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Curt Schilling explains why, if elected, he’d like to go into HOF as a Diamondback

Curt Schilling spent his peak with the Diamondbacks. (Dilip Vishwanat/TSN/Icon SMI)

Curt Schilling is one of the rare Hall of Fame candidates that you could make a case for being most associated with three different teams, which creates an interesting dilemma if the six-time All-Star is ever elected to baseball’s most prestigious museum.

Recent inductees Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina — who each played for two teams during their excellent careers — went into the Hall of Fame with blank caps. Schilling is probably the perfect candidate to go in with a blank cap, but that wouldn’t make for an especially interesting discussion. 

In fact, Schilling says that if he had his preference, he would like to go in as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, rather than the Boston Red Sox or Philadelphia Phillies. He recently explained to Rob Maaddi of Faith On The Field why that’s the case.

“A couple of reasons [led to that decision.] No. 1, the ownership of Boston is comprised of some very, very bad human beings that on the way out of baseball did things to myself and my family that I’ll never forget. I forgave them, but I’ll never forget it. And unfortunately, it severely tainted my experience. My experience here ending should have been one of immense joy, given what we were able to accomplish in the four or five years that I spent here. And it didn’t, because of what they did.

“And if you take Boston out of the picture, you look at where I probably made the ascension if you believe I’m a Hall of Famer, it was in Arizona. I grew up there … I spent most of my life there … and I think that for two years, what Randy [Johnson] and I were and did has never, ever been equaled in the game. So that was home.

“It was obviously Philadelphia or Arizona, if Boston is out. I don’t think I was nearly as good in Philadelphia consistently — I was hurt a lot. But it just came down to that. It had nothing to do with [Philadelphia]. Mr. [Bill] Giles and his family, we were always very close. The fans in Philadelphia were sooo good to me, and so good to my family. I’ll be forever indebted to them. But Arizona just felt like the right thing.

“And I mean, there’s a lot of Phillies in the Hall of Fame if you look at the Phillie Wall, and rightfully so. And Arizona, I was part of the first World Championship team in any sport in the state that I grew up in. So that was kind of how that came about.”

Schilling spent the largest chunk of his career with the Phillies, winning 101 games over parts of nine years with the Phillies, following forgettable early-career stints with the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros. But outside of reaching the World Series in 1993, Schilling was never part of a winning season as a Phillie, despite putting together one of the best two-year stints in franchise history between 1997 and 1998.

But Schilling is right, the absolute peak of his career came during the three-and-a-half years that he spent with the Diamondbacks. Between 2001 and 2002, Schilling went 45-13, posting a 3.10 ERA, 2.75 FIP and 16.5 fWAR. In both years, Schilling finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting, runner-up to his teammate, the aforementioned Johnson. Schilling and Johnson — a first-ballot Hall of Famer — were co-MVPs when the Diamondbacks defeated the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series, winning a title in just the franchise’s fourth season of existence.

There also are quite a few people that remember Schilling for his four seasons with the Red Sox. Before Schilling went to Boston, the franchise hadn’t won a World Series in 86 years. They would win two in Schilling’s four years with the team. He finished second in American League Cy Young Award voting in 2004, and his “bloody sock” game in Game 6 of the ALCS that year is one of the most iconic performances in MLB history.

In the end, the Baseball Hall of Fame — not the player or BBWAA — makes the decision on what hat each electee will wear on their plaque in Cooperstown.

They seemingly were willing to honor the request of the late-Halladay’s family for his plaque not to only honor one of his two teams, despite the fact that he spent 12 years of his 16-season career with the Toronto Blue Jays.

However, the Hall of Fame doesn’t always go with what a player and/or his family wants. For example, Andre Dawson‘s Hall of Fame plaque features him wearing a Montreal Expos cap, despite his wish to be wearing a Chicago Cubs hat.

It’s possible that if Schilling is ever elected to the Hall of Fame, an already ugly process will continue as the museum decides whether or not to honor his wish to wear a Diamondbacks cap on his plaque.

All of this, of course, assumes that Schilling is ever elected to the Hall of Fame, which increasingly is in question. One of the great postseason pitchers in MLB history appeared to be knocking on the door last cycle, when he received 71.1% of the vote, just shy of the 75% threshold. However, after asking to be removed from the ballot, Schilling has already lost 12 votes from writers who voted for him a year ago. 2022 will be his 10th and final year on the ballot.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. pamikeydc

    January 1, 2022 at 11:50 pm

    Stupid. I never knew theHall decided their hat. Wow!! And who cares if he goes in as a philly.

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