Curt Schilling announced his retirement today after a 20 seasons in the Major Leagues spent with the Orioles, Astros, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox.
Almost immediately, ESPN and sports-talk radio was flooded with analysis of Schilling's career. It was a day-long debate about Schilling's worthiness of future Hall of Fame enshrinement.
My first reaction upon hearing of Schilling's retirement...Damn that bloody sock.
I remember laying in bed next to my wife watching Game Six of the 2004 ALCS. The pre-game talk was all about Schilling and his torn tendon sheath in his right ankle.
It was questionable if Schilling would pitch, but it was win or go home for the Red Sox. Schilling would have the team doctor suture the tendon in place, give him a cortisone shot, and go out to do his best Willis Reed impression.
We all know what happened next.
Schilling pitched the game of his life, the Red Sox forced a Game Seven, and the Red Sox would win it after being down three games to none, going on to win the World Series, and effectively ending the "Curse of the Bambino."
I remember watching the entire game, despite having to wake up early for work the next day, turning to my wife, and saying, "Well, that just got him into the Hall of Fame."
My wife paid me no mind, which she does quite often and is probably why we have a happy marriage, and simply said, "Go to sleep, you have work with my father tomorrow, and I don't fell like hearing him complain about you being tired."
Since then, I have dreaded this day.
With each passing year, each career-threatening shoulder injury, each failed experiment in the bullpen, and each year Schilling got older and older, I dreaded the day that he would retire.
I dreaded the day when Red Sox fans and Phillies fans and the dozen or so Diamondbacks fans out there would begin campaigning for Curt Schilling's enshrinement in Cooperstown, and how I would have to listen to Yankee fans everywhere debate against them.
Don't get me wrong, I'm almost as big a Yankee hater as I am a Mets fan. I grew up as the only Mets fan in a family full of Yankee fans. My father, my step-mother, my sisters, and my brother were all Yankee fans. Thank god I wasn't the middle child, or I would have been totally screwed up.
My point being, nobody was happier than me when Curt Schilling beat the Yankees on the night of Oct. 19, 2004; I'm just not ready to put him in the Hall of Fame because of it.
Looking at it objectively, Schilling's numbers are borderline at best for Hall of Fame consideration. Sure, he won 216 games, with almost a .600 career winning percentage, and he has 3,000 career strikeouts. Those numbers are very good, but are they great?
But can anyone really justify putting Schilling in when Bert Blyleven, Tommy John, and Jim Kaat aren't?
Still, in the end I always think of the big games. Schilling helped take three teams to the World Series, and all three of those teams had losing traditions prior to Schilling's arrival.
Now that I think of it, he beat the Yankees in 2001 with the Diamondbacks, too.
On second thought, forget everything I just wrote. Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer.
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