Schilling praises newly retired Big Unit
Former teammate of Johnson offers kind words on blog
BOSTON -- Three years before the lore of the "bloody sock," Curt Schilling teamed with Randy Johnson to upend the Yankees in the 2001 World Series, one of the most memorable Fall Classics of all time.
Schilling and Johnson were teammates with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2000-03.
"The greatest power pitcher in the game's history retired yesterday," Schilling wrote on his blog, www.38pitches.com, on Wednesday. "Think about that: greatest ever ... I had the honor of being in the same rotation as RJ for a little over three years and I can say, without a doubt, that there is no way I'd have achieved what I did then, or afterwards, were it not for him. Randy pushed me in ways I never thought possible, and made things happen I knew I'd never see again."
Though Schilling -- who retired from the Majors last March -- and Johnson both had plenty of dominant seasons, they were at their peak together for those years in Arizona.
"The Major Leagues is the best of the best," wrote Schilling. "There is no '5A,' no league above it. When someone in the big leagues is so good he makes competition look amateur, it's saying something. There were nights, like when he punched out 20 vs. Cincy, when RJ was a man amongst boys.
"It's a cliche used far too often, and often not applicable in the cases it is used, but he was just that. Like [Michael] Jordan in his prime, Tiger [Woods] on a roll, [Roger] Federer, Pele, [Wayne] Gretzky, all of them, RJ was every bit as dominant and more so at times, than any of them."
While Johnson won't be eligible for the Hall of Fame until 2015, Schilling has no doubt about the lefty's legacy.
"He should go down as the most dominating power pitcher, certainly the most dominant left-hander, of all time, and I'm proud to say I was part of a team he played on that brought home the first world championship in any sport to Arizona," Schilling said. "Add to that his wonderful wife Lisa, who provided so many things we athletes need and the public misses, that moral support at home and the ability to raise our children while we're off 'playing a game,' for without that pillar of strength at home, we could never achieve what we do."
In conclusion, Schilling wrote, "God Bless and Congratulations on a first ballot, 100 [percent] unanimous Hall of Fame Career RJ, it was an honor to watch."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.