Tag: Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling Argues with Fake Sidney Ponson on Twitter After Hall of Fame Vote

Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines were all inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, but former MLB ace Curt Schilling missed the cut, per BBWAA.com.

He took out some of his frustrations in an argument with a fake Twitter account for former pitcher Sidney Ponson (warning: NSFW):

Mike Oz of Yahoo Sports captured the entire conversation (warning: NSFW):


Players need 75 percent of the votes to be inducted, and Schilling received just 45 percent.

Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine noted Schilling’s percentage of votes “collapsed from 52.3 [in 2016] to 45.”

From 1988 to 2007, Schilling played for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox. He was a six-time All-Star, won three World Series championships (including one that broke the fabled “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 with the Red Sox) and posted a sparkling career playoff ERA of 2.23.

However, Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today argued that Schilling’s failure to win a Cy Young Award “takes some luster off his candidacy.” Ortiz also described Schilling’s win total of 216 as “a remarkably low number for such an accomplished pitcher over a 20-year career,” although the win-loss record of a pitcher is an imperfect way to judge his ability at best.

Still, Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy was about more than his on-field achievements.

Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports’ Big League Stew said “Schilling’s case for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame no longer has to do with his arm, it has to do with his mouth.”

Wednesday’s argument won’t help Schilling’s reputation, but Cwik mentioned a number of more serious incidents that hurt the pitcher’s cause.

He noted Schilling was fired from ESPN for posting an anti-transgender meme, was suspended by the company for comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis and said presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should “be buried under a jail” in an interview with 610 Sports in Kansas City.

Schilling also shared an image of a shirt suggesting journalists should be lynched and said “so much awesome here,” as ESPN’s Bill Barnwell passed along (warning: NSFW):

Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe (h/t MSN) referenced that tweet and said he invoked the character clause in his Hall of Fame vote when he decided not to vote for Schilling. After the former pitcher commented on the shirt, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports said, “I just couldn’t respect myself and vote for him this year.” 

Rather than accepting induction into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Schilling found himself arguing with a fake Twitter account. Given the sentiments of some writers, he largely has himself to blame for that.

Perhaps he can take solace in the fact that Ponson isn’t in the Hall of Fame either.

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Curt Schilling to Run for Senate in 2018: Latest Details and Reaction

Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling announced his intention Tuesday to run for the United States Senate as a Republican against Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2018.

Speaking on The John DePetro Show on Rhode Island’s WPRO-AM (h/t Tim Hill of the Guardian), Schilling added he still needs to clear the decision with his family.

“I’ve made my decision,” he said, per Hill. “I’m going to run. But I haven’t talked to Shonda, my wife. And ultimately it’s going to come down to how her and I feel this would affect our marriage and our kids.”

Schilling pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, finishing his career 216-146 with 3,116 strikeouts, a 3.46 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He was a six-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion, and he finished second in Cy Young Award voting three times, though he never won the honor.

He’s been a more controversial figure in his post-baseball career, however.

In 2012, his video game studio, 38 Studios, went bankrupt two years after receiving a $75 million taxpayer-based loan from the state of Rhode Island, per Hill. The state ultimately sued, and Schilling and Rhode Island agreed to a $2.5 million settlement.

Schilling has also raised eyebrows with a number of public statements. In 2015, he was suspended by his then-employer, ESPN, after a tweet that compared the number of Muslim extremists to German Nazis. A year later, ESPN fired him after he shared an anti-transgender Facebook post that supported North Carolina legislation that made it illegal for transgender persons to use bathrooms that didn’t match the sex on their birth certificate.

Along with sharing the Facebook post, Schilling wrote: “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”

Per Hill, Schilling has been hinting at running against Warren for some time.

“I thought about it, and one of the things I would like to do is be one of the people responsible for getting Elizabeth Warren out of politics,” Schilling said in August, according to Hill’s report. “I think she’s a nightmare and I think that the left is holding her up as the second coming of Hillary Clinton, but Lord knows we don’t even need the first one.”


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Curt Schilling Comments on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump

Former Boston Red Sox ace Curt Schilling weighed in on the 2016 presidential election Wednesday, and the outspoken ESPN analyst didn’t hold back in his criticism of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

One of the biggest hot-button issues surrounding Clinton during her democratic campaign battle with Bernie Sanders has been the use of a private email server that may have left classified information vulnerable.

