Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In Time, Perhaps. In Time

Curt Schilling's (seeming) retirement from baseball has been all over the sports pages, together with assessments of whether (or perhaps when) he will become Hall of Famer.

Schilling, in Boston, is considered a virtual shoo-in. And he may well be, although it will be on the strength of three memorable World Series appearances (1993 with the Phillies, 2001 with the Diamondbacks, and the bloody sock in 2004).

But at the end of the day, Schilling's career will be defined in large extent by numbers: 216 career wins, 3.46 ERA, 1.137 WHIP and more importantly: 11-2, 2.23 ERA in 19 post-season starts.

But it's hard to see Schilling going before Bert Blyleven (287 career wins, 3.31 ERA, 1.198 WHIP). Blyleven also went 5-1, 2.47 ERA in 8 postseason appearances.)

It's also hard to see Schill climbing over Jack Morris (254 wins, 3.90 ERA, 1.296 WHIP). Morris' 7-4, 3.80 ERA in 13 post-season games includes one of the all-time great pitching performances.

Even Luis Tiant, who no one thinks is likely to get in any time soon, has a argument with Schill: 229 W, 3.29 ERA, 1.199 WHIP/ 3-0, 2.86 ERA in 4 post-season starts.

Blyleven had been making progress in recent years, jumping from 47.7% in 2007 to 61.9% in 2008, but he plateaued with 62.7% this year. (Jim Rice, a similar border-line HoFer, jumped from 59.5% in 2005 to 63.5% in 2007 to getting over the 75% threshold two years later.)

Morris has a ways to go: his recent number have been 37.1% (2007), 42.9% (2008), and 44% (2009).

Schilling should be rooting hard for both men (Tiant is no longer on the ballot).

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