Schilling was a lightning rod for attention during much of his career, and even after it. But he was also a fantastic pitcher, one of the last pitchers that can be deemed a “workhorse” in the mold of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s style of starter. His strikeout to walk ratio is the best of any pitcher from the 1980s onward, and he was a shutdown pitcher in the postseason.
It was Schilling who said “Why not us?” when the Boston Red Sox were facing elimination in the American League Championship Series in 2004, down 3 agmes to o to the New York Yankees. In Game Six of that series, Schilling pitched the famous “Bloody Sock” game, tossing seven innings of one run ball to even the series. He pitched into the 7th inning in 13 of his 19 postseason starts, posting a 2.23 ERA, striking out 120 while only walking 25 batters.
Schilling won three World Series titles (2001 Diamondbacks, 2004 and 2007 Red Sox), and also was the ace of the 1993 NL pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies. He actually pitched more games for the Phils than any other team, earning a place on the Phillies All-Time Team.
Slipped through the Astros hands
The Houston Astros had Schilling in spring training in 1992, testing him out as a starter after they had used the young righthander as a reliever the previous season. When he struggled in spring camp the Astros dealt him to the Phillies for young pitching prospect Jason Grimsley. Of course, Schilling prospered in Philadelphia, posting a 2.35 ERA and winning 14 games in his first season with the club. Grimsley never threw a pitch for Houston. The Astros felt pressured to deal Schilling because he was out of options and couldn’t be sent down to Triple-A.