Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Curt Schilling retired. Or rather, he announced he was finished, surprises no one.

I've wondered for a while now about whether his numbers are Hall of Fame worthy. I was on the fence, but now I'm thinking that he makes it.

216 wins isn't a lot of wins, but he did get them in the Steroid Era.

What pushes him over the top is the postseason. Everyone knows that he thrived (throve?) on pressure. But this ESPN article points out that he was 11-2 in the postseason, the best playoff winning percentage ever for guys with ten decisions. His postseason ERA is even more remarkable1. These games are (obviously) games against the best teams, to have a 2.23 postseason ERA is amazing.

Does that matter for the Hall of Fame? I think it does. Postseason success matters.

The Hall of Fame is also comparative. If Mussina gets in, I think Schilling has to get in.

Since Schilling hasn't pitched since 2007, I believe he'll be eligible in 2012, a year earlier than Maddux. I don't think Schilling is a first ballot hall of famer, and it wouldn't surprise me if voters want to give Maddux the honor of going in alone, so it wouldn't surprise me if he has to wait a couple of years. But I think he gets in.

Tangentially, Schilling had an extremely unusual career, in that he was a late-bloomer. As Rob Neyer points out, Schilling's record at age 30 was 52-52. The only present player I can think of who's remotely similar is Jamie Moyer. Why Moyer? Astonishingly, Jamie Moyer's record at age 30 was far worse: 34-50.

1-It's worth noting that these statistics necessarily eliminate great money pitchers of the past like Bob Gibson, because they pitched in so many fewer playoff games.

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