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Curt Schilling and the blockbuster trade

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Thanks to big trades, Curt Schilling is a baseball hero in three cities. (USATSI)
Thanks to big trades, Curt Schilling is a baseball hero in three cities. (USATSI)

MORE: The Hall of Fame case for and against Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling, despite his promise and eventual greatness, was traded five times in his career -- three times before the age of 25. It's indeed rare for such a Hall of Fame-caliber talent to be shipped off so many times, but that was indeed the case for the big, strike-throwing right-hander. So on the occasion of his Hall of Fame examination in this space, let's take a look back at those big trades of which Schilling was a central part ...

July 29, 1988: Red Sox trade Schilling and Brady Anderson to Orioles for Mike Boddicker

The Sox originally drafted Schilling out of Yavapai College with the 39th-overall pick of the January 1986 draft. At the time he was traded two-and-a-half years later, Schilling was coming off a somewhat disappointing stretch in the Eastern League -- a stretch that saw his command numbers decline significantly relative to his performance in the low minors.

As for this deadline trade, Anderson would go on to hit 209 homers, steal 307 bases and be a three-time All-Star in 14 seasons for the O's. Boddicker, meantime, was a useful starter for the Sox for two-and-a-half seasons before opting for free agency in November of 1990. Needless to say, Boston would like a do-over. Imagine Schilling as a Boston lifer ...

January 10, 1991: Orioles trade Schilling, Steve Finley and Pete Harnisch to Astros for Glenn Davis

From the Baltimore standpoint, this turned out to be one of the worst deals in franchise history. Schilling in 1990 was converted into a reliever by the Orioles, which may explain why they didn't value him appropriately. Finley would have ahead of him 299 home runs and five Gold Gloves, and Harnisch would be an above-average starting pitcher for most of the next 11 seasons. All that for Davis, who tallied 166 home runs before the trade but just 24 after it.

April 2, 1992: Astros trade Schilling to Phillies for Jason Grimsley

Schilling remained a reliever with control problems for his one season in Houston, so the Astros at the start of the '92 season dealt him to Philly for ... a reliever with control problems. Grimsley would spend all of 1992 struggling in the PCL before being released in the spring of '93. He'd later go on to a career of some note and then a bit of scandal. The Phillies returned Schilling to the rotation, and he rewarded their faith by giving them 101 wins and a 3.35 ERA across parts of nine seasons. All that for Grimsley.

July 26, 2000: Phillies trade Schilling to Diamondbacks for Omar Daal, Travis Lee, Nelson Figueroa and Vicente Padilla

Schilling was still a very good starting pitcher when the Phils dealt him to the Diamondbacks, but in Arizona he'd reach new heights. In four seasons in the desert, Schilling would yield the following numbers: 58 wins, 28 losses, 148 ERA+, 875 strikeouts, 114 unintentional walks, 781 2/3 innings. In a world in which teammate Randy Johnson didn't exist, Schilling would've won a pair of Cy Youngs with Arizona.

As for Philly's return package, the best you can say is that they got a couple of quality seasons out of Padilla.

November 28, 2003: Diamondbacks trade Schilling to Red Sox for Jorge De La Rosa, Brandon Lyon, Casey Fossum and Michael Goss

All good things must end, and so it was with Schilling's exceptional run in Arizona. In Boston, Schilling finished second in the AL Cy Young balloting in 2004 and of course made the legendary "bloody sock" start in the ALCS. Overall, he'd go 53-29 in Sox uniform and be a critical member of the 2004 and 2007 championship squads.

On the Arizona side of the ledger, Goss never made the majors, Lyon cobbled together a vaguely solid career, and Fossum wound up with a career ERA of 5.45. As for De La Rosa, he was later a part of the trade that brought Richie Sexson to the Diamondbacks for a brief time.

The lesson in all of this? Don't trade Curt Schilling.

 
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