In an interview with Kansas City AM 610 (h/t Luke Barr of TheHill.com), Schilling believes Clinton deserves a severe punishment for her role in the scandal: “If I’m gonna believe—and I don’t have any reason not to believe—that she gave classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server after what happened to Gen. [David] Petraeus, she should be buried under a jail somewhere.”

Schilling took additional shots at Clinton and questioned her credentials as well:

If she’s allowed to get to the general election before she’s in prison, I’ll be stunned and upset. Because I think she’s shown her true colors all along the way, and I’ll ask you this: Do you see her being anything even remotely different than what we’ve had? 

I don’t care what her titles are, she’s done nothing. She’s done absolutely nothing to further the success of the middle class. She jumps on the backs of people who she wants to be dependent on government. She needs these people to be dependent on her.

The three-time World Series champion was bipartisan in his attacks, however, as he also blasted Trump for being vague in terms of policy on the GOP side.

Schilling is no stranger to getting in hot water due to his political beliefs, as he was suspended by ESPN last year after tweeting an offensive meme.

Following the suspension, Schilling took full responsibility for what he acknowledged was a poor decision:

The six-time All Star remains extremely opinionated when it comes to potentially sensitive issues even in the wake of his punishment.

It is currently unclear if Schilling’s latest comments will lead to any type of reaction from his employer.  


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Inhuman Greinke, Kershaw Duo Unlikely to Replicate Schilling-Johnson Postseason

Incomparable. You’ve probably heard that word thrown around in connection with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, the dynamic duo that’s poised to pitch the Los Angeles Dodgers into October.

Certainly, the likes of Greinke and Kershaw don’t come around often, and even less frequently do such immense talents occupy the same rotation.

But there is a comparison for the Dodgers’ two-headed mound monster, if an imperfect one.

We’ll talk more about the “imperfect” part in a moment. First, let’s step into the wayback machine and set the coordinates for the autumn of 2001. (Yes, that was 14 years ago. And yes, you should feel old.)

That season featured a seemingly unbeatable pitching twosome who double-handedly carried a National League West club to a thrilling World Series victory.

The club was the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the arms they rode across the Fall Classic finish line belonged to Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

Johnson (2.49 ERA, 249.2 innings pitched, 372 strikeouts) and Schilling (2.98 ERA, 256.2 IP, 293 K) dominated in the ’01 regular season, finishing first and second in National League Cy Young balloting, respectively. But they flipped a switch in the playoffs, changing their settings from “superb” to “superhuman.”

Schilling went 4-0 with a 1.12 ERA in 48.1 innings and started Games 1 and 5 of the National League Division Series, Game 3 of the National League Championship Series and Games 1, 4 and 7 of the World Series.

Johnson went 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA in 41.1 innings and started Game 2 of the NLDS, Games 1 and 5 of the NLCS and Games 2 and 6 of the World Series. Then, for good measure, he came out of the bullpen in Game 7 to get four crucial outs and set the table for Luis Gonzalez’s game-winning single off the New York Yankees‘ Mariano Rivera in the ninth.

Johnson and Schilling wound up sharing World Series MVP honors. It was frankly impossible to place one above the other, just as it was impossible to imagine Arizona sniffing the Commissioner’s Trophy without its pair of aces. Baseball is a team sport in the truest sense, but that 2001 title run—the only one in the D-Backs’ brief historywas as close as any two men can come to carrying an entire franchise on their backs.

In 2011, the 10-year anniversary of Schilling and Johnson’s impossible-unless-you-witnessed-it feat, Gonzalez offered a firsthand perspective, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert:

It was awesome. They went out there and dominated the game. They quietly competed against each other. And you loved it when one of them had a fantastic game, because you knew the other guy was going to be amped up and ready to go and outshine the other guy. It was a great mix of those two guys. It was the yin and the yang, but they did it.

The question now is: Can Greinke and Kershaw do it too?

There are parallels. Greinke (1.65 ERA, 207.2 IP, 185 K) and Kershaw (2.18 ERA, 215 IP, 272 K) are in the midst of superlative seasons and could well finish one-two in Cy Young voting, though the Chicago Cubs‘ Jake Arrieta is in the mix.

They’re also a righty-lefty combo like Schilling and Johnson. Johnson was coming off two consecutive Cy Young seasons, and so is Kershaw, his southpaw counterpart. And, as Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times outlined, Greinke and Kershaw motivate each other with the same friendly-yet-fiery competition Gonzalez described:

After Kershaw flirted with a perfect game July 23 against the Mets in New York, [catcher Yasmani] Grandal recalled a conversation he’d had with Greinke after a spring game.

