Today, the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2015 was just announced. An unprecedented four worthy candidates received their rightful call to the hall. Over the next several months, a ton of praise will be given to Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio, but one name that was not included that was of great interest to me was Curt Schilling.
Fans may remember that Schilling was a teammate of both Johnson and Martinez. He was the 1A to their ace status. But in the postseason, Schilling really rose to the moment and it was in the playoffs where he made a name for himself. This year, Schilling made a jump in votes received by 10% finishing just under 40% of total votes, and needing at least 75% of the vote needed for induction.
While he appears to be trending upward which is a positive, another thing possibly going for Schils is that the ballot opens up somewhat looking ahead to next year. With six first time inductees and Biggio being included over the last two years, the only sure-fire guy next year will be the kid Ken Griffey Jr. Perhaps with just one lock, guys like Schilling and Mike Piazza can in fact move up and get over that 75% line.
As a pitcher that was growing up during Schilling’s core playing days, he was certainly a guy that I followed closely. His demeanor was a relaxing calm approach, but once on the mound was one of the fiercest competitors around. Early on in his career he was a bit of a rebel, but as he grew older and developed, his belief and approach really became Hall of Fame worthy. He was the guy on the mound in-game 7 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was his bloody sock in-game 6 for the Boston Red Sox.
There are two things that will always stand out for me in regards to Schilling. One, during his Arizona days I was able to watch him throw a bullpen session on his side day at Wrigley Field. The first pitch he threw was about 15 feet over the catchers head and over the protective net as well. He looked over to the crowd watching and said “Oops.” He proceeded to get a new ball and threw the next 20-30 pitches to where the catcher’s glove never moved. Sure, professional pitchers should be able to do that, but for me that just spoke to the focus and confidence of the pitcher. It also takes nothing away from the fact that when he was finished with that second ball, it was flipped to me in the stands.
The second is, his confidence during the World Series in 2001 against the New York Yankees, and even in the ALCS. How many players toss chalkboard material on the fire by saying “Mystic and aura are two things found in a club, not in a stadium.” He never backed down. Schilling has even said that he felt that he was brought to Boston to win game 1’s against the Yankees. But really, he was brought to Boston for moments like game 6, bloody sock and all. He was a part of “the greatest Red Sox team of all time.”
While he may not consider himself a hall of famer just yet, Curt Schilling is certainly Hall of Fame worthy. Perhaps next year may finally be the year that he gets the call to join the mystic and aura of Cooperstown and include his name among the greats.