Schilling and Phillies catcher Dutch Dalton teamed up on the 1993 World Series bunch.
By Julie Glass
We at FASTPHILLYSPORTS.COM have made requisite fun of Curt Schilling’s seeming inability to sound sane.
He pops off on social issues, which is his right, and we make fun of his attitudes, which is our right.
But let’s get serious:
Is his right-wing paranoid public utterances keeping an otherwise worthy player out of baseball’s Hall of Fame?
Schilling is giving that particular issue a run for its money. His Hall of Fame candidacy is testing every voter and most likely making all of them really consider what the character clause really means.
Schilling’s case really isn’t that different than the cases of Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds. His numbers are there, but he’s done things (and said things) that make voters pause when going to check that box.
But while time and new attitudes about the PED era are helping Bonds and Clemens on their path to the Hall, Schilling’s character-related transgressions are much more recent, and continuing to happen. This year, that’s already led to a decline in votes.
Regardless of what Schilling’s character is doing to his case, no one can deny his talent or his accomplishments on the field. Will that be enough to earn him a plaque in Cooperstown?
This is Schilling’s fifth year on the ballot. In his first year, 2013, he earned 38.8 percent of the vote, but lost 9.6 percent of that in the following year. But in the year after that, 2015, he made up that loss and added a little more, jumping 10 percent to 39.2 percent. He saw an even bigger jump in votes in 2016, earning 52.3 percent.
Unless a miracle happens, he won’t be making it into the Hall this year. Of 197 tracked ballots, Schilling has 103 votes, or 52.3 percent. With an estimated 238 ballots outstanding, he’d need votes from 224 of those to get to 75 percent. He’s also lost 23 votes from returning voters this year, but gained 13 from first-time voters.
Schilling had a heck of a career. He pitched as a front-line starter for 20 years, won four pennants, three World Series rings with an incredible amount of strikeouts. He helped give the Boston Red Sox their first championship in 86 years, helped the Arizona Diamondbacks to their first championship *ever* and gave Phillies fans something good to watch during some lean years.
Schilling held his own during the era of the power hitter. By the end of his career, he had racked up a 3.46 ERA in 3,261 innings with 3,116 strikeouts. That strikeout total puts him 15th on the all-time list. Schilling was so proficient with strikeouts during his career that he had back-to-back 300 strikeout seasons in 1997 and 1998, the first since J.R. Richard in 1978 and 1979. His 319 strikeouts in 1997 were the most in all of baseball since Nolan Ryan struck out 341 in 1977. He has a career rate of 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings, which is third all-time in pitchers with at least 3,000 innings pitched.
He never won a Cy Young, which is less a function of his overall greatness as a pitcher and more about the staffs he pitched on. He finished second in Cy Young voting three times, all late in his career. Twice he lost out to his Diamondbacks teammate Randy Johnson, and once he lost out to Johan Santana, who was in his own glorious heyday.
But if you just pay attention to his regular season stats, you’re missing a huge part of Schilling’s excellence, because his postseason résumé is tremendous. Over 20 years, he pitched in five different postseasons, racking up 133.1 innings and an ERA of 2.23. In the World Series alone he has an ERA of 2.06. He won the 1993 NLCS MVP award when he was with the Phillies (the only time they’d sniff the playoffs while he was there), and shared the MVP award with Randy Johnson when the Diamondbacks won in 2001.