“Kershaw better watch out because I’m coming after him,” Grandal recalled Greinke telling him.

They’re pushing each other to rarefied air.

Whether they’ll push the Dodgers to their first championship in 27 years remains to be seen. But if they do, they aren’t likely to do it in the same wayor, more specifically, to the same extentas Johnson and Schilling.

Here’s a striking fact: In the 2001 postseason, Johnson and Schilling threw a combined five complete games. By contrast, Greinke and Kershaw have tossed only four complete games between them all season.

That’s the norm in today’s MLB, with its emphasis on pitch counts, relief specialists and late-game matchups. In 1998, Schilling led the majors with 15 complete games. In 1999, Johnson paced baseball with 12.

This season, four pitchers are tied for the lead with four complete games apiece.

One of those pitchers is Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants, who turned back the clock last October and threw an astounding 52.2 postseason innings, breaking the record set by Schilling in 2001.

The Giants left-hander tossed 21 frames in the World Series alone, including a gutsy Game 7 relief appearance that sealed San Francisco’s third championship in five seasons.

So it is possible, even today, to shoulder the load. More than a template, though, Bumgarner was the exception that proves the rule. Part of the reason his performance glistened so brightly—besides its utter brilliance—is that it was an anomaly among anomalies.

Likewise, what Johnson and Schilling did in ’01 is a rarity in this or any era. Having a pair of top-shelf pitchers doesn’t correlate with postseason success, as Houston Mitchell of the Los Angeles Times outlined last September:

A check of other teams with at least two dominant starters since expanded playoffs began in 1969 says otherwise. Using the criteria of at least two starting pitchers who, like Kershaw and Greinke, have a WHIP of 1.16 or lower and an ERA+ of 125 (meaning they were 25% better than the average pitcher that year), 39 other teams have two pitchers like that. One of those are the 2014 Washington Nationals, with Tanner Roark and Jordan Zimmermann. Of the other 38, only 21 made the playoffs. Only four of those teams won the World Series, with nine teams losing in the first round of the playoffs.

The 2014 Nationals didn’t end up in the World Series, and neither did the 2014 Dodgers. In fact, after sweeping the Cy Young and NL MVP awards in the regular season, Kershaw tripped over his cleats in the playoffs, going 0-2 and raising his career postseason ERA to an unsightly 5.12.

That doesn’t mean Kershaw will fade this year. But it does prove that even the greats can wilt under baseball’s brightest glare.

In all likelihood, if the Dodgers are going to spray champagne and dump confetti for the first time since the waning months of the Reagan administration, they’ll need the offense, which has scored the third-fewest runs in baseball since the All-Star break, to click. They’ll need another starting pitcher (Alex Wood? Brett Anderson?) to chip in. And their frequently wobbly bullpen must rise to the occasion.

Los Angeles is right to expect a lot from Greinke and Kershaw. They’re the studs in the stable, after all. And Dodgers fans can be forgiven for closing their eyes and letting visions of Schilling and Johnson dance in their heads.

It’s a scintillating comparison, no question.

In the end, though, some things are simply incomparable.


All statistics current as of Sept. 23 and courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

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Making Sense of the John Smoltz, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling HOF Debates

John Smoltz, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling…or all of the above? It’s a question Hall of Fame voters wrestled with this year (we’ll find out what they concluded on Tuesday), and it’s a damn tough one.

Or maybe not, if you believe the tally of public HOF votes at Baseball Think Factory. As of Jan. 4, Smoltz sat at 88.3 percent, trailing only Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez among eligible players.

Meanwhile, Schilling (53.8 percent) and Mussina (37.9 percent) fell well below the 75 percent threshold needed for induction.

What gives? Why does Smoltz look like a lock to follow his former Atlanta Braves teammates and 2014 inductees Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine into Cooperstown while Schilling and Mussina appear destined to miss out?

Let’s put the three pitchers’ key stats side-by-side and go from there:

Those are remarkably similar lines. And if you use career wins above replacement (WAR), Schilling (79.9) and Mussina (83) have a sizable edge over Smoltz (69.5), per Baseball-Reference.

