We all know how much Curt Schilling stirred up emotions in people, but when it comes down to it, the man was a fantastic pitcher, and belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Let's get it out of the way, shall we? Yes, Curt Schilling was an ass. He said stupid things, stuck his nose where it didn't belong and was a generally annoying person.
I think Ed Wade, Phillies General Manger in the mid-90s and classic Schilling nemesis, said it best: "If he wasnt our horse, he'd be out horse's ass."
His antics over the years have inspired a special grudge against him, from New York Yankees fans, to Mitch Williams, to Liberal America. He crossed lines he should not have and said things he shouldn't have; the man is a fool; there, I;ve said it.
Now let's talk baseball.;this guy is a Hall of Famer, through and through.
From 1993 until as recently as 2007, Curt Schilling brought a competitive greatness to baseball that few pitchers have ever matched. His raw determination has always been his greatest asset. A quick tangent to illistrate exactly what he was made of, in 1997, the middle of another ho-hum wasted Phillies season, the Yankees came to town for the first interleague matchup. Veterans Stadium, a 75,000 seat bohemoth, was filled to compacity, which was unusual since the Phillies were LAST in the league in attendance.
Though Schilling usually pitched in a stadium of about 10% capacity, today was different. Today he played the Yankees in front of a sold out crowd. Curt thrived;this was his World Series. He threw 124 pitches, striking out 16! This was merely a taste of the type of player Schilling was.
Consider that Schilling may in fact be the greatest post-season pitcher in the glorified history of professional baseball, wiith Philadelphia in 1993, Schilling won the NLCS MVP.
It was during this time, that he earned the label "Big Game Pitcher." When the Phillies needed a stopper in the World Series against the Blue Jays, who did they turn to? That's right, Curt Schilling. Following an epic 30-run game four, he shutout the defending World Champion Blue Jays in game five in simply one of the most magnificent postseason performances of the last 25 years.
The following years in Philadelphia were difficult, he had two 300 strikeout seasons in Phillies pinstripes, but, ultimately, the team's mismanagement and stinginess forced the situation to a head; he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Schilling flourished in the desert. In the 2001 and 2002 seasons, he won a combined 45 games, a staggering number. During the 2001 World Series, Schilling made three starts against the Yankees during the height of the Torre dynasty and was 1-0 with an ERA of 1.69, and was named co-MVP along side Randy Johnson.
Two years later and with the D-Backs rebuilding, Schilling was dealt to the Boston Red Sox after a fierce Thanksgiving bidding war.
Who could forget his heroic game six ALCS performance against the Yankees? Bleeding through his sock because of the sutures holding his Achilles tendon together, Curt Schilling helped the Red Sox do something that had never been done before;make a come back from down 3-0 in a playoff series.
If that wasn't enough, just one week later, he did the same thing in the World Series. Schilling beat the Cardinals in game two, helping the Red sox overcome the so-called "Curse" and finally win a World Series. It is the sort of moment that is forever burned into everyone's memory who had witnessed it.
Over the last few years, Schilling struggled with injury. Indeed, stacking his win-loss record (216-146) against other Hall of Famers is not favorable.
However, you must consider a few things: He lost many games with those pitiful mid-90s Phillies teams batting for him. And later, his amazing drive to help his team win, while at the same time pitching through a debilitating injury, may have unraveled his entire 2005 season. Schilling's win-loss record is not an indictment, but rather proof of his incredible fortitude.
Look closer and it is obvious that Curt Schilling deserves to be enshrine in Cooperstown. His overall postseason numbers are 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and four complete games in 19 starts. He has over 3000 strikeouts (14th all-time) and 8.6 per nine innings, is 13th all time. He was in the top 10 in strikeouts nine times, and finished second in Cy Young voting three times.
In fact, since 1900, Curt Schilling has the best strikeouts-to-walks ratio (4.38) EVER.
This is a Hall Of Famer.