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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Position(s):
P
Born:
November 14, 1966
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 5"
Weight:
205 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-07-1988 with BAL
Allstar Selections:
1993 NLCS, 1995 LG, 2001 BR, 2001 BRA, 2001 HA, 2001 RC, 2001 TSN, 2001 WsMVP, 2002 TSN

Hard-throwing Curt Schilling helped pitch three different teams to the Fall Classic, but it was his historically heroic effort with the Red Sox in 2004 that cemented his status as a legend in Boston. With his ankle surgically sutured together and bleeding through his sock, Schilling gutted out a dominating performance against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, and won Game Two of the World Series as the Red Sox won their first title in 86 years. When he was traded to the Red Sox prior to the 2004 season, Schilling responded by saying, "I guess I hate the Yankees now." He beat the Bombers twice in the regular season and responded with the Game Six win over them in Yankee Stadium in the LCS to take his place among the greatest post-season performers in baseball history. Schilling finished runner-up in Cy Young voting three times in his career, but he won two post-season MVP awards: in the 1993 NL Championship Series with the Phillies, and in the 2001 World Series for the Diamondbacks.

Quotes About Curt Schilling

"It's probably unfair, I mean, even dating back to the sock, and the soap opera watching him throw in the bullpen and having the doctors and the trainers out there, he really shouldn't have pitched. And I can't remember one moment ever thinking he wouldn't be pitching, and not only that, but that he wouldn't win. And it probably wasn't fair. So I guess that kind of sums up how I feel about Schill." — Red Sox manager Terry Francona on Curt Schilling

 

Quotes From Curt Schilling

"I guess I hate the Yankees now." — Curt Schilling, when he signed with the Red Sox after the 2003 season.

"Earlier in my career, the two guys I wanted to emulate were Clemens and Maddux. I wanted Clemens' power with Maddux's control. I never quite got to either one of them, but I felt like I was kind of a mishmash of the two in some cases." Curt Schilling after recording his 3,000th career strikeout, in 2006.

"My understanding is that steroids and HGH, one of the main benefits of them, is regeneration. If I can show up September 1 and feel April fresh, I've got a huge advantage, not just that day but on everybody. And I think that's why a lot of pitchers have been caught.” Curt Schilling

"Jose Canseco admitted he cheated his entire career. Everything he ever did should be wiped clean. I think his MVP should go back and should go to the runnerup.” Curt Schilling

"The year he tested positive [2005], nothing he did that year should count, which I think would take away 3,000 hits for him.” Curt Schilling, on Rafael Palmeiro

 

Curt Schilling was one of the most prominent pitchers in major league baseball in the 1990s and 2000s. He notched his 3000th strikeout in 2006. He was also one of the few major league ballplayers who spoke out against the use of steroids at time when usage was common.

He was the first Alaska native to become a major league pitcher.

Schilling was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the second round of the 1986 January draft. In 1988, he was traded at the deadline to the Baltimore Orioles and he made his major league debut later that season.

With Baltimore, Schilling often shuttled between the big club and their AAA team in Rochester. In 1989, he led the International League in wins (13), starts (27), complete games (9), shutouts (3), and innings (185.1). This earned him a brief callup in 1989 but he was back splitting time in 1990.

Schlling was shipped to the Houston Astros during the winter of 1991 along with Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley for Glenn Davis. Schilling lasted one season in Houston, again splitting time between the major leagues and the minors, before being dealt again to the Philadelphia Phillies before the 1992 season. After the Phillies were beset by pitching injuries, they returned Schilling to the starting rotation. He flourished winning 14 games. His 2.35 ERA was good for fourth in the National League.

The following season, 1993, it all came together for Schilling and the Phillies. Schilling went 16-7 as a full-time starter. He was the staff ace as the Phillies went all the way to the World Series. Schilling was named NLCS MVP in the Phils victory over Atlanta. He is also remembered for covering his head with a towel when closer Mitch Williams would enter the game.

Injuries plagued Schilling in 1994 and 1995, as he managed only 30 starts over two seasons. He returned in 1996 and by 1997, he had regained a new form that has held for nearly a decade. Schilling was regarded as a fireballer in 1997 and 1998. He topped 300 strikeouts in both seasons. He was also named an All-Star from 1997 to 1999.

Entering the 2000 season, it was clear that Schilling was not in the plans of the rebuilding Phillies. After a half season of pandering by management and entreaties from many franchises, the Arizona Diamondbacks won the Schilling sweepstakes and he was dealt for four players at the trading deadline. As the righthanded complement to Randy Johnson, Schilling led the league in wins in 2001. In the post-season, Schilling was masterful: he won 4 games, including one in the World Series. He had an ERA of 1.69 in the Series and was named co-MVP with Johnson.

Johnson and Schilling combined for 47 wins in 2002 and they finished 1-2 in voting for the Cy Young Award. They did not fare well in the playoffs, losing to St. Louis. Schilling, however, was masterful with a 1.29 ERA in his only start. He had a pedestrian season in 2003, going 8-9 with a stint on the disabled list.

Schilling's enduring legacy was cemented when he signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2004 season. At age 37, he was named an All-Star for the sixth time. He led the American League in wins (21) and was second in ERA (3.26). The Schilling of old had returned for an encore. As the Red Sox entered the playoffs, Schilling was the staff ace. In the first game of the Division Series, Schilling tore the tendon sheath in his right ankle. The injury was originally thought to be a relapse of a bone bruise suffered earlier in the season, or a case of tendonitis. As the pain increased, Schilling was eventually forced to undergo a minor surgical procedure the day before he pitched. The torn tendon sheath was stitched into place so it wouldn't interfere with the joint, then released after the game. Pitching in pain, and with blood soaking through his sock, Schilling won Game 6 of the ALCS against the hated Yankees. The Red Sox had been behind 3 games to none. With Schilling, they forced a seventh game, which they won, making it the first time a team had overcome a 3-0 deficit in baseball history.