Of course, we’ve yet to mention the three seasons Smoltz spent slamming the door as Atlanta’s closer. Between 2002 and 2004, the right-hander racked up 144 saves, including an MLB-leading 55 in ’02. 

When Smoltz hung ’em up in 2009, he had 154 saves to pair with 213 wins. Both stats might be overrated, scoffed at by the sabermetrically inclined, but they’re eye-catching, which may at least partly explain the voting disparity.

Not everyone is impressed. As Grantland‘s Ben Lindberg notes:

The portrayal of Smoltz as a Swiss Army ace relies on shaky logic: Every elite starter has the ability to be a dominant closer, and Smoltz shouldn’t get extra credit for the fragility that temporarily forced his team to use him in a less valuable role. After all, Mussina wouldn’t be a better candidate if he’d taken a sabbatical from starting to pitch out of the bullpen for Baltimore.

It’s a salient point. Theoretically, Mussina and Schilling would have been equal if they’d tried their hand at ninth-inning duties. Heck, they might have been better.

The fact is, though, we’ll never know. Smoltz is the only one who pitched consistently out of the pen, and he put up some imposing numbers to stack next to the dominant stats he compiled as a starter.

OK, what about the postseason? Many a HOF candidacy has been made—or broken—on October performance.

This is where Smoltz and Schilling gain a little separation from Mussina. Here are the three pitchers’ key stats, this time for the playoffs and World Series only:

It’s not that Mussina embarrassed himself under the bright autumn glare, but the numbers (ERA specifically) put him a step off the pace.

And, unlike Smoltz and Schilling, he never won a ring. Fair or not, that’s something many voters consider.

Speaking of factors worth weighing, let’s swing the pendulum back in Mussina’s favor and point out that he pitched his entire 18-year career with the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles in the hitter-friendly American League East.

Plus, he’s the only member of the HOF-hopeful troika who never tossed an inning in the National League, where the pitchers hit and the DH is a dirty word.

So you see how this goesback and forth, point counterpoint. Why not simply let all three in?

Peter Gammons, no doubt an authority on the subject, says that’s the ticket, writing on Daily Gammons that Smoltz is a “no-doubter,” while Schilling and Mussina also belong on baseball’s most hallowed post-career stage.

All three, Gammons points out, pitched in the heart of the steroid era, “a time period in which we do not choose to elect Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and some others because of their suspected PED usage.”

But with Martinez and Johnson first-ballot locks and plenty of worthy position players in the mix, the math gets tricky.

For what it’s worth, I put Smoltz on my unofficial Bleacher Report ballot and left off Schilling and Mussina.

It was a difficult decision. In the end, I was swayed (I’ll admit) by the 150 saves and the fact that Smoltz, even more than Maddux and Glavine, was the connecting thread throughout the Braves’ magnificent run of 14 consecutive division titles between 1991 and 2005. 

Still, I think Schilling and Mussina belong in the Hall. I also happen to think players like Bonds and Roger Clemens should be there, steroid stench aside. I suspect other writers whose votes actually count faced a similar dilemma.

Schilling garnered just 29.2 percent in 2014 and Mussina a scant 20.3. This will be Schilling’s third year of eligibility and Mussina’s second; it’s conceivable both could fall off entirely in the future, though almost certainly not this year. (Only five percent is needed to stay on the ballot.) 

Even if you view both pitchers as borderline HOF talents, those vote totals are surprisingly low. Particularly for Schilling, who combines impressive stats with big-game mythology. Have we forgotten the bloody sock already?

Here’s what Schilling told MLB.com‘s Ian Browne in 2014 after he missed the cut:

Whether I believe [I belong] or what I think is irrelevant. I know what I did. At the end of the day, when I think about my career, the thing I always tell people that I wanted when I started was, I wanted to have a career where the 24 guys I suited up with, if their life depended on a win or a loss, who would they want to have the ball? I wanted to be that guy.

He was that guy; so were Smoltz and Mussina. The question now is whether they’ll be guys with busts in a museum in Otsego County, New York. 

In a way, it doesn’t matter; their individual achievements stand tall regardless. But in another way, it matters a lot.

That’s what makes the Hall of Fame special and confounding all at once, and what makes these questions so damn tough.

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Ex-Red Sox Trainer Mike Reinold Injected Players with Controversial Substance

Former Boston Red Sox athletic trainer Mike Reinold could be facing some major legal troubles including violating Massachusetts state law and medical ethics law after information surfaced that he injected Red Sox players with the prescription medication Toradol.

