilling also had good numbers in modern statistics, having the second best WAR for pitchers twice, and the third best WAR for pitchers one other time. He was runner up for the Cy Young Award three times, an All-Star six times and Co-World Series MVP for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. In fact, he appeared in the World Series four times, winning three rings.
While he was consistent, he never quite went to a full elite status. Other than leading the league in wins a couple of times, his only other “major” time leading a season in a stat was strikeouts once. Even with the Diamondbacks, he was second fiddle to Randy Johnson, runner-upping to him as Cy Young and sharing a World Series MVP award. Outside of the stats, Schilling was never a popular player. He routinely criticized fellow players, once attacked a QuesTec camera with a bat and often fought with the media. While these incidents would rarely affect voting, this year the character clause is in sharp focus under the steroid cloud, with Schilling himself saying alleged steroid users shouldn’t be in the Hall. To that end, Schilling himself doesn’t consider himself Hall-worthy.
Now, the “Intangibles”. Three words…The Bloody Sock. It’ll be hard to not think of Schilling from the injured ankle and the very visible evidence in the 2004 ALCS. The very literal Red Sock is the most memorable part of the Boston Red Sox finally winning a World Series. It was most definitely a Hall of Fame moment and the sock itself is already there. It’s likely the man himself will be there eventually as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kevin J. Cunningham is the writer for the webcomic Lunatic Fringe about the San Francisco Giants and their fans, which is drawn by Rog Hernandez. He's also a novelist whose first novel that has nothing to do with baseball, To Hell With Fate, is currently available at all major ebook stores. The comic can be found at www.sflunaticfringe.com, and can be found at Facebook at www.facebook.com/sflunaticfringe, followed at Twitter at @sflunaticfringe, and can even be found on Google+.