In the World Series, Schilling gave the Red Sox six shutout innings during a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. During the winter, he had major surgery to repair the ankle. The injury impaired him into the 2005 season, as he only made 11 starts.

Nearing 40, Schilling remained one of the most effective pitchers in the game. He is a hero in both Arizona and especially in Boston. He returned to form in 2006, going 15-7 with a 3.97 ERA and 183 strikeouts. He also won his 200th game during the 2006 season. 104th major league pitcher to accomplish the feat. On August 30, Schilling collected his 3,000th strikeout. Schilling has the highest ratio of strikeouts to walks of any pitcher with at least 3,000 strikeouts, and is one of four pitchers to reach the 3,000-K milestone before reaching 1,000 career walks. The other three who accomplished this feat are Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, and former Boston Red Sox ace and teammate Pedro Martínez.

In January 2007, Schilling announced on the Dennis and Callahan show that after talking with his family, he had changed his mind and did not want to retire at the conclusion of the 2007 season. He sought to negotiate an extension to his current contract, but Red Sox executives announced that they would not negotiate with him until after the season citing Schilling's age and physical condition as factors in their decision. Schilling went on to say he would become a free agent at the end of the season, for the first time in his career, and would not negotiate with the Red Sox during the 15 days after the end of the World Series when the team has exclusive negotiating rights with potential free agents. On a June appearance on the Dennis and Callahan Show, Schilling stated he would accept a one-year extension to his contract at his current salary if the Red Sox offered it to him. Questioned on his statement, Schilling said, "I said I wouldn't negotiate a deal during the season, and I'm saying that now. But I would accept that offer."

On June 7, 2007, Schilling came within one out of his first career no-hitter. Schilling gave up a two-out single to Oakland's Shannon Stewart, who lined a 95-mph fastball to right field for the A's only hit. Schilling followed up his one-hitter with two poor starts and was sent back to Boston on June 20 for an MRI on his shoulder and was placed on the disabled list. He returned from the disabled list on August 6, pitching at least six innings in each of his nine starts following the All-Star break.

Schilling continued his career postseason success in 2007, throwing seven shutout innings in a 9–1 victory over the Angels in the ALDS, wrapping up a three-game sweep for Boston. However, he did not fare as well pitching in Game 2 of the ALCS against Cleveland, surrendering nine hits—two of them home runs—and five earned runs in just 4 2/3 innings. He did start again in the sixth game of the series, pitching seven complete innings during which he recorded five strikeouts, surrendering no walks with only two earned runs to gain the victory and force a Game 7. He earned his third win of the 2007 playoffs in Game 2 of the 2007 World Series leaving after 5 1/3 innings, striking out four while allowing only four hits. With this win, he became only the second pitcher over the age of 40 to start and win a World Series game (Kenny Rogers became the first just one year prior). As Schilling departed in the 6th inning, fans at Fenway Park gave Schilling a standing ovation.

Schilling filed for free agency on October 30, 2007. He said he would seek a one-year deal, and according to ESPN First Take and his own blog page 38 Pitches. Schilling later signed a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox for the 2008 season. Schilling missed all of the 2008 season because of a shoulder injury. The injury was first revealed in February 2008 and the treatment options became a point of contention between Schilling and the Red Sox management. On March 13, 2008, the Red Sox placed Schilling on the 60-day disabled list as he continued to rehabilitate his right shoulder. On June 18, 2008, Curt Schilling left the team to be reevaluated after suffering pain when throwing off the mound. On June 20, 2008 Schilling stated on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show that he would undergo season-ending surgery and that he had possibly thrown the last pitch of his career. On June 23, 2008, Schilling underwent biceps tenodesis surgery, during which a small undersurface tear on the rotator cuff was discovered and stitched, and a separation of the labrum was repaired. According to his surgeon, he could begin throwing in four months.

Retirement

On March 23, 2009, Schilling officially announced his retirement from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Schilling ended his career with a 216-146 record, 3.46 ERA and 3116 strikeouts, 15th-most in MLB history. Having last pitched in 2007, Schilling is eligible for the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.

Records

Schilling holds the major league record for consecutive starts pitched without allowing an unearned run. In doing so, he broke his own major league record of 53 straight starts. In the game in which he broke his own record, he tied the American League record for extra-base hits allowed in a game with 10.

Scouting report

During the prime of his career, Schilling was capable of reaching and sustaining speeds of 94-98 mph on his four-seam fastball. Throughout his career, he was characterized by a determination to go deep into ballgames, routinely pitching past the sixth and seventh innings. He combined his endurance with pinpoint control, especially on his fastball. Schilling's "out" pitch was a split-finger fastball, which he generally located beneath the strike zone (resulting in many swinging strikeouts). He also possessed an above-average changeup, a decent slider, and mixed in an occasional curveball, though he mainly alternated between his fastball and splitter. Though his velocity decreased in later years (to the 89-93 range on his fastball), his control remained excellent, and he is currently second in career strikeout to walk ratio.

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Tagged:
1993 World Series, 2001 World Series, 2004 ALCS, 2004 World Series, 2007 World Series, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Charlie Ferguson Philadelphia Phillies, Curt Schilling, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies

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