Schilling vs. Mussina

In the wake of #38′s retirement, Jason compares the Hall of Fame candidacies of Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling.

I haven’t analyzed it — mostly because I have close to zero in the way of analysis skills — but I tend to think that they’re both Hall-worthy, with Schilling being the better player overall. His peak years were better than Moose’s, his strikeout and ERA advantage likely made a big difference in how his teams had to use bullpens, etc.

My guess is that the voters will come to the same conclusion (i.e. Schilling before Mussina) but may base it more on bloody socks, straight talk, and an unfair degradation of Mussina’s postseason record. Which leads to the “is it OK to do the right thing for the wrong reasons” conversation, but I’m too medicated to tackle that at the moment.

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Comments

  1. kranky kritter said...

    It’s all a bit blurred by the many years each guy spent on poor and mediocre teams.

    Mussina IMO was for the most part not nearly as good in NY as he was in Baltimore, but those results are concealed a bit by the disparity in the comparative quality of the teams. Guys like Clemens and Mussina seemed to me to be less challenged as Yankees than they were when pitching for other teams.

    Schilling was a real shutdown guy for many years, and I never got quite that impression from Mussina during his Yankee years. As a Red Sox fan, I was pretty concerned when the Yankees got him, and my impression was that he did not have the level of positive impact on the Yankees that I had feared he would. He was a very fine pitcher, but not an “oh, no not this guy” pitcher. And I’m happy to acknowledge that there’s plenty to be said for his body of work as a whole.

    I find myself at a bit of a loss trying to judge hall-worthiness for #1 starters with 200ish wins, probably because I consider won-loss record such an incomplete proxy for pitching caliber. I tend to give more credence to the feeling that a given pitcher provoked in his opponents. When pitcher x has a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning, did his opponents think “we have no shot until we get him out?”

    Hallworthiness is certainly debatable, but leaving the drawing of that particular line aside, I think it’s fair to note that there’s an inner circle of the very best starters who had an extended period of dominance where they were as close to sure things as it got for SP. During the era now coming to a close, I think that Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, and Roger Clemens go on that list. And probably others I’ve missed. I think Schilling maybe goes there too. Mussina gave that vibe when he was an Oriole, but as a Yankee I never felt he gave it off.

  2. Timmy said...

    I discussed this some yesterday on Braves-Nation.com.

    We noticed something interesting…

    Curt Schilling, 216 Wins, 127 ERA+, 3116 Ks
    John Smoltz, 210 Wins, 127 ERA+, 3110 Ks
    Kevin Brown, 211 Wins, 127 ERA+, 2397 Ks

    Three guys with staggeringly similar numbers; except Smoltz has 150+ saves on top of that.  It’s interesting that Kevin Brown has been virtually forgotten.  He wasn’t really relevant long enough, but the numbers he put up nearly match Schilling’s.  I was just looking at Brown’s 96, and he basically got screwed out of the CYA due to run support he finished second going 17-11 with a 1.89 ERA.

  3. MooseinOhio said...

    I think what may get Schilling in is his post-season record as the body of work is missing the requisite hardware and wins that Smoltz, Maddux and Martinez have.  However when you factor in his incredible success in the playoff and the feel good story of 2004 he gets a bump that Mussina can’t get.  Neither Schilling or Kevin Brown were beloved by the media but again Schilling gets the nod over Brown for more post-season glory and the 2004 story.

  4. MooseinOhio said...

    I think what may get Schilling in is his post-season record as the body of work is missing the requisite hardware and wins that Smoltz, Maddux and Martinez have.  However when you factor in his incredible success in the playoff and the feel good story of 2004 he gets a bump that Mussina can’t get.  Neither Schilling or Kevin Brown were beloved by the media but again Schilling gets the nod over Brown for more post-season glory and the 2004 story.

  5. carl said...

    Brown and Schilling are an interesting comparison.  Both had health issues late (most pitchers do, of course).  Both got a late start at being great (both had good seasons in their 20’s, but it was around age 30 that they turned it on).  And both had great seasons in leagues with better pitchers, so never won a Cy Young.

    In one sense, they don’t belong – the HOF pitchers of their generation are Roger, RJ, Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz and, probably, Pedro.  On the other hand, a 30 team league has room for more than 8 HOF starters over 20 years… doesn’t it?

  6. blah blah blah said...

    ERA+
    Mussina: 123
    Glavine: 118

    Put Mussina in the NL East all those years and he likely gets 300 wins and automatic enshriment.  Glavine deserves to get in, but he’s not on the same level as Pedro and Maddux.

  7. 4train said...

    To mooseinohio brags about Schillings postseason
    record to push him over th top.El Duque’s postseason exploits(8-0)at one point and possibly
    saving the “98” season,125-50 that almost lost to a strong Indian team up 2-1 at home.Back to the dominant pitchers of the last 20 years you can’t leave David Cone out either.

  8. kranky kritter said...

    Yup, gotta be kidding with probly Pedro. Not to start a food fight. but while Pedro didn’t tally the volume of wins of the other guys, he was the Koufax of this generation.

    For 5 or 6 years straight he was utterly as close to a sure thing as there ever was among SP. As good as all those other guys were, he was on his own planet during that time. Maybe him and the unit.

  9. ditmars1929 said...

    Mussina and Schilling both belong in the Hall of Very Good, not the Hall of Fame.  And just to stir up trouble, I’ll also assert that if you consider those two for the HOF, good for you, but not before Blyleven and Kaat get in.

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