April 23, 2014

The Philly Fifty, #27: Curt Schilling, Phillies

For the complete list and explanation of criteria and scoring, check out the Philly Fifty page

Longevity – 4

Schilling was traded twice (Red Sox to Orioles, Orioles to Astros) before he landed with the Phillies in 1992 for Jason Grimsley. That trade started an 8 1/2 year career with the Phillies, more than twice his time with any other franchise.

Peak – 4

Schilling’s career peaked in Arizona, but for the Phillies, he peaked in 1997 and 1998, when he pitched a combined 523 innings, with a 3.11 ERA and a ridiculous 619 strikeouts. Only 14 pitchers have had 300+ K’s in a season and only Koufax, Ryan, Randy Johnson, Rube Waddell, J.P. Richard and Schilling did it in back-to-back years. Schilling finished behind in the Cy Voting due in-part to the Phillies’ horribleness, and in-part due to the existence of Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez.

Popularity – 4

Schilling was popular because he was outspoken about the ownership on the things that were frustrating to fans as well. Usually when a player forces a trade out of a city, he is hated. In Schilling’s case, we wanted to go with him.

Team Success – 2

The Phillies were 642-751 with Schilling. If you take out the magical 1993 season, our average 162-game record during his tenure was 72-90. The Phillies went 124-102 in games he started, 518-649 in games he did not.

Awards – 3

His best finish for the Cy Young in a Phillies’ uni was 4th in 1997. He made the all-star team 3 times as a Phillie. In 1993, he was NLCS MVP.

Stats – 4

He is 4th in team history in K and WHIP, 5th in WAR, IP and W and 14th in ERA. He holds the team single-season record for strikeouts (319) and K/9 for a starter (11.29). Only Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Pedro Martinez have had a higher single-season K/9 as a starter. In 1993, he made 4 post-season starts, going 1-1 with a 2.58 ERA in 31.1 IP.

Historical Standing – 3

I expect Schilling will be in the HOF pretty easily, though maybe not first ballot. Every single pitcher with over 3,000 strikeouts is in and Schilling sits at 3,261 for his career.  I wrote a post on this shortly after he retired, making the case that he should be the first person in the HOF with a Diamondback hat on.

Excitement – 4

No matter how badly the Phillies played or how horrible the Vet was for baseball, the house was usually packed for a Curt Schilling start. A strike-out is the most exciting thing a pitcher can do, and he did it more often than almost every starting pitcher in baseball history. It’s unfortunate the Phillies only made it to one playoffs with him, as we know he had a knack for the dramatic there as well.

Total: 28


For the complete list and explanation of criteria and scoring, check out the Philly Fifty page

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  1. Joe says:

    Loved watching Schill with the Phils.  I moved to AZ in may the season he went to AZ, and went to of his great playoff starts on the run to the WS.  I tended bar at the biggest sports bar in tucson, and most customers/ dback fans I talked to were upset when the gave up there 1st baseman for him. 
    I kept telling people that him and johnson will make he d-backs instant ws contenders to alot of laughs.  I also have some great memories of Schilling mowing down Big Mac (during his moster year) time after time with big k’s, a big pitching matchup with Kevin Brown after he took a ton of $$ with the dodgers and schilling getting in a bases loaded jam (no outs) and kept working 3-0 or 3-1 counts, and the place rose for each strike while he struck his way out of the jam (I think 2 k’s and a pop up, but all 3 batters had either 3-0 or 3-1 counts)

  2. Chris McC. says:

    So happy to see a guy from the 93 team on this list. I was but a wee lad back then and my mom got me a partial season ticket plan that year (13 sunday home games). It’s a vague but really important memory to me both as a person and a sports fan. It’s shame the team was never any good with him. Sort of our version of the Cubs/Greg Maddux deal.

    • Pete says:

      I always hoped (and actually expected) him to make a return to Philly at the end of his career for 1 year.

