Diamondbacks All-Time Top 10. #3: Curt Schilling


Curt Schilling

Acquired: 7/26/2000. Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee, and Vicente Padilla.
Career with AZ: 58-28, 3.14 ERA
Best year 2001: 23-6, 2.98 ERA
Records: None
Other facts: 2nd in ERA (3.14), wins (58), K's (875), complete games (18), shutouts (5).
Biggest moment: World Series co-MVP (with Randy Johnson) in 2001.
Departed: 11/28/2003. Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Boston Red Sox for Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa, and Michael Goss.

As we've learned since his departure for Boston, Schilling can be basically insufferable, often coming across as an arrogant, loud-mouthed SOB. Former manager Ed Wade once said, "Every fifth day, Curt has the opportunity to go out and be a horse on the mound. Unfortunately, on the other four days, he tends to say things which are detrimental to the club and clearly self-serving," and this is perhaps even more true when he's not playing for you - remember his "A-ring" comments after winning it all in Boston?

But is there any doubt that, while he was here, he was an absolutely critical part of the jigsaw which led to the World Series? Schilling was the first Alaskan-born player ever to pitch in the big leagues, but came to the desert from Philadelphia in July 2000, in exchange for four players. And even though their personalities were opposites, Schilling pushed the Big Unit to new heights, and in the process, brought his own pitching up there too.

The results were initially nothing spectacular: the rest of the year, he went only 5-6, with an ERA of 3.69. But in 2001, he forged a partnership with Johnson which is certainly among the greatest 1-2 punches in baseball history. The pair lost only 12 of the 69 games they started, with a combined ERA of 2.74. Schilling also took a no-hitter into the 8th inning against San Diego, before catcher Ben Davis laid down a bunt single.

Then, of course, there's the playoff run, where he started six times and threw three consecutive complete games. Overall, Schilling went 4-0, allowing only 25 hits and striking out 56 in 48.1 innings, while posting an ERA of 1.12. He even got a hit and scored a run against Atlanta. Schilling started Game 7: he did leave while trailing, but the magical ninth let him share MVP honours for the series with Johnson. [It's also worth noting that Schilling also won several off-field trophies, including the Roberto Clemente award, and his charity work brings well-deserved praise.]

The next year saw him almost as dominant: though his ERA went up, he won a career-high 23 games, and walked only 33 hitters in 259.1 innings, as he and the Big Unit became the first pair of aces to fan 300 hitters each in the same season for the same team. He was just as strong in the post-season, allowing one run over seven innings, but only got one start as we were swept by the Cardinals, thanks largely to Arizona batting .184.

2003, however, was shortened by a broken finger on his pitching hand and appendicitis, and Schilling departed at the end of that year for pastures new in Boston. What we got in that trade has not lived up to expectations, and the deal now seems as much a salary dump as anything else. Although subsequent events may have soured fans somewhat on Schilling, he is undeniably the second-best pitcher ever to put on a Diamondback uniform - and on almost any other team would have been #1.

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