Jim Rice has been elected to the Hall of Fame bringing about the question, who is the next big Hall of Fame argument? Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven would be the logical choices but there is a very good chance that one or both of them will be elected in 2010.
We have to have at least one former player to emotionally argue for or against, that one player who statistics are examined, turned around, dissected, compared, and critiqued repeatedly year after year.
That next person is Curt Schilling.
There will be other arguments, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith, Tim Raines, the steroid argument for or against Palmeiro, Sosa, Clemens, and Bonds but Schilling will be the one we the spend a few years either strongly behind his induction or adamantly against it.
There are number of great players that are going to be on the outside looking in so why is Schilling “the guy”? One reason and one reason alone, because Jack Morris is not going to get in.
“I can’t vote for Schilling if Morris is not in.” In 2013 (or 2012 depending on whether MLB recognizes his retirement announcement or his last game played) that statement will be the number one argument for denying Schilling his place in the Hall.
Morris who was a great pitcher in his own right could be the sole reason that Schilling doesn’t get in. Schillings numbers are borderline as are Morris’s so the comparison will be made because of their postseason numbers.
Schilling and Morris are unquestionably two of the greatest big game pitchers of this generation, there are other great ones, Clemens, Maddux, Pedro, and Johnson, but most managers would take Schilling or Morris over the great ones of this generation to start Game Seven.
It is unfortunate that Schilling will be compared to Morris because Schilling is clearly the better pitcher.
His numbers are borderline but those statistics compared with his postseason numbers and his part in one of the most historic baseball moments of all time make him a Hall of Famer.
Morris won 38 more games than Schilling and his 10 inning performance in Game Seven for the Twins will be what is used to argue for him rather than Schilling. Wins however is the only statistic that Morris has a distinct advantage in, Schilling hit the magic 3000 strikeout mark which is almost 700 more than Morris in just under 600 less innings.
Schillings career ERA of 3.46 is almost a full run lower than the league average during his career while Morris had an ERA of 3.90 compared to the league average of 4.08.
Schilling has a lower career WHIP, walked almost half the men that Morris did, had a higher win percentage, and did all of this during a time when beefed up steroid hitters ruled the game.
Postseason is where the two compare but even so Schillings numbers are still better than Morris. Schilling did pitch in more games because of the extra divisional round of games but in six more games pitched Schilling still has an ERA that is less than half a run lower than Morris.
They each pitched in seven World Series games and while Morris is 3-0 and Schilling is 3-1 Schillings ERA in those games is almost a full run lower, 2.96 to 2.06.
Take that into account with Schilling being a part of the incredible pitching performance in the 2001 World Series and the unforgettable Bloody Sock game in 2004 there really is no debate.
One question always brought up in Hall of Fame discussions is whether or not the player was the best player at any one time during his career.
The answer for both Schilling and Morris is no but Schilling did finish second for the Cy Young award three times while Morris never finished above third.
Both players should be considered on their own merit but that will not be the case. Schilling is a borderline candidate and Morris falls just short of borderline but there is a very good chance that Schilling will never get in because Morris is not going to get in.