Debate Schilling's HOF chances with Jayson Stark

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Welcome to The Show! On Monday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop by at 1 p.m. ET for another installment of "That's Debatable," a weekly feature in which we break down a hot topic you have suggested.

Monday's topic, courtesy of Nelson from Portland:

"There's only one logical question for this week. Is Curt Schilling a Hall of Famer? I am a huge Sox fan and big Schill supporter. However, I have to say no. The numbers just are not there."

On a November morning five years from now, the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot will show up in my mailbox. And on that ballot, I'll find the kind of name that makes Hall voting so rewarding--and so impossible:

Curt Schilling.

Nelson from Portland says he isn't Hall of Fame worthy. Me? I'm not so sure of that. So let's take a look at Schilling's fascinating Hall of Fame credentials.

THE CASE AGAINST


If you base your Hall decisions just on the old wins column, you won't vote for this man. That seems obvious. His 216 wins are 72 fewer than Tommy John, 71 fewer than Bert Blyleven and 38 fewer than Jack Morris. And none of those guys had a plaque last time I checked.

For that matter, if Schilling has thrown his last pitch, he'll also wind up with fewer wins than Joe Niekro (221) or Dennis Martinez (245). And neither of those guys even made it to a second year on the ballot. So clearly, that's what Nelson is referring to when he says "The numbers just are not there."

THE CASE FOR


Ah, but it depends which numbers you're looking at. And I looked at bunch of other numbers--numbers that rank all righthanded starters from 1992, the year Schilling first moved into the starting rotation in Philadelphia, through 2007, the year he apparently threw his final pitch in Boston. Here's what I found:

Schilling not only led all of them in complete games (with 83), but only one other righthander in the whole sport (Greg Maddux) was closer than 25 CGs away. Just Pedro Martinez had a better strikeout ratio than Schilling (8.59 K/9). Only Pedro and Roger Clemens had more strikeouts than Schilling (3,116) , period. Just Pedro and Maddux had a better WHIP than Schilling (1.137). And nobody had a better strikeout-walk ratio. In fact, Schilling's K/BB ratio (4.38 whiffs for every walk) ranks No. 1 among ALL PITCHERS IN THE MODERN ERA.

So how compelling are those numbers? And I haven't even mentioned October yet--the month in which he did his finest work of all.

THE VERDICT


I'll be honest about this, because I know people will issue of it: I like Curt Schilling. I've known him a long time. And I covered him when he was at his best. But that's not why I'd vote for him.

I'd vote for him because I don't know how anyone could argue he was NOT one of the most dominating pitchers of his time, or that he was not one of the great money pitchers of ALL time.

But I certainly don't expect him to sail on into the Hall of Fame without sweating it out for years. And I know not everyone will agree with me that he deserves to get in at all. But that's what we're here for. So let the debate begin.


Every week, we'll give you the topic and then we'll have one of our writers stopping by to debate the issue with you. To suggest a topic for "That's Debatable," go here. Or check out the full archive.

Stark Archive: Chats | Columns

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