Monday, April 1, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #10 CURT SCHILLING


POLITICS ASIDE, THE MAN COULD PITCH.




TRADED BY THE ASTROS FOR JASON GRIMSLEY 21 YEARS AGO.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Many will find writing about Curt Schilling on April Fools' Day fitting. Regardless, few filled the role "big-game pitcher'' as well. He was 11-2 in the postseason and part of three world championships, two with the Red Sox, who hadn't won squat 86 years prior. The ability to focus under pressure is a trait all players desire but few have. If Reggie Jackson was Mr. October, Schilling might have been the pitching counterpart.

FINEST MOMENT

  • Can there be any other than Oct. 19, 2004, when Schilling started and won Game 6 of the ALCS for the Red Sox with a right ankle tendon held together with bailing wire, duct tape and a little spit? Schill shut up and nutted up for seven innings of four-hit ball, allowing a run, as the Red Sox won 4-2 and moved to the brink of eliminating the Yankees and cap a historic 0-3 series comeback.

FINEST SEASON

  • In 2001 with the Diamondbacks, Schilling went 22-6, leading the NL in wins and finishing second in the Cy Young voting to teammate #154 Randy Johnson. Schilling had an 8.8 WAR, struck out 293 in 256.1 innings with a 2.98 ERA. Led by that two-headed monster at the top of the rotation, the Diamondbacks won the World Series.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Retired with a career postseason winning percentage of  .846, a major-league record for pitchers with at least 10 decisions. That, along with 3,116 career strikeouts, was not enough to be elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He received only 38.8 percent of the vote.
  2. His video game company, 38 Studios, went bankrupt last year, triggering a lawsuit from the state of Rhode Island, which forked over a $75 million loan because it was promised 450 jobs would be created by the end of the year.
  3. Began his career in the Red Sox organization and was traded, along with #71 Brady Anderson, to the Orioles in '88 for Mike Boddicker.
  4. Got his first taste of the postseason in '93, the year this card was released, with the Phillies. He was the NLCS MVP in the six-game victory over the defending NL champion Braves. In two starts, both no-decisions, Schilling had a 1.69 ERA and 19 strikeouts.
  5. In addition to finishing second in the Cy voting to Big Unit in '01, Schilling was runner-up to his teammate again the following year, when he won 23 more games and struck out 316 more batters. Schilling had an 8.7 WAR that year; Johnson's WAR in '01 and '02: 10.0 and 10.9.

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