Career w/Phillies: 16591.1 IP / 101-78 / 3.35 ERA / 1554 K
On October 21, 1993, Curt Schilling became a star. The aggressive 26-year-old right-hander slayed the powerful Toronto Blue Jays batting order, defeating them 2-0 in game five of the World Series. This came after two solid seasons — a 1992 season where he finished with a dominant 2.35 ERA (fourth) and a 1993 campaign where he finished 16-7 with a 4.07 ERA. It was the game that launched a dominance many have not seen in baseball. But that dominance didn’t quite occur right away. For three seasons Schilling battled through injury while baseball battled through labor troubles. He still finished with respectable totals (18-23 with an ERA near 3.30), but what most astonished were his strikeout totals, which neared 200 by 1996. In 1997 he exploded, going the full year with a 17-11 record, a 2.97 ERA and 319 strikeouts, leading the league. In 1998 he recorded 300 strikeouts again, this time going 15-14 with a 3.25 ERA. Injuries slowed him in 1999, but Schilling still finished 15-6 with a 3.54 ERA and 152 Ks. In 2000 he was still doing his thing, but problems with management forced Schilling out of Philadelphia via trade. Though he extended his career by almost a decade, helping Arizona and Boston win championships with 20-win performances, he’ll remain a Phillie, first and foremost. Schilling became dominant as a Phillie, throwing some incredible games during his heyday.
Comment: Say what you will about Schilling’s character, but his pitching cannot be denied. He was a stone-cold dominator, annually a top 10 finisher in strikeouts, ERA and complete games, most times leading the league. He was the unquestionable ace of the Phillies during his career, and between Carlton and Hamels, no one was better. He just misses the top 10, but as Schilling might very well hit the Hall of Fame, placement at 12 seems justified.