Toradol (ketorolac tromethamine) is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain on a short-term basis. It falls into the same category as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Mortin and Aleve.

While Toradol doesn’t produce the sedation and possible habit-forming effects of narcotic analgesics such as Vicodin, it does carry a “Black Box Warning” from the Food and Drug Administration.

A “Black Box Warning” requires pharmaceutical companies to include a bold warning not only on the packaging of the product, but on the patient instruction sheet as well. Further literature is provide to the patient informing them of the serious or life-threatening risks associated with taking the medication.

The Toradol can produce some serious side effects including renal (kidney) failure. (Trust me, I’m talking from personal experience.)

Reinold injected players during home and away games from 2006 through 2011, according to witnesses and a investigation by Major League Baseball.

On March 28, 2012, MLB released a league-wide memo that prohibited athletic trainers from injecting players with Toradol.

Reinold wasn’t the only trainer that had administered the medication, however, he was the center of the MLB investigation per Yahoo! Sports.com.

A search on the Massachusetts Board of Allied Health Professionals website, didn’t return any results regarding an active license for Reinold as either an athletic trainer or physical therapist.

The board has disciplined multiple trainers:

The Massachusetts board of Allied Health Professionals, which regulates trainers in the state, has disciplined multiple trainers in recent years for injecting patients, regardless of the drug administered. per Yahoo! Sports.com.

According to a statement obtained by Yahoo! Sports.com, director of communications for the Massachusetts’ Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations Amie Breton had this to say on the issue at hand:

It is the board’s position that athletic trainers are prohibited from using injectables.

That essentially means Reinold was actually performing duties outside his scope of practice.

Reinold currently operates a website and blog that promotes his goal to “share my thoughts and experience (with your thoughts and experience) on several topics related to the current concepts & recent advances in rehabilitation, injury prevention, and performance enhancement.”

It is aimed at professionals practicing in physical therapy, occupational therapy and multiple sports related positions including athletic trainers. 

His last blog post was dated February 14.

According to Reinold’s website and blog:

Michael M. Reinold, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS is considered a leader in the field of sports medicine, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement.  As a physical therapist, athletic trainer, and certified strength and conditioning specialist, Mike uses his background in sport biomechanics, movement quality, and muscles imbalances to specialize in all aspects of human performance.  He has worked extensively with a variety of professional athletes with emphasis on the care of throwing injuries in baseball players.

The website doesn’t list any of Reinold’s background or schooling credentials.

However, an excerpt from the Yahoo! Sports article states:

Reinold, who received a doctorate in physical therapy, also studied at the American Sports Medicine Institute, the renowned medical facility, research lab and think tank run by Dr. James Andrews.

Reinold was fired from the Red Sox in 2012 and has yet to find employment with another Major League Baseball club.

As far any legal ramifications into Reinold’s misconduct, no investigation has been launched by the Massachusetts Board of Allied Health Professionals unless a formal complaint is brought forth.

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Larry Lucchino’s Comments Are Going to Cause Trouble for the Boston Red Sox

It might be time for the Boston Red Sox and team president Larry Lucchino to go their separate ways.

Lucchino can’t resist being a lawyer. Deny, deny, deny.

Earlier this week, Curt Schilling told ESPN that a member of the Red Sox organization suggested that he use PEDs in 2008 to recover faster from injury.

It was the type of statement that people automatically wanted to dismiss as Schilling drawing attention to himself.

In a statement that may eventually cost him his job, Lucchino denied that he was aware that Schilling had been asked to use PEDs.

“Certainly is something to look into, but it came from out of left field, to use a baseball cliche,” he said (via the Boston Globe‘s Peter Abraham).

Current Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, who was the Sox’s assistant general manager in 2008, calls it “preposterous” that Hoyer or former general manager Theo Epstein knew of Schilling’s PED claim (via CBS Sports Chicago).

OK. So current Red Sox management and former Sox management denied the story—no surprise there.

But then a funny thing happened: MLB confirmed the story.

Per MLB.com’s Evan Drellich, the Sox immediately brought Schilling’s PED claim to the attention of MLB during 2008. MLB reportedly investigated the incident and considers it closed, according to Abraham.

