Curt Schilling announced his retirement today.
My first memory of Curt Schilling was in the 1993 World Series when his Philadelphia Phillies were playing the eventual champion Toronto Blue Jays. It was a pre-game, or post-game interview or something and Phillies’ manager Jim Fregosi was talking to the press. I think Schilling was about to pitch the next game on 3 days rest and a question was posed to him regarding how long he would let Schilling pitch. Fregosi’s answer? “Until his arm falls off.”
I don’t know how he did in that game, although I think that was before game 6, which the Phillies won, but I do know that this cemented him in my mind at a very young age as one of the toughest pitchers in baseball.
Schilling would go on to pitch in 3 more World Series’ after 1993. His teams (the 2001 Diamondbacks and the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox) would win all three of them. Schilling finished his postseason career with a 10-2 record and a 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason starts. He averaged over 7 innings per start in October.
It goes without saying that Schilling’s regular season numbers weren’t quite as good, but trust me, they were nothing to ignore. A 216-146 record, a 3.46 ERA, and 3116 strike outs. Is there any reason Schilling shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame? I’d like to hear one good reason.
On top of all of that, there’s the intangibles that Schilling brought to the game. He helped the Red Sox end the Curse of the Bambino and pitched a game in that World Series where his ankle was being held together by proverbial paper clips and classroom glue; the famous “Red Sock” game. He was also one of the most outspoken players in the game. A lot of people didn’t like this side of him, but let me ask you something; did you ever disagree with what he was saying? I will always have respect for Curt, not because he was one of the top two or three big game pitchers of all time, not because he was perenially in Cy Young esteem, not even because he has been the subject of some of the greatest moments in baseball, nay, in sports history, (well, of course all those things) but also because he was honest and not afraid to speak his mind when the time called for it. That’s something too many people are simply afraid to do.
You’ll be missed Curt, even though I’ve cursed you many-a-time for pitching so well against my Blue Jays.
P.S. Shout out to Julia, who I’m sure will miss Curt more than most of us.
Apparently A-Rod tested positive for steroids in ’03.
Now I’ve never been the biggest A-Rod fan. I find him to be kind of a baby. A spoiled baby. If you remember, he once yelled at a Blue Jays third baseman while rounding third a couple years ago pretending to be the short stop, causing said third baseman to back off the ball and let it drop on the infield. The ensuing fights between the Jays and Yanks continued for almost a year. He’s an ***.
Having said that, he has ability as a baseball player that I have simply never seen before. He’s probably the best hitter of all time and there are no real glaring holes in his game (except maybe World Series batting average). Curt Schilling once said (and I think it was around the ’03 or ’04 season) that he was utterly disappointed by the use of steroids in the game and went on to praise A-Rod as being one of the true “freak” talents because he put up these numbers without the use of steroids. WRONG.
Now I don’t want to jump to conclusions about his use but he certainly didn’t deny it when he was approached by reporters in a Miami gym.
“You’ll have to talk to the union…I’m not saying anything.” Sounds fishy. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now…but I’ve been hurt before.
I really wish these jackasses would just stop with the performance-enhancing drugs already. I don’t advocate the asterisks in the record book…what’s done is done, but just come clean and stop it already. You’re ruining the best sport on the planet.
What’s really dumb is that I’m sure almost every fan would forgive each and every ‘roid user if they’d just admit to what they did and stopped. Too much to ask, I know.