Curt Schilling Finally Speaks About His Retirement

March 25, 2009 – 4:56 pm by Jimmy Shapiro

Was it on ESPN TV/Radio? No.  How about Fox Sportsnet or Fox Sports Radio? No?  Jim Rome?  No.  Dan Patrick? No.  Oprah?  No. 

How about with Adam Sessler?  Who?  Adam frigging Sessler.   He’s the editor-in-chief of G4 which is a website for video game nerds like Curt Schilling.  Curt and Adam are in San Francisco at GDC (Game Developers Conference) and Adam is the first person to have a chance to ask Schilling about his retirement.  He released the news about his retirement on his website www.38Pitches.com and has done something he didn’t do his whole career, avoided the media.

Curt Schilling is one of the most polarizing sports figures in my lifetime.  He elicits a response from everyone that’s a sports fan.  His retirement has sparked debates on every major website about whether or not Curt belongs in the Hall of Fame and how he will be remembered.

Curt had me at hello.  I was a midday sports radio host in Phoenix when he was traded from my hometown Phillies to the D’Backs.  He was there for maybe two weeks when an article by Pedro Gomez (then of the Arizona Republic and now of ESPN TV) ripped Buck Showalter basically saying the team hated him and his overly disciplinarian ways.  It was a topic on my show for about 45 minutes when my producer said into our headsets that Curt Schilling is on a mobile and wants to refute Pedro’s column.  He called up radio shows before in Philly and really became known for this later on during his time in Boston. 

The thing I loved most about it was I always knew that most athletes listen to sports radio.  The majority of them are full of crap when they say they don’t.  Many of them actually have their entourages and other spies listening to sports radio to see what’s said about them.  It’s no different than an actor or director reading reviews about their movie.  Schilling was different because he actually admitted he listened to sports radio and would start healthy debates with the host.  It just humanized Schilling to me. 

Yes, Schilling could alienate teammates by not abiding by the clubhouse code (see towel over head in World Series when Mitch Williams was pitching) and be a bit political with the media.  I don’t condone either one of those, but the positives far outweight the negatives for me when it comes to Curt Schilling.

There’s not even a shadow of a doubt in my mind that Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer.  Jayson Stark sums it up best.  Plus, his performances in the post-season have to be taken into consideration.  There have been pitchers with better career stats than Curt Schilling, but in a game 7 of the World Series, Schilling is the guy you want from his generation.  Check out the post-season numbers (W-L and ERA) below of six future Hall of Famers (although Clemens probably won’t make it) and Curt Schilling during their careers.  Only John Smoltz is worthy of an argument to start over Schilling.

Curt Schilling   11 2 2.33
Greg Maddux   11 14 3.28
Roger Clemens   12 8 3.79
Randy Johnson   7 9 3.49
Pedro Martinez   6 2 3.39
Tom Glavine   14 16 3.31
John Smoltz   15 4 2.67

Ok, I had to get my say in on Schilling.  Now back to the interview.  It was mostly video game geek talk which went way over my head, but he did say some stuff about his retirement.  Also, a special hat tip to WEEI in Boston and G4TV.

On why he retired this week:

“We had decided awhile back and it just felt like the right thing to do.  I was leaving Boston to come to San Francisco to do GDC so I figured I was going to be out of town for a week and that might be the best, most opportune time to get away from everything and not have to deal with the phone ringing off the hook.  It was just a natural fit.”

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