Schilling states that he immediately brought his concerns to Terry Francona and Theo Epstein. But he then absolves Hoyer and Epstein from being involved in the comments, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

It is very hard to believe that Lucchino, who has his hands in every facet of the Red Sox’s operations, was unaware of the incident from 2008. It is also hard to believe that Hoyer, Epstein’s right-hand man, wasn’t aware of the incident either—especially if Epstein knew.

This is the last thing that MLB or the Red Sox need right before a new season starts.

And MLB doesn’t need another PED scandal on the heels of the Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun bombshells from the last couple of weeks. The fact that it might be a member of management like Lucchino covering something up makes this potentially far worse.

The Sox desperately need to put last season behind them and focus on the promise that comes with spring training.

Lucchino could have simply said that he couldn’t comment on Schilling’s story. Instead, Boston’s ownership will have even more questions to answer in the coming weeks.

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MLB Hall of Fame: Why Curt Schilling Is Worthy and Andy Pettitte Is Not

Baseball is, for the most part, an exact science.

That is why we can compare Tony Gwynn and Tris Speaker, even though 75 years passed between their respective debuts. We know that Speaker’s .345 average is still very comparable to Gwynn’s .338.

Of course the game has changed slightly. Speaker averaged 25 stolen bases a season, four more than Gwynn. But 25 steals was less impressive in the 1910s than 21 was 80 years later.

For the most part, however, the numbers have remained fairly constant, especially since the dead ball era came to an end in 1920.

Yet it is this exactness and consistency, which gives birth to the most inexact part of the sport: the Hall of Fame.

People will argue to their dying day that player X should make it and player Y should not. That is why it took Bert Blyleven and Jim Rice so long, and why people still fight for Luis Tiant. (In all seriousness, how is Catfish Hunter in Cooperstown when Tiant is not?)

HoF voting is painted in many shades of grey and there will never be a right answer. Bear in mind, there were people who did not vote for Willie Mays in 1979.

But whilst debating the merits of one player can be at once entertaining and infuriating, comparing two similar players can be even more so.

Enter Andy Pettitte. The longtime Yankee announced his retirement earlier this month and instantly sparked debate about his Cooperstown credentials. Even his most ardent supporter will admit that his regular season numbers are not good enough and that you have to look at the postseason to see his true value. The same argument is made for Curt Schilling.

The two have had quite similar careers. Although an incredibly inexact measurement, Baseball Reference’s “similar pitchers” section lists Pettitte as being most like David Wells, Kevin Brown and Bob Welch. It has Schilling as being most similar to Brown, Welch and Orel Hershiser. It is an awful tool for comparison, of course, but it is interesting, at least.

So let’s compare. Do either deserve a spot? (Incidentally, although Schilling retired in 2008, his last game was in ’07, so he will be eligible in 2013, three years before Pettitte.)

Invariably, the first stat everyone looks to is wins.

In 16 seasons, Pettitte went 240-138 for a .635 winning percentage.

In 20 seasons, Schilling was 216-146, a .597 winning percentage.

There will be those who will cry that neither is close to 300 wins, so neither deserves to make the Hall. The answer to their argument? Sandy Koufax. Yes, injury curtailed his career at just 12 seasons, but he only won 165 games. Anyone want to argue that he is not one of the greatest pitchers of all time?

Wins are a poor statistic. A pitcher has to rely too heavily on his teammates helping him out. If they cannot, his win-loss record will suffer, something known now as the Felix Hernandez Deficiency.

Curt Schilling played on some terrible Philadelphia teams in the ’90s. The Phillies had a winning record just once in his time with the franchise. Andy Pettitte on the other hand, was on a New York side about to become a dynasty. He debuted in 1995. The Yankees won the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000, and won the AL pennant in 2001 and 2003.

Simply put, he got more help than Schilling ever did.

That is not to take anything away from Pettitte; he was a good pitcher, but he was never great. Look at his ERA.

Schilling had a sub-3.30 ERA nine times. Pettitte managed it four times. In seasons with at least 160 IP, Schilling accomplished it eight times to Pettitte’s two.

Over the course of their careers, it is closer, but Schilling still wins it 3.46 to 3.88.

In any case, neither player probably deserves a place in Cooperstown based on their regular season records. But then you look at the postseason. It was only after the calendar flipped to October that each made a name for himself.

Five-time champion Andy Pettitte won 19 games in the playoffs, more than any other pitcher in history. However, as has been established, wins are a poor indicator of a pitcher’s ability by themselves. Remember, Pettitte has pitched in a staggering 42 playoff games. His record of 19-10 is very good, but it is not incredible. Neither is his 3.83 postseason ERA.

