Historic Career

Curt Schilling’s love for baseball history and talent on the mound lands him on Hall of Fame ballot for first time

December 20, 2012
2013 BBWAA Hall of Fame Candidate Curt Schilling (NBHOF Library)

Curt Schilling’s appreciation for baseball history dates back to his childhood.

Today, Schilling is on the verge of the ultimate mark on the game’s history: Election to the Hall of Fame.

“Baseball history is something that’s enriched my life,” Schilling said. “I think a big reason why I got into baseball and became pretty successful was because I appreciated the history of the game and knew what I was getting into.”

Schilling is one of 37 players on the 2013 Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for the Class of 2013 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Schilling is making his debut on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot.

BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 9. Any candidate who receives at least 75 percent of all BBWAA votes cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2013. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 28 in Cooperstown.

Born Nov. 16, 1966 in Anchorage, Alaska, Schilling went to high school in Arizona and attended college there before being taken in the second round of the January MLB Draft by the Red Sox in 1986. On July 29, 1988, Schilling – still a minor leaguer – and Brady Anderson were traded to the Orioles in a deadline deal for All-Star starting pitcher Mike Boddicker.

Schilling surfaced with the Orioles later that summer, debuting in the big leagues on Sept. 7. After another cup of coffee in 1989, Schilling made 35 appearances out of the Orioles’ bullpen in 1990, then was shipped to the Astros with Steve Finley and Pete Harnisch prior to the 1991 season for Glenn Davis.

After one year in Houston’s bullpen, Schilling was traded to the Phillies for Jason Grimsley on April 2, 1992. Finally finding a home, Schilling was 14-11 that year with a 2.35 ERA. The next season, Schilling went 16-7 to lead the Phillies to the World Series – winning the NLCS MVP Award along the way. Philadelphia lost to the Blue Jays in six games in the Fall Classic despite Schilling’s complete-game, five-hitter in Game 5.

Schilling battled injuries in both 1994 and 1995, undergoing rotator cuff surgery before coming back midway through the 1996 season. The next year, Schilling finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting, going 17-11 with 319 strikeouts. He struck out 300 more batters in 1998, but by the middle of the 2000 season was nearing the end of his contract. The Phillies capitalized on his value by dealing him to the Diamondbacks on July 26, 2000 for four prospects.

In 2001, Schilling paired with Randy Johnson to give Arizona the best 1-2 pitching punch in the game. He went 22-6 with 293 strikeouts, finishing second to Johnson in the Cy Young vote. In the postseason, Schilling was 4-0 with a 1.12 ERA, sharing the World Series MVP award with Johnson.

In 2002, Schilling was 23-7 with 316 strikeouts, again finishing second to Johnson in the Cy Young Award vote. After a subpar 2003 season, Schilling was traded to the Red Sox for four prospects. In 2004, he went 21-6, again finishing second in the Cy Young voting. In the postseason, Schilling was 3-1 and captivated the nation by throwing six shutout innings in Game 2 of the World Series while blood seeped from an incision on his surgically-repaired ankle. Schilling’s determination led the Red Sox to a sweep of the Cardinals in the Fall Classic, giving Boston its first World Series title in 86 years.

Schilling pitched for the Red Sox for three more years, finishing his career with a record of 216-146 and a 3.46 ERA. He struck out 3,116 batters – becoming just one of 16 pitchers to top the 3,000 mark.

In the postseason, Schilling appeared in 19 games, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA. He was named to six All-Star teams, and his career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.38-to-1 is the best of any pitcher who pitched in the post-1900 modern era.

Schilling named his son Gehrig after the former Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig and has become a vigorous supporter of research for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In 2001, Schilling won MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award and Hutch Award – both given to players for their work on and off the field.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum