In introducing his recent ESPN.com article on the staying power of baseball's most senior pitchers, writer Sean McAdams makes the assumption Boston Red Sox right-hander Curt Shilling is a future baseball Hall of Famer. But is that true? I am not so sure.
Curt Schilling has been a good, if not great, pitcher since 2001. He has won 20 games or more three times, pitched over 200 innings four times, and averaged over a strikeout an inning. Now, although I am far from a baseball statistician, those are Hall of Fame caliber numbers. Add to the fact Schilling started this run in his mid-30s and his accomplishments become all the more impressive.
However, when judging a player's Hall of Fame potential it is imperative to examine his entire body of work. Schilling has pitched in the major leagues since 1988. During that time, he has won over 10 games only 10 times, the same amount of times as Dwight Gooden and three times fewer than David Wells. Gooden's Hall of Fame chances are pretty much nil and Wells will not be considered a serious Hall of Fame candidate anywhere outside of the Bronx. For his entire body of work, these are Curt Schilling's contemparies.
Of the other elderly hurlers McAdam discusses (Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer, Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson), Clemens, Maddux, and Johnson are sure-fire future inductees. Glavine will join them, but I believe he needs to get his 300th to solidify his candidacy. That should happen in 2007. Moyer, although he has pitched effectively with a high-school fastball since the days of Willie Mays, has never had Hall of Fame numbers.
This brings us back to Schilling. According to baseball-reference.com, Schilling's average season is 14-9 with a 3.44 ERA in 220 innings. Again using Gooden as a reference, Dr. K's average season was 15-9 with a 3.51 ERA in 226 innings. Pretty similar.
Not to campaign for Dwight Gooden, but I don't believe Curt Schilling will be able to put together a resume fit for the Baseball Hall of Fame when he retires. If he ever retires.
(P.S. 256.25 schillings = $14.50 admission x 1.29 dollars to euros x 13.7 schillings to euros)