ESPN MLB analyst Curt Schilling was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1992 through 2000. (Photo credit: Jim Gund/Getty Images)
This Sunday, Aug. 4, the Philadelphia Phillies will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1993 National League Champion team, which included ESPN MLB analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk. In addition, Schilling will be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in a ceremony tonight at Citizens Bank Park’s Ashburn Alley. The ceremony will be live streamed at 6:50 p.m. ET on MLB.com.
Schilling spent nearly a decade with the Phillies from 1992 through 2000 and was the first Phillies right-hander to collect 300 strike outs in a season (1997, 1998). He was also the first Phillies pitcher to win an NLCS MVP Award and toss a postseason shutout, both in 1993.
Schilling spent a few minutes with Front Row this week to reflect on what the induction means and share his favorite memories of his time with the Phillies.
What does this induction mean to you?
I grew up as a baseball fan so I understand history and tradition. When you are talking about being honored like this from an organization as old as the Phillies are, with as rich a history as they have – Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts and Larry Bowa – it’s an honor, especially when you consider the time in which I was there and how little we actually did. We went to one World Series in the years I was there so that’s disappointing; but this is very special and very meaningful.
What stands out most about that 1993 team and the NLCS victory over the Braves, in particular?
It was unique, especially in the 20 years since, when you look at the diverse personalities on that club and how unbelievably different we were. We didn’t all get along and we didn’t all like each other but at 7:05 p.m. we were the closest team I’d ever been on. That was a special group. The coaches were as much a part of that team as the players. It was an old school brand of coaching and a very old school team. From the first week of spring training, we had an attitude – an air about us – and we carried it through the whole year. It was fun to be a part of it. And in that NLCS, I remember being enormously the underdog. No one expected us to be part of that series and to compete with Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Steve Avery. After Game 1, the tables were turned. All the pressure was on them because we knew we could play with them. It was affirmation of what we believed the whole year.
Talk about the role of your then-teammate and current colleague, John Kruk, on that team?
He can hit, all jokes aside. There was a lot of punch lines and humor around what he did and how he acted. A lot of it he created himself. At the end of the day, the man can handle the bat and he can hit. He was an incredible athlete for not being your traditional guy physically but he played the game at a different level. He was one of the premiere offensive players in the game. If you look at him, he was a sabermetrician’s dream before it existed. He knew how to hit and he knew how to get on base.
Sunday Night Baseball will be in Philadelphia this weekend with the Phillies hosting the Atlanta Braves at 8 p.m. Kruk will join Orel Hershiser, Dan Shulman and Buster Olney for commentary. Baseball Tonight begins at 7 p.m. to preview the game with Schilling and Hakem Dermish.