Here's Your Ticket To Copperstown, Mister Schilling
Curt Schilling is a Hall-of-Famer.
Is he as worthy as Walter Johnson?
As sure a thing as Tom Seaver?
As deserving as Greg Maddux?
However, not all "Hall-of-Famers" are created equal.
Sport writers seem to stick to the claim about any Hall-of-Fame.
"If you have to make an arguement for the Hall-of-Fame, then the answer is no."
But that is a fallacy. Wherever the line is drawn—whether it be right after the Willie Mays' of the game, or right after the Ozzie Smith's—there will always be a line where players are debated.
Where there worthiness is argued. And there should always be thought put into the selections.
That is a problem with some of the inductees and award winners of the past.
The research by voters lacked quality and quantity.
By quality, I refer to what the voters are actually researching.
By quantity, I mean the amount of minutes, and hours put in to actually coming up with a well-researched reason for excluding or including a certain player.
But this article isn't really to bash the voters, rather its purpose is to explain why Curt Schilling is deserving of enshrinement into Cooperstown.
I'll start with what might be the easiest statistic to use for these types of arguments: ERA.
Understand that ERA takes into account defense.
A team with a great defense benefits the pitchers more, and should decrease a pitchers ERA, or in this case, increase a pitchers ERA.
But over the course of a career, this seemingly matters a little less. Pitchers will generally experience some good defense behind them, some poor defense, and some mediocore.
So ERA over a career is very useful and very valid.
Schilling's was 127.
Better than Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton and others included in baseball's palace of greatness.
Now, one cannot ignore that it is easier to post better rate numbers over a fewer number of innings.
For example, it was easier for Schilling to post an ERA+ of 127 in roughly 3000 innings, then for Ryan to have accomplished that over 5000-plus innings.
So because Schilling posted a better Adjusted ERA, does not necessarily mean that he was the better pitcher.
But a pitcher such as Jack Morris has built up a postseason legacy, based mostly on one huge playoff win, Schilling has multiple huge playoff wins and a very impressive regular season track record as well.
We all are very aware of "The Bloody Sock" game.
We are aware of the greatness Schilling displayed as Arizona knocked off the juggernaut Yankees in 2001.
Schilling even pitched very well in the 1993 postseason with the Phillies.
And an underrated performance was when Schilling gutted himself with what seemed like half his stuff in game six against Cleveland in the 2007 ALDS, with seven strong innings and allowing two earned runs.
A well respected ESPN analyst gave the Indians a large advantage when comparing Fausto Carmona to Schilling going into the series.
Schilling's brilliant mind allowed him to at least pitch well with stuff that others wouldn't even have made the squad with.
And I am not ignoring Schilling's failures, as many seem to do.
Schilling was rocked in game two against Cleveland that season.
He was embarrassed in his first appearance in the 2004 ALCS. And along the way, he was embarrassed many, many times throughout his regular season trots out to the mound.
But that postseason record is truly incredible: 19 starts, 2.23 ERA and 120 strikeouts.
And all that added up to Schilling winning three rings with two different teams...and actually being a rather large reason why those teams won.
A reason for all this success, was that Curt never beat himself. Or he beat himself less often than others.
That sounds a little more realistic.
His stuff was never as good as the young Dwight Gooden's.
It was never as good as Nolan Ryan's or Roger Clemens.
Or either of his teammates: Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. Granted, it was really good, and Greg Maddux should be even more respected in this regard.
But what Schilling did incredibly well was not allow runners to reach base, unless they earned it themselves. Something even more valued in this day and age with the growing understanding of on-base percentage.
And understanding that the more runners on base, the greater the chance an offense will score applies to pitchers to, Dusty Baker :)
His strikeouts-to-walks ratio is second best of all time. Second best! Behind none other than Tommy Bond—who most definitely had it a little easier pitching to hitters in the 1870s and 1880s.
Schilling had good enough "stuff" to strikeout a high number of batters, but he took advantage of that by avoiding the bases on balls.
Schilling was late bloomer, but not late enough that he couldn't put together a Hall-of-Fame career. The bloody sock deserves enshrinement, too.
If the smelly thing is in there, than Schilling should be as well.
You know, because that sock never threw a damn pitch. Schilling threw a heck of a lot of them, and a heck of a lot of great ones too.
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