      • joof says:

        93 was a great year. I may have went to 5 or 6 games. That 13 game pass mustve been awesome. That team may have been my favorite team of all time (gang green buddy ryan eagles for a few different years were the other)

  3. Ken Bland says:

    It’s no criticism of forthcoming Top 10 Mike Schmidt to just be a candidate for Top 50 in 1 city.  Trade, or free agent transfer, and he might well be a candidate for such an honor in 2 cities, like Julius in Philly, and The Apple, or Doc in Philly (well, forget that, he’s short the 4 year criteria) and Toronto.  And it’s no criticism of Lefty that he wasn’t spectacular enough to make a St. Louis list.  But if you think about it, Schill, number of years played falling just short could pretty well qualify for a Top 50 of all-time in Phoenix (relatively easily, scant tradition) and Boston (maybe tough, but pretty close, lots of great history, like Philly).  That’d be a remarkable resume, all time great in 3 towns, and of course presented that debate of a year or 2 back of which cap he’d wear in the Hall.  He did catch a break scoring 3 points higher on popularity than Pete Alexander, a victim of when he played.  That’s the separator on their positions on the list.  But Curt’s definitely legit in this fraternity.

    • joof says:

      Just a random question Ken, where do you think the Phil’s history compares with Boston Red Sox’s?

      • Ken Bland says:

        Well, let’s see Joof….

           Fairly equally, don’t you think?  They probably have a smattering of success more after the early 1900 success they had (Sox).  That’d be the ensuing 40 or so year run when the 2 clubs were guided by overall cheapness, or financial handicaps if that’s closer to the truth, and racism.  Think the Sox were the last to sign an AA, Pumpsie Green, and the Phils were way down the totem pole on accepting Jackie Robinson, and the years not too long thereafter.  It’s an interesting question that perhaps research might reveal a modestly dkifferent conclusion, but it’s pretty apparently dually pretty mediocore on the whole, certainly less so in the last 40 some years, slight edge to Beantown overall. That said, you’re only as good as your last game.  Course that wouldn’t do either club any good either now, would it? :-) .  But the recent successes of both clubs is nice stuff to follow and cheer for.  But short of the tradition on the whole of a few select long term clubs is where both finish.  Even the Dodgers, with their pretty non stellar last quarter century have pretty clearly slipped behind the Cardinals, and the Giants have a fairly storied history, but the 2010 club winning a title for the first time in 56 years hinders their status.

        • joof says:

          I wouldve said Boston pretty easily, although I dont know much about the team prior to Oil Can Boyd and Pedro Martinez. Ill have to look their history up a little more. Maybe the Carl Yastremski homerun wave, and along with Fred Lynn, plus the old timers w/ Ted Williams that battled the Yankess, made me think that they have  a rich history. The Phils havent been a successful franchise, so I find it hard to believe they are comparable to many teams.

          • Ken Bland says:

            That’s pretty funny that The Can is your source of identity with that franchise.  The Can was a character.  But I do think if you graphed the histories of the 2 franchises, you’d see strongly similar periods of similarity.  And it wouldn’t shock me if they were more identical than any 2 franchises in the game.  Lotsa simultaneous second division finishes, and good success since the mid 70s but with pretty equally timed ineffectiveness in the 80s and 90s. 

          • joof says:

            I have no idea why he is one of the 1st ppl who pops in my head, maybe it’s because he sounds like he couldve been a Garbage pail Kid. I used to collect them pretty intensely. Oil Can’s windup looked a little like Dizzy Dean, I think. I looked the franchises over. I do some interesting comparisons. They both achieved in the early early 1900′s or so, and then bottomed up until the 70′s, with some random success sprinkled in there. It’s crazy how they did ok in the 80′s, and then all of the sudden went crazy in the 2000′s. I still have to give the nod to the sox, mainly because they were a much better team during the dead years for the phillies (early 1900′s- 1960′s.). It’s much closer than I thought it would be.

  4. phillyfan says:

    great clutch pitcher.  Needs to go on a diet now though.

  5. joof says:

    Its funny that I only remember shilling from 93. I had no idea he peaked in the late 90′s. I remember how often he covered his head in the towel during the title run. ahh the good ole days

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