Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Schilling Retirement the End of an Era in AL East

It's not that I don't remember Curt Schilling's greatness as Mr. Phillie. Of course I do. That nasty splitter. The hard gas. The big old wad of chewing tobacco. I was too young to appreciate his NLCS MVP award and World Series performances in 1993.

But the Curt Schilling I remember vividly was a Yankee killer and a champion late in his career. It all started with the 2001 World Series, when Randy Johnson and he teamed up to form one of the most devastating 1-2 punches in the history of postseason baseball. That final year of the Yankee dynasty had the most exciting Fall Classic I have ever seen, and resulted in a disproportionate number of victories coming in the last at-bat of the game.

Then, of course, as if Yankees fans hadn't seen enough of him, he had to move to the Boston Red Sox, where he shrugged off an 86-year championship drought and re-stratified the division. The bloody sock game (whether theatrics or not) was one of the gutsiest performances I have ever witnessed, and has to be looked at on par with Kirk Gibson's miracle home run. In 2007, he won three more playoff games with no gas left in the tank and led the Sox to another World Series.

As famous for his candid nature as for his determination on the mound, Schilling never shied from the spotlight. He addressed every issue that came up in baseball during his career. I am sure he will continue to do so on his blog, even after retirement. One day, I hope to see him in Cooperstown. He belongs there, and I think that most Yankee fans agree with me. Quoting a memorable scene between Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell from "Anchorman," we hate him, but, damn it, do we respect him. He will be remembered by the game for years to come.

1 comment:

  1. But is he a HOFer? 216 wins. Charlie Hough had that many and no one would consider him a HOFer. There is no more frustrating HOF than baseball's because it supposedly rewards for a body of work and, with a Schilling, will reward for his good fortune at making the postseason and making the most of it.