Curt Schilling—who has three rings—is another matter. In 19 playoff starts, he went 11-2 with a 2.23 earned run average and a WHIP below one. Just give the man a plaque.

Both are borderline cases, but in almost every category, Schilling is closer to being HoF-worthy.

He deserves to be in the Hall. Pettitte just falls short. And then we reach the question of performance-enhancing drugs.

Andy Pettitte has admitted taking them and in the eyes of some, his honesty has exonerated him from the same blame and hatred that has befallen Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, et al. There will be others, though, who will never vote for him.

The issue might be moot, anyway. Although Pettitte is retired, there is a strong feeling that he will pull a Roger Clemens and return midseason.

Somebody warn Suzyn Waldman.

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MLB Hall Of Fame: Why Curt Schilling Should Not Make It In 2013 Or Ever

I realize that Curt Schilling will not be eligible for the Hall of Fame until 2013, if I have done my math correctly. I don’t feel it is too early to discuss his probability of making it to Cooperstown without a ticket.

I have heard some announcers call him (while he was still pitching) a future Hall of Famer. That irks me to no end. It did then and it does now.

Some people are locks for enshrinement. Randy Johnson is one and Tom Glavine is another. Curt Schilling is not.

Am I saying he won’t get in? No, but I don’t think he should. I don’t see him jumping over the bar in any particular category.

I can see all of you young guns snarling and getting ready to rebut me with a volley of SABRmetrics. Save it, I am old school and I don’t subscribe to much of that. If I wanted to learn more math I would have stayed in school longer.

Look at his career for a moment if you will. What did he do?

Okay, he was a 20-game winner three times. That is impressive, but so did Tommy John and it didn’t do him any good. Not even with 288 wins and 46 shutouts.

Schilling won 216 games with only 20 shutouts.  That is hardly impressive, I don’t care who you are.

Milt Pappas pitched 43 shutouts.  Jim Kaat pitched 31 of them and won 283, he still has to buy a ticket if he wants in.

His 3.46 ERA is mediocre at best. Kaat beat him there as well, albeit by only one-hundredth of a point.

Billy Pierce also had numbers which are compatible with Schilling’s. He won 211 games and tossed 38 shutouts with a decent ERA of 3.27.

How about awards, did Schilling win any Cy Young Awards? No, the best he ever did was finish runner-up. John did that as well, twice.

How about All-Star squads? Schilling was on six AS squads in a 15-year career while Pierce was on seven.

Schilling was very good in ringing batters up. He had over 300 K’s three different seasons, and led the league in two of them. I certainly hope that is not what supposedly separates him from the riffraff.

His WHIP ranks 46th on the all time list, giving him honor where it is due.

How about World Series experience? Not playoffs, did you say playoffs? I am not talking about playoffs; playoffs didn’t exist until the late sixties. Let’s talk World Series.

He is 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA, very good indeed. Pierce was 1-1 with a 1.89 Earnie.

A pitcher can get away with fewer than 250 wins, only if he is Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Schilling was never the dominant pitcher either Koufax or Gibson was.

Schilling, in my view should be relegated to the Hall of Very Good with Tommy John, Billy Pierce and Jim Kaat.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Boston Red Sox: Adrian Gonzalez and Their 10 Most Important Trades Since 2000

A big market city, such as Boston, comes with big payrolls and even bigger expectations.

Year after year the front office, coaches and fans expect a certain level of excellence from their players. If they do not live up to their potential then it’s the general manager’s job to find someone who can.

It used to be that most players, especially stars, would start and finish their careers in the same uniform. However, since the introduction of free agency that is now rarely the case.

Players on small market clubs are often the subject of trade rumors as their contract nears free agency to ensure their current teams gets value in return for their inevitable departure.

Such was the case this offseason when the Padres shipped Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox in exchange for a collection of prospects.

Other times general managers have to address team needs in an attempt to build a roster that has a realistic shot at a World Series Championship. Theo Epstein went this route in what many baseball minds would consider the most controversial and talked about trade in Red Sox history.

In an effort to originally reverse the curse, and since to remain a top power in baseball, the Red Sox have made several significant and brash deals since the turn of the millennium.

Here is how all those deals stack up in a ranking of the ten most important trades the Boston Red Sox have made since 2000.

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