Is Curt Schilling bound for the Hall of Fame?

All of the hype surrounding the World Champion Boston Red Sox will come to a hilt tonight as the conquering hero makes his return from the Land of the Bloody Sock.

At approximately 7:07 p.m. with a game time temperature hovering just over a brisk 40 degrees, Curt Schilling and his mended ankle will amble up to the mound on Fenway Park. Schilling, as we all know by now, is the most hyped player on this Red Sox team. While Johnny Damon may be running around with a new wife and a book deal, it’s Schilling whose viewed as the man who brought the Red Sox the championship.

With all of the attention focused on Schilling’s heroics, it’s often hard to cut through the rhetoric. One article, written by The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers, questioned Schilling’s motivation. Rogers doesn’t think Schilling can duplicate his successes from the past five seasons. “Success comes at a higher price as you get older,” Rogers wrote, “and the 38-year-old Schilling spent more than his share of the time mugging for the camera in the off-season. The bet here is the run of greatness he started in 2001 is due to take a downturn.”

On the other side of the coin are those members of Red Sox Nation who think Schilling is the best thing to happen to the Red Sox since the 1918 World Series. With all the hype surrounding Curt Schilling and his accomplishments over the last 12 months, his career perspective is often obscured. This is, after all, a pitcher who didn’t really break out until he turned 30 when he struck out 319 men. And while he’s won 20 games three times, those three times have all been since the turn of the millennium. Is Schilling, famous for his workhorse tendencies and off-the-charts pitching over the last four seasons, bound for enshrinement in Cooperstown?

Predicting a player’s Hall of Fame chances has, like most statistical evaluation in the rich field of baseball analysis, become something of a science. Bill James, one of the giants in the world of baseball statistics, has developed four different metrics for evaluating any player’s shot at the Hall of Fame.

First up is the black-ink test, the least scientific of the bunch. This is a test to see how often a player led the league in important statistics such as wins, ERA, strike outs, fewest walks, and so on. The gray-ink test looks to see how often a player finished in the top ten of the black-ink categories. Then, there is the Hall of Fame Career Standards Test and the Hall of Fame Monitor Test. Suffice it to say, both of these Jamesian creations require a lot of space to explain them. (If you’re interested in the statistics behind these methods, check out Baseball Reference’s detailed descriptions.)

As it stands right now, the Hall of Fame stats say that Curt Schilling is probably in Cooperstown but not definitely yet destined to be there. For the black in test, he scores a 40, where 40 is generally considered to be the bottom line of Hall of Fame measurements. On the gray ink test, he’s at 195, where 185 is the norm for the average Hall of Famer. Schilling, in other words, has been consistently in the top 10 of pitchers in his league. His Hall of Fame Standards test is at 42, where 50 is considered average, and his Hall of Fame Monitor test is at 151, where 100 denotes a likely Hall of Famer.

Outside of these metrics, what do Schilling’s career accomplishments tell us? In 17 years, Schilling has won just 184 games and only one Cy Young Award. While those wins rank him ninth among active players, numerous retired pitchers have won more than Schilling but aren’t in the Hall of Fame. These include Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris, two pitchers who probably should be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Currently, Schilling is sitting on 2745 career strike outs. That’s good for fourth among active players and 18th on the career list. Only Frank Tanana, Mickey Lolich, and Bert Blyleven (and his 3701 strike outs) are ahead of Schilling but no in the Hall. Considering that Schilling has at least two years left, he should finish his career with 3000 strike outs. Everyone who has reached that plateau except, inexplicably enough, Blyleven, has made it to the Hall. While the wins are lacking, that seems to be more due to factors outside of Schilling’s control. He’s often pitched well enough to win but has been victimized by bad offensive teams. As much as I would like to, it’s hard to argue with 3000 strike outs.

To seal the deal further, Schilling has turned in some amazing postseason performances, sutured ankle or otherwise. He has a career postseason record of 8-2 and two World Series rings. In 109.1 innings pitched, he’s given up just 79 hits and 22 walks while striking out 104, or just a shade under nine per nine innings. With an ERA of 2.06, he’s pitched four complete games and two shutouts. He won the World Series MVP in 2001 when he pitched Arizona to the championship.

In the end, this Yankee fan is forced to admit that, in spite of personal feelings about Curt Schilling and a few bouts with mediocrity every few years, Number 38 is headed for the Hall when he finally hangs up those blood-stained socks of his. What team his plaque will feature is an entirely different matter.

4 Responses to “Is Curt Schilling bound for the Hall of Fame?”


  1. 1 Ted Chan June 13, 2006 at 8:33 pm

    Are you the Ben Kabak that I know?

    In any case, as huge a Curt Schilling fan as I am, I think he’s out despite his pantheon quality post-season performance. The first half of his career just wasn’t good enough. Look at his comparables from Baseball Reference.

    Even Schilling himself said he was out when asked on WEEI 850 on Boston radio the other morning.

    Likely none of the pitchers he is comparable to, be it by age or cumulatively are in the Hall of Fame. I think he has a shot if and only if he has 3 more good seasons (this one included). He has already said he is going to walk away.

