Curt Schilling Still Classy After No Class of 2015


Former Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling received 39.2% of the vote, missing the chance to be part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2015, yesterday. Still, the three-time World Series champion stayed classy with the baseball universe.

On his official Twitter account, Schilling took time to congratulate his former teammates Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson for receiving enough votes to enter baseball’s hallowed grounds:

Schilling watched as Martinez took 91.1% and Johnson got an astounding 97.1%. John Smoltz and Craig Biggio rounded out this year’s recipients. Jake O’Donnell of reported that “in his third year of eligibility, Curt Schilling finished eighth in voting, behind Mike Piazza (69.9%) and Tim Raines (55%), with 39%. Meanwhile, his bloody sock has been in Cooperstown since 2009.”

On the surface, Schilling could have every reason to feel cheated.

In the same year that Pedro was telling Red Sox Nation and the world that the New York Yankees were his ‘daddy’, Schilling put the Red Sox on his back in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series and pitched, while bleeding out of his injured ankle, to win the game. Dayn Perry of reported:

"“Schilling had been battling an ankle injury for some time, and in the ALDS against the Angels he worsened that injury. So prior to Game 6 against the Yankees, Schilling had his wayward tendon sewn back into his ankle.”"

At a position that mechanics and subtleties are thought of as almost a religious experience, Schilling pitched seven innings of one-run ball, because he knew that his team needed him to keep them in the game and not overextend the bullpen. It was arguably one of the most courageous moments in baseball lore, as the Red Sox went on to win the series and swept the St. Louis Cardinals to break the Curse of the Bambino.

Schilling did pitch his heart, and his blood, out and led the locker room to realize that they could, in fact, win the big one, just as he did in Arizona with Randy Johnson and the Diamondbacks in 2001. He only allowed four runs in three starts and 21 innings against the New York Yankees to win the World Series. Schilling pitched a regular season record of 22-6, with 293 strikeouts in just over 256 innings. He topped that in 2002, with 316 strikeouts in 259 innings. Schilling ended his career by giving Boston another championship in 2007, by helping them to sweep the Colorado Rockies. He started Game 2, giving up only one run and earning four strikeouts.

The man knows how to win big games. So how does he not make the Hall of Fame?

Simply put: statistics. Before the dominant leader took the thrown in Arizona and Beantown, Schilling was a pretty good pitcher on a sub-par team, the Philadelphia Phillies for a number of years. It was only after their World Series appearance in 1993, against the Toronto Blue Jays, did Schilling get the praise his talents projected. In 20 seasons, Schilling played nine for the Phillies, posting a .564 winning percentage. His numbers to start his career dragged his career statistics down to a .597 winning ratio, while earning a 3.46 ERA.

Some starting pitchers would love an ERA of that caliber, but Schilling’s teams early on often did not give him the run support he needed to boost his win totals. Randy Johnson, on the other hand, finished with a .646 winning ratio and a 3.29 ERA, while Pedro finished with a .687 and 2.93 ERA. If Schilling was to get in this year, he would have had to either completely shut teams down in Philly or would have needed a heck of a lot more runs to back him up.

However, judging by Schilling’s gracious tweets and comments on television, he is not jealous or unprofessional, even in retirement. He carries the same dignity he did when he led the Red Sox and Diamondbacks to the promised land. Every team dreams of arriving there. For individual players, the promised land is the Hall of Fame. Schilling may have reason to get discouraged by yesterday’s results, but he is not showing any signs of it. He is the type of impact player and gentleman you want to see in any kind of Hall of Fame. Maybe he will make it next year, or maybe the year after that, but he likely will make it. And besides, his performances, through blood, sweat, and tears, literally, make him already part of baseball immortality.