Games of Note: It's Game Two of the 2004 World Series, featuring the Boston Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals. Curt Schilling, who started Game Six of the ALCS, bloody sock and all, takes the mound. This makes him the first pitcher ever to start for three different teams in the World Series. Previously, Schilling had also started for the Phillies (1993) and the Diamondbacks (2001).
Schilling's regular season career is impressive enough for eventual enshrinement in Cooperstown, but his playoff record could very likely seal the deal for many. Normally, you would think someone was overstating the case if they claimed playoff performance gave a player that extra boost needed to get into the Hall of Fame, but Schilling was ridiculous:
|5 Yrs (12 Series)||2.23||19||133.1||525||0.968||7.0||0.8||1.7||8.1||4.80|
A career 2.23 ERA over 12 different series, spanning 15 seasons in which the league -- and Schilling -- changed greatly? That's fantastic, and is almost a whole season's worth of work on its own, even without mentioning the suturing of his ankle that led to the famous bloody sock.
Jumping ahead to the other Boston World Series that Schilling pitched well in, it's Game One of the 2007 championship round. The Red Sox are taking on the Colorado Rockies, and Dustin Pedroia is leading off for the Red Sox. Not for very long, though, as he drives a homer to give Boston the early lead, and become the second player -- and first rookie -- to lead off the World Series with the long ball.
Transactions: Dwight Evans was released by the Red Sox on this day in 1990. Evans had played 19 seasons with the Red Sox, compiling a .272/.369/.473 line with them over that time. He was also one of the great defensive players of Fenway's right field, and, this isn't the homer in me talking, should be a Hall of Famer. Evans was always overshadowed by someone else, though, regardless of how good he was: in the 70s it was Rice, Lynn, and Fisk. In the 80s, Boggs, Greenwell... Evans, as great as he was, never got his due. If he had, there would be another number hanging from the right field roof at Fenway.
Birthdays: Former Red Sox pitcher Ken Ryan turns 44 today. The Pawtucket-born pitcher went to high school in Massachusetts, and was signed as an amateur free agent in 1986. He debuted with Boston in 1992, and pitched for the Sox through the 1995 season. Ryan, along with Lee Tinsley, was sent to Philadelphia in the Heathcliff Slocumb deal before the 1996 campaign.
Ryan was productive with Boston, throwing 137 innings over parts of four seasons, and posting a 132 ERA+ in the process. He would pitch with Philly for another four seasons, with only one of those nearly as good as his cumulative Boston work.
Death Days: He never played for the Red Sox (through no fault of his own, but that's a story for another day), but his number is retired in Boston just the same. On this day in 1972, Jackie Robinson passed away at the age of 53. Robinson broke the color line instituted decades earlier, but should be remembered for his fantastic play as well. He was a Hall of Famer for both his play and the fact he persevered to play, and this makes him an important piece of history not just for baseball, but for a country that took longer to solve integration than a simple game did. (Despite the protests of a certain Red Sox owner, but again -- story for another day.)