Posts Tagged ‘Curt Schilling’

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Curt Schilling

Schilling backSchilling frontI find the back of this card uber-confusing. Let me try to follow the logic: Nolan Ryan, while in the AL, once struck out 300+ batters in five of six seasons. Curt Schilling became the first pitcher in the NL to K 300 in back-to-back seasons. However, J. R. Richard, Sandy Koufax and Rube Waddell also struck out 300 men in back-to-back seasons. Koufax and Richard did it in the National League. Clearly the back of this card is a little off in the description.

Nevertheless, it’s pretty impressive what Schilling did. In 1997, he struck out 319 batters, in 1998, he struck out 300, in 2001, he struck out 293 and in 2002, he struck out 316. With a few more Ks here and there, he could have done the feat twice. Of course, if he missed one strike-out in 1998, the back of this card would read more coherently.

To strikeout 300 batters is a rare thing, something that has only happened 26 times in the history of the senior circuit. Schilling has three of those seasons. I actually feel like the bloody sock feat downplays the amazing career that Schilling had. According to Baseball Reference, he has the 28th highest WAR, ahead of the likes of Tom Glavine, Bob Feller, Don Drysdale, Jim Palmer, Whitey Ford, Sandy Koufax, and Roy Halladay. Quite simply, Schilling was a power pitcher who finished with the 15th most Ks (3,116) in major league history.

In many ways, it was fitting that Schilling retired as a Boston Red Sox. After all, they were the team that drafted him in the second round of the 1986 draft. They then traded him along with Brady Anderson to the Baltimore Orioles for Mike Boddicker. The Orioles then traded him, Steve Finely and Pete Harnisch to the Houston Astros for Glen Davis. After going 3-5 with a 3.81 ERA but 1.56 WHIP for the Astros in 1991, they traded him to the Phillies for Jason Grimsley. In 1992, Schilling went 14-11 with a 2.35 ERA and 0.99 WHIP (which lead the league).

As an Orioles fan, there is a lot of grief surrounding Schilling. I’m happy to know that Red Sox fans, now, have only joy associated with his career.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Mike Boddicker

boddicker backboddicker frontFinally, we get to a Baltimore Oriole. I have a number in my queue to write about (Jim Traber, Nick Markakis, Cal Ripken, etc.), but we’ll turn to Mike Boddicker first, a player who was name-dropped in the first Flip Side column – 47 columns ago.

This is another occupation I guessed completely wrong on (wait for the Ed Wojna post). I assumed a grain elevator operator was someone who manually operated the elevator that moves grain along the process (very technical analysis, I know). Apparently, my knowledge from Witness is not accurate, as a grain elevator operator “buys grain from farmers, either for cash or at a contracted price, and then sells futures contracts for the same quantity of grain, usually each day” (Wikipedia). So, basically, Mike Boddicker was the grain version of Billy Ray Valentine (who traded in orange juice), making him a maize salesman of sorts, not odd for someone who grew up in Iowa.

Of course, he’d leave that all behind in 1978 when the Orioles chose him in the 6th round of the draft. He’d make short work of the minor leagues and appear in the Bigs in 1980 at 22. He’d be up for good in 1983 at age 25. He enjoyed two awesome seasons to start his career, posting a 2.77 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in ’83 and a 2.79 ERA (which lead the league) and 1.14 WHIP in 1984. He averaged just 0.7 HRs per nine IPs, 220 innings and 124 Ks across those seasons.

Given his weak K-total, it isn’t surprising to see him vastly outperform his FIP in ’83 and ’84 (3.57 and 3.23, respectively). In addition, he benefited from pretty decent BAbips (.250 & .243) and strand rates (73.2% and 76.9%). He would never reach those heights of variance again. His best ERA after ’84 would be 3.36 in 1990.

Of course, he still had some juice from those early bouts of greatness in ’83 and ’84 – enough to help the Orioles deal Boddicker to the Boston Red Sox for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling in 1990. That was not a good year for Red Sox trades, as they also dealt Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson. It is possible that the Sox traded two future Hall of Famers and one PED Hall of Famer for two fringy arms.

Unfortunately, the Orioles wouldn’t wait on Schilling to mature. In what can only be major karmic payback for the Frank Robinson trade, the Orioles would send Schilling, Pete Harnish and Steve Finley to the Houston Astros for Glenn Davis. So, in the matter of two years, the Astros somehow turned an average pitcher and decent first basemen (with a severely failing back) into two Hall of Famers and two long-term major league regulars…the early ’90s were not kind to the Orioles/Red Sox.

While Boddicker should be known as the guy who brought Anderson and Schilling to Baltimore, his career wasn’t devoid of achievement. He is tied with two others for the 38th most put-outs by a pitcher in MLB history with 245. Greg Maddux leads with 510. Not surprisingly, Boddicker also has the 5th best season in terms of most put-outs in MLB history — 49 — in 1984. As with the Orwell novel, it didn’t get much better than 1984 for Mike Boddicker.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson

So, I bought a ton of Topps 1987 Cello unopened packs recently. At first glance, I was pretty happy with what I had gotten (Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken and many others). It wasn’t until I turned the cards over and looked through the information there that I understood just what a goldmine I had hit. Put simply, these things are hilarious.

The first card I looked at was Mike Boddicker.  Did you know that “Mike has worked as a grain elevator operator?” Neither did I. The same guy who was traded for Brady Anderson AND Curt Schilling back in the day was once a grain elevator operator! This discovery got me intrigued and so I went ahead and looked through all the cards and found some very interesting tidbits.

The first Wacky Look Back will be Howard Johnson:

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Apparently, in 1985, Howard Johnson entered and dominated (well co-dominated) a rib-eating contest among professional athletes.

Obviously, the biggest question is left unanswered: HOW MANY RIBS DID HE PUT DOWN!?!? And who all was involved? Was Cecil Fielder involved? I’d guess not because he wasn’t a rookie until 1987. If Fielder wasn’t involved, does his co-crown count? Were there football players involved? If so, any lineman? Joe Montana? And perhaps most importantly, are they still doing this now? Does ESPN broadcast it? Looking at HoJo’s picture, I can’t help but think that he probably would have won that crown outright if he’d had Keith Hernandez-esque facial hair. That sucker would have sopped up a ton of BBQ sauce.

Anyway, I think this is a fantastic tidbit to put on HoJo’s career. A former first-round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in 1979 he made an auspicious debut in 1982 as a 21-year-old. He hit .316 in 54 games. He wouldn’t reach similar success again until 1987, in his third season with the Mets. His career profiles very similar to Eric Chavez – I imagine HoJo will be remembered more fondly. I already do because he ate ribs, not injured them.

What do you think of this article? Did you enjoy? Has anyone else done this? Let me know if I should continue. More importantly, what do you think of the title?

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