Curt Schilling: Friend or Foe?

michael eisnerCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2009

BOSTON - OCTOBER 16:  Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox throws out the first pitch of game five of the American League Championship Series against the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2008 MLB playoffs at Fenway Park on October 16, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

I bleed Pinstripes.

Now that that's out of the way, I am not a fan of Curt Schilling.

OK, the second admission was somewhat obvious based on my first, but I felt compelled to mention it for effect.

Personal feelings aside, Schilling is a Hall-of-Fame baseball player. Hands down.

His 216 wins fall way short of the "magic" 300 wins which are an absolute ticket to Immortality; however, Schilling did so much more than his final career statistics may indicate.

You can't measure grit and respected arrogance by statistics, and Schilling was gritty and arrogant.

So what if he came across as Baseball's version of Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh could never throw a fastball 92 MPH.

Historically, Schilling's statistics are akin to a threesome of Hall-of-Fame pitchers featuring Catfish Hunter and Don Drysdale. Two guys who you'd want on the Hill if the season was on the line.

And the third—John Smoltz—ironically may have taken the spot of Schilling in the Red Sox rotation.

But, the moral of this story isn't the wins and losses, though Schilling won more than 20 games three times and finished with a career winning percentage just shy of .600; no, the truth is that what separates guys like Hunter and Drysdale and Smoltz and Schilling from the Bert Blylevens of the world is dominance on the big stage.

Hunter did it with the Oakland Athletics of the early 1970s and again with the New York Yankees of the late 1970s. Drysdale with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1960s and Smoltz with the perennial pennant winning Atlanta Braves of the 1990s.

And Schilling, who boasts three World Series Rings, has a 10-2 post season record, good for best in history with over 10 decisions.

He has drawn the ire of every Yankees fan, much to his enjoyment I'm sure.

Schilling even had his Kirk Gibson moment—the bloody sock.

So in five years, when the Election Committee gets to vote on whether Curtis Montague Schilling should be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, it would be a travesty of baseball justice if he is denied.

For there wasn't a team in baseball that wouldn't have wanted Curt Schilling on the mound, pitching for them, in Game Seven of the World Series.

Even the Yankees.