But let's focus on Schilling here, and the reasons why we think he's high on that list. Curt Schilling has a total regular season Player Rating for his career of 282.056 (PEVA), #19 on the list of all-time career pitchers. Every pitcher who is eligible for the Hall of Fame who has a higher rating already has a plaque in Cooperstown. It's even above the 275 PEVA total that suggests first round ballot induction, although we think the fantastic year five years hence when Maddux, Mussina, and Schilling are all on the list together will be a fascinating vote. Either Mussina and/or Schilling might not make it in on the first ballot because of that. More about that career best list. Every eligible pitcher above 212 PEVA Career Player Rating is already in, except Bert Blylevin, and he should be.
See Best Pitchers Ever - Career for the list. You can download the full list of rankings for all pitchers in history there (pdf format).
And if you don't like to use counting career numbers, but are more focused on a per year basis, Curt Schilling is #34 (this list includes current pitchers with a total career PEVA over 100 whose Per Year Rating will likely fall toward the end of their careers) with a 14.103 PEVA Per Year Player Rating. Every HOF eligible pitcher with that level PEVA Per and above, except Tommy Bond, is already in the Hall of Fame as well. And Tommy Bond is only on the outside looking in because his career was only ten years long.
See Best Pitchers Ever - Career Per Year for the complete PEVA per year list.
Then there's the Postseason data that most point to as the major reason why Schilling should be in. Oh, and that's so good, it should tip the balance even if you don't think the above is quite good enough. Curt's 11-2 record in five postseasons and 133.3 Innings Pitched to the tune of a 2.23 ERA and three rings gave him the #4 ranking of Career Postseason pitchers with 12.443 Post PEVA Player Rating. (Post PEVA is @10% multiple of regular season totals for those unfamiliar with Post PEVA) But of course, that seems unfair, since unlike the regular season, pitchers have an uneven chance of participating. For all pitchers who have pitched in at least three postseasons, Schilling has the #5 best Per Postseason PEVA rating at 2.489. Who's above him. Try Bob Gibson, Josh Beckett, George Earnshaw, and Christy Mathewson. Rounding out the Top Ten with Curt, and you see other pretty famous folks; Carl Hubbell, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Sandy Koufax, Orel Hershiser, and Herb Pennock.
Still not convinced Schiling should be in. Take a look at the Best Pitching Seasons of All-Time. How does Curt stack up there? Well, he had two years in the Top 100. And how does that compare to his pitching peers? Greg Maddux 6, Randy Johnson 3, Pedro Martinez 4, Tom Glavine 0, Mike Mussina 0, Kevin Brown 2. See Best Pitcher Years Ever.
#91 - Schilling Curt 2002 ARI NL 23 7 W-L, 259.3 IP, 3.23 ERA
But how do you refute the buts?
Q - But he only had 216 wins over 20 seasons, that's pretty far away from 300.
A - Schilling pitched in an era that devalued wins, particularly in the second half of his career, with the ascendency in the role of relief pitcher thus pushing down win totals. But even with that, he compares well with HOF pitchers such as Jim Bunning (224 wins), Don Drysdale (209), Hal Newhouser (207), Dazzy Vance (197) and Whitey Ford (236).
Q - But that ERA's too high at 3.46. I don't want a pitcher in the HOF with an ERA approaching 3.50.
A - How would you have liked to face those steroid batters and the increase in Run Production during his period of pitching? How do you think some of the pitchers of the past would have fared. Plus pitchers like Robin Roberts (3.41 ERA), Phil Niekro (3.35), Early Wynn (3.54), and Dennis Eckersley (3.50) are pitchers already enshrined with an ERA in the same territory.
Q - But he didn't get going quick enough, so it's valid to say his counting stats not being higher is not just because of era, it's because he wasn't very good at the beginning of his career.
A - Curt Schilling had 14 wins with a 2.35 ERA over 236.3 innings when he was 26 years old and followed that up with 16 wins the next year. He lost out on those counting stats predominantly during the two year stretch after that when injury and the strike years cost him wins. But even with that, Schilling won 20 games three times during his career, had a PEVA Player Rating over 10.000 thirteen times, over 20.000 six times, and over 30.000 four times. And in those years, he was dominant, both in victories, strikeouts, postseason performance, and just look at his strikeout to walk ratios during those years, they were truly amazing for a pitcher with his power style profile.
Curt Schilling belongs in the Hall of Fame and we'd vote for him on the first ballot. We think he might miss out on that first year, but within the first five years, think the Baseball Writers will see him with merits and vote him in. And he's going to have a lot of pitching company in those years, plus Frank Thomas from the hitter's side. It'll be interesting to follow the election process five years from now. Interesting to see when, not if, Schilling, will be in. Here's one outsider's vote for Curt.