March 23, 2009
"Four World Series, three World Championships. That there are men with plaques in Cooperstown who never experienced one — and I was able to be on three teams over seven years that won it all — is another 'beyond my wildest dreams" set of memories I'll take with me.' "
"Men with plaques in Cooperstown," Schill says. Just slips that in, to get it on the record, added just in case anyone doing a Schilling career obit forgets to make a Hall of Fame reference.
Schilling's 216 victories tie him for 80th on the career list; he can't even top Charlie Hough or, for someone in this millennium, Kenny Rogers (219) and Jamie Moyer (246). Statistically, it's the most unimpressive thing about Schilling. Of course, anyone thinking Schilling isn't better than Moyer, Rogers and Hough ought to have his or her thinkin' license revoked.
At the same time, some consider Schilling a deity just because of his bloody sock game. GQ Magazine and other possible haters have pointed out that the sock might have been bloodied for theater. Who cares, right? He won the game, so what do his socks matter?
Well, it makes for a better story in something like a Cooperstown speech.
Schilling's postseasons did seem to be larger than life. He went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 career playoff starts. He did benefit from pitching in an era of multiple postseason series. Cy Young won 511 career games in the regular season but only made six postseason starts (going 2-3, believe it or not).
How much of Schilling is Hall of Fame and how much is hyperbole?
Schilling is a Hall of Famer because he finished second in Cy Young voting three times and made six All-Star teams. He finished with 3,116 strikeouts (15th all time), and with an ERA that was nearly a run below the league average. His complete record, when considering his work in the playoffs, is Hall of Fame quality and needs no embellishment.
From the man or his socks.