All Things Baseball

Old Aces Resurrected — Part 1 of 2-part series (see: Young Arms Stealing the Show)

Last season, the starting-pitching aces of the 1990’s looked all but finished.  Tom Glavine, Curt Schilling, and Kenny Rogers seemed to be in decline.  Each was pitching poorly, partly because their “stuff” was disappearing with age, and partly (at least in Kenny Rogers’ case) because they were more frustrated with each failed outing, knowing they were nearing the end of their careers.  Whatever these three did over the offseason has resurrected all of them former stars back to elite status.   

Tom Glavine (NY Mets) is the Major League leader in wins, sporting a record of 11-2 with a 3.34ERA, and 75K’s in 107.2 innings.  A good part of the Mets’ success this season has been due to a deep pitching staff which the team lacked in previous years.  Glavine’s resurrection to his form of a decade ago has been a large contribution to the pitching staff and he has given the Mets a quality start and a chance to win nearly every time he has taken the mound.  His last Cy Young award came in 1998, and if Glavine continues his pace toward 24 wins and a sub-3.50ERA, he just might win one at the ripe old age of 40.

Curt Schilling had a dismal 2005 campaign, bouncing around from starter to closer to middle-relif and back to the starting rotation because of the Red Sox pitching woes and his own struggles.  His first half of 2006 has been the exact opposite of 2005, as Schilling is 9-2 with a 3.54ERA entering today’s game (which he is scheduled to start).  The 1-2 punch of Schilling and Josh Beckett has propelled the Red Sox to the top of the AL East, and if Schilling wins today, the Red Sox will join the Detroit Tigers as the only team with two 10-game winners. 

Coincidentally, the Tigers have the third resurrected starter in Kenny Rogers.  Inconsistent starts, fights with cameramen, punching anything and everything in the dugout; that was the story of Kenny Rogers’ 2005 season.  His change has been Texas-sized, as Kenny Rogers is