    Similar Pitchers View in Pop-up
    David Cone (914)
    Dazzy Vance (906) *
    Dwight Gooden (902)
    Kevin Brown (897)
    Jimmy Key (897)
    John Candelaria (893)
    Lon Warneke (890)
    Mike Cuellar (888)
    Mike Mussina (888)
    Bob Welch (880)
    Similar Pitchers through Age 38
    Kevin Brown (917)
    David Cone (914)
    Orel Hershiser (901)
    John Candelaria (890)
    Lew Burdette (884)
    Charley Root (880)
    John Smoltz (877)
    Dave Stieb (866)
    Tommy Bridges (865)
    Mike Cuellar (864)
    Most Similar by Age
    Ken Wright (981)
    Danny Frisella (984)
    Danny Darwin (973)
    Ken Forsch (984)
    Ron Robinson (972)
    Marty Pattin (972)
    Bill Hands (961)
    Scott Sanderson (958)
    Scott Sanderson (951)
    Scott Sanderson (952)
    Scott Sanderson (938)
    Bret Saberhagen (933)
    Bret Saberhagen (935)
    Kevin Brown (938)
    Kevin Brown (917)

  2. 2 Brian G. January 22, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    I think if Schilling has a quality year (20 wins would seal the deal, 15 would do) and the Sox make the playoffs, Schilling has a good shot at the Hall.

  3. 3 Denver1962 June 21, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Hall of Fame, I am not sure what people are looking at. Half of his career he doesn’t even reach double digit wins, nor is he a work horse, few years with at least 200 innings pitched. if anybody should be int he HOF it should be Jack Morris.

  4. 4 Charle June 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Denver1962…What are you talking about? Not a work horse? Among all other right-handers of Schillings era, he leads them all in complete games. All of them. Maddux, who is 25 behind him, is the closest. Know more facts before you make statements like that.


Comments are currently closed.



RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Austin’s late homer leads Yankees to 6-4 win over Red Sox September 28, 2016
    Not dead yet! The Yankees, with an assist from the Blue Jays (groan), avoided elimination from postseason contention Tuesday night with a 6-4 win over the Red Sox in the series opener. Five games left in the season and this team still hasn’t been eliminated. Pretty wild. Kid No. 1 The Yankees were led by […] The post Austin’s late homer leads Yankees to 6-4 […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Game 157: The Final Homestand September 27, 2016
    The Yankees have six games remaining this season, all at home. Three with the Red Sox, then three with the Orioles. They are mathematically still alive in the postseason race, and for those final three games with the O’s to mean anything, they need some combination of Yankees wins and Orioles losses totaling at least […] The post Game 157: The Final Homestan […]
    Mike Axisa
  • 9/27 to 9/29 Series Preview: Boston Red Sox September 27, 2016
    I think we’ve all been waiting about 14 seasons for this: David Ortiz’s final series against the Yankees. The Yankees are planning a ceremony to honor Ortiz prior to Thursday’s game, and I can’t imagine anyone is seriously upset by that. If you are, maybe take a step back and take a deep breath or […] The post 9/27 to 9/29 Series Preview: Boston Red Sox appe […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Yankeemetrics: Fighting ’til the end [Sept. 23-26] September 27, 2016
    Zeroes The Yankees late September collapse reached full throttle on Friday night with an ugly defeat, 9-0, to the Blue Jays in the series opener. It was their second-worst shutout loss ever in Toronto, behind only a 14-0 whitewashing on Sept. 4, 2001. The loss also officially eliminated the Yankees from contention for the division […] The post Yankeemetrics: […]
    Katie Sharp
  • Thoughts prior to the final homestand of the 2016 season September 27, 2016
    At some point soon, very possibly tonight, the Yankees will be officially eliminated from postseason contention. Their tragic number is a mere two. Last night’s dramatic win notwithstanding, the Yankees have tanked hard these last two weeks, ever since winning seven straight to climb to within one game of the second wildcard spot. I have […] The post Thought […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Yankees rally late, hang on for 7-5 win over Blue Jays after benches clear September 27, 2016
    This team still has a little magic left, huh? The Yankees brawled and bat-flipped their way to a dramatic 7-5 win over the Blue Jays in their final road game of the season Monday night. That was satisfying win. Very, very satisfying. Too Big For Their Britches The Blue Jays tried to play schoolyard bully […] The post Yankees rally late, hang on for 7-5 win o […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Game 156: The Final Road Game September 26, 2016
    After six months of red-eye flights and swanky hotels, the Yankees are playing their final road game of the 2016 season tonight. They’re an awful 35-45 on the road, which is their worst record away from Yankee Stadium since going 35-46 in 1992. Things aren’t so bad at home. The Yankees are 44-31 with a […] The post Game 156: The Final Road Game appeared firs […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Yanks add James Kaprielian to Arizona Fall League roster September 26, 2016
    Right-hander James Kaprielian has been added to the Scottsdale Scorpions roster, according to the Arizona Fall League transactions page. The Yankees had one open pitching spot and were reportedly hoping to use it on Kaprielian, who has missed almost the entire season with an flexor tendon strain. “I’m pretty happy and excited with the progression […] The pos […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Heyman: Yankees wanted Panik in trade talks with Giants September 26, 2016
    According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees asked the Giants for second baseman Joe Panik during trade talks prior to the August 1st deadline. San Francisco was said to have interest in both Andrew Miller and Michael Pineda, and I assume Aroldis Chapman as well. The Yankees reportedly did not view them as a good trade […] The post Heyman: Yankees wanted Panik in tr […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Finding Success September 26, 2016
    One way or another, the 2016 season is going to end in a week’s time. Chances are, the Yankees will be packing up their lockers and heading to their respective corners of vacation, golf, and other recreational activities as their counterparts on other teams bask in the stressful glow of October baseball. There was a […] The post Finding Success appeared firs […]
    Matt Imbrogno

Blog Stats

  • 61,936 hits

%d bloggers like this: