In 1992 Curt Shilling age 25 became a starter for his new team the Phillies and had an all-star type of season. Then in 1993 he had an average year as a starter, maybe a little above average. However, he did have a great post season. One of the things that happened was Shilling pitched great twice, left with a lead, Mitch Williams lost the lead and got credit for the victory both times. Mitch Williams was one of those relief aces who could throw fast but was wild. In fact, his nickname was wild thing. Also, Williams arm was tired so he wasn’t throwing the ball as fast as he normally would.
One of the things Shilling did in the second relief performance was put a towel over his head like he couldn’t watch. A friend committed to me he shouldn’t have showed up his teammate. At first, I shrugged this off, but I started to think about it and decided that my friend was right. Curt Schilling, I noticed during his career was good at self-publicizing himself. Of course, it helped that he pitched for you, because he mostly said, give me the ball and I will get the job done. Which he often did. However, he was never one of my favorite players, even though I cheered for some of the teams he played on.
Curt was hurt in 1995 and didn’t pitch that well when he did pitch. However, from 1995 to 2004 his ERA plus was comfortably above average and sometime way above average until an injury stopped the streak in 2005 when Shilling was in Boston. What hurt Curt was some of seasons he didn’t pitch a whole lot.
Early in 2000 he wasn’t pitching as well as he usually did for Philadelphia and was traded to Arizona for a bunch of players. One thing I noticed after the trade. Schilling was always a good control pitcher. He was in the top 10 in the league the previous 3 years. However, once he was traded to Arizona his control got quite a bit better. This happen right away in mid-season. He went from walking 2.6 per nine innings with the Phillies (this was above his norm) to 1.2 per nine innings with the Diamondbacks. This was by far the best in his career. In fact, for 5 of the next 6 seasons he led the league in strikeout to walks ratio. I don’t know what happened, but it was remarkable. In 2001 and 2002 Curt pitched super and was runner-up for both years. Only one pitcher pitched better in the league his teammate Randy Johnson, who deservedly won the Cy Young both years.
The two propelled Arizona to the playoffs both years and together pitched the Diamondbacks to the World Series title in 2001. Curt Schilling was big in the news again. He pitched will in the playoffs. Arizona lost two games in the ninth in games 4 and 5 of the World Series. In game 5 Schilling pitched well. He pitched 7 innings and allowed one run. He was taken out of the game with a two-run lead. Schilling right away said he could pitch game 7 and would pitch a complete game. Arizona won game 6 to stay in the series. Schilling was the best pitcher available as Randy Johnson pitched and won game 6. However, could Schilling pitch on two days rest and how long would he last. Manager Bob Brenly decided to start Schilling. Schilling pitched a solid game allowing one run through 7. However, he allowed a homerun in the top of the 8th to give the Yankees the lead. After striking out the next batter, Brenly bought in Miguel Batista who got his one batter. Then came in Randy Johnson who had pitched 7 innings the day before. Johnson looked tired but got his four batters to finish the 9th. Arizona scored two runs in the bottom of the 9th to win the game. Schilling and Johnson shared the MVP award. They were the two dominate pitchers of the Series.
In 2003 Schilling missed some time due to injuries. He was then traded Boston hoping Schilling would get them over the hump for their first World Series Championship since 1918. To make a long story short, he did. He had another outstanding year pitching and finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting for the third time in four years. In the playoffs he was inspirational.
In the divisional series Schilling won game 3 pitching 7 scoreless innings to help the Red Sox sweep the series. However, he tore his tendon late in the game. He tried pitching in game 1 of the League Championship and was not successful. Schelling gave up 6 runs in three innings. The Yankees won game 1 easily. They also won games 2 and 3 to go up 3 games to none. Boston won two dramatic victories in extra innings for games 4 and 5. For game 6 Schelling started with six scoreless innings and had a 4-0 lead. He gave up a Bernie Williams homerun in the seventh and left the game with a 4-1 lead. Boston held on (the Yankees had the tying run at the plate in the eighth and the winning run at the plate in the ninth) to tie the series. Boston won game seven easily to complete the comeback.
For the game Schilling had temporary stitches put on his tendon. It was quite a feat pitching 1 run ball for seven innings against a great Yankee team. He gave his team plenty of inspiration. Boston swept the Cardinals in the World Series with Shilling winning game 2. Boston had its first World Series victory since 1918.
Schilling tried to come back too soon from his tendon injury. He didn’t have a good season in 2005. He was decent in both 2006 and 2007. He won a game in all three rounds of the playoffs in 2007 to help the Red Sox to another World Series victory at the age of 40.
Like a lot of players Schilling has had a lot of problems since he retired. He also got in big trouble making some comments on Twitter. I never cared what Schilling said and didn’t pay a lot of attention, so I’m not affected. I’m don’t really care what celebrities say so my wife and daughter have to keep me informed in that area and they don’t follow sports. However, Schilling had a great career and had not been elected to the hall of fame. However, he isn’t far enough over the border to be automatic. He has kept on going which does him credit. One day he will probably be elected. Hey, he made my hall of fame.