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Fast Take: Is Curt Schilling HOF worthy?

The controversial pitcher continues to fall short of Hall of Fame election. Is his resume good enough?


A Schilling for your vote, sir?

Last week, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voted on the MLB Hall of Fame Class of 2021 and, unsurprisingly, no one received the 75% vote share to ensure election. With voters still split on the “steroid guys” like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, former Red Sox postseason legend Curt Schilling was the closest to reaching the threshold, falling just short at 71.1% (just 16 votes shy).


Now, Schilling has some fairly significant opposition to his election which has more to do with his politics and actions outside of his on-field accomplishments and I have no desire to delve into any of those discussions. In my opinion, the Baseball Hall of Fame should be 95% based on what you do on the baseball field and that other 5% needs to be pretty egregious (like say, gambling on your own team when you’re the manager) to wipe everything else clear. Are Schilling’s actions off the field so egregious? Maybe.


But is his on-field resume Hall of Fame worthy? Let’s take a look.


This week on the podcast, we talked about Schilling and the argument brought up against him was he just wasn’t remembered as one of the best pitchers of his era. I think that’s true – he’s not remembered that way.


Except when you look at Schilling’s career statistics, he’s certainly among the best pitchers of his era.


Curt Schilling ranks #28 all-time among pitchers in JAWS, Bill James’ Hall of Fame ranking metric which you can read more about here. Every player ranked ahead of him besides Roger Clemens has been elected to the Hall. Schilling ranks #26 all-time in bWAR, well ahead of other HOF selectees like John Smoltz, Don Drysdale, Jim Palmer and Juan Marichal to name a few. He’s #15 in strikeouts, one behind Bob Gibson, and his ERA+ which is adjusted for league offense/era/etc is tied with Gibson at 127.


Schilling won three World Series, a World Series MVP, NLCS MVP and made six All-Star games. He finished in the top-5 of the Cy Young voting four times, but never won it. He won at least 20 games in three separate seasons and at least 15 eight times, but only finished his career with 216 total victories.


For his total career line, Schilling went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 1.137 WHIP. He struck out 3116 batters vs 711 walks. In the postseason, Schilling was amazing going 11-2 in 19 starts with a 2.23 ERA, a 0.968 WHIP and four complete games. He pitched his team to the World Series four times, at age 26, 34, 37 and 40. And he pitched in an offensive era with some of the greatest hitters of all-time: Bonds, Pujols, Rodriguez, Griffey, etc.


If Schilling was hurt by anything (besides his mouth), I believe it was he was rarely ever considered the “best” pitcher on his team. In Arizona, he was overshadowed (literally) by Randy Johnson and in Boston it was Pedro Martinez. In Philadelphia, Schilling had trouble staying healthy and pitching enough to ever be recognized as a “true ace”. But his career on the whole is pretty remarkable when you dig into it.


I get it, Curt Schilling is a jerk. He’s had some obnoxious and offensive hot takes outside of his on-field pitching performances, but his on-field resume is definitely HOF-worthy.

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