Friday, June 20, 2008

Is this the end for Schilling?

Curt Schilling will be undergoing season ending shoulder surgery that perhaps will end his career. If it's the last we've seen of Curt, he has left an indelible mark on the game. If he's not a Hall of Famer, he will not be remembered any less for it. The Bloody Sock Game is the kind of thing that goes down in baseball lore. My son will hear the stories and ask me about it. I will not miss his right-wing blogging or his diarrhea of the mouth, but I don't care about that sort of thing very much when watching sports. I appreciated his toughness game in and game out. That's all that matters.

His retirement will certainly arouse a lot of debate about his HOF status. His career is full of statistical almosts. He finished second in the Cy Young voting three times, twice losing to teammate Randy Johnson. He is two strikeouts short of 3,000. He was one out short of a no-hitter last season. But his playoff performances beg the question, how much should that be considered in HOF voting? He was lights out in playoff runs with the Sox and D'Backs, winning World Series Co-MVP with Arizona.

When one takes that into the equation and adds in the fact that he won 216 games with an ERA under three and a half in a steroid-addled, offensive explosion era, I think he should at least be in the conversation for the HOF. I myself am not certain which way I would go.


Joey said...

Let's look at Schilling and Smoltz. Similar numbers, but Smoltz was a closer for 4 years. Now according to everyone Smoltz is a no doubt hall of famer and Schilling maybe not. But I ask you who will people remember as being the better pitcher? The guy who could get you a win when you needed it most? I say Schilling but maybe that's my Northeast media bias.

Dennis said...

The numbers are similar for starting, but add in Smoltz's 150 saves and they are not that close. Or figure what the numbers would have been if Smoltz had started those four years. He has averaged about 15 wins a year for his career, so that would have been at least another 60 wins. I think Smoltz at his best and Schilling at his best were similar, but Smoltz was more consistent. And as for a win when you need it most, Smoltz was 15-4 in the postseason with a 2.65 ERA and 4 saves.

I think Smoltz is a hall of famer, and Schilling just misses.

Dan said...

Now that I've let this marinate for a couple of days, I say Schill just misses the HOF as well. Take a few other pitchers with similar numbers. David Wells has 239 wins. His ERA is higher than Schilling, but his post season successes are no less impressive. Mike Mussina has 260 wins and a similar ERA to Curt. He's has some good post season moments himself. Think about the innings of shutout relief he had in the 2003 ALCS vs. the Sox. Then what about Orel Hershiser?

The bottom line is that I think Schilling had some great years and great moments. But the key word is "some." Much of the credit he gets stems from the fact that he did it in Boston to break the curse. I don't think he did quite enough to deserve HOF status. If you let him in you have to let in the other pitchers I mentioned and then some. Will he get in? Probably, in 10-15 years or so. But the selection will be based on legend, sentiment, and some isolated great moments more so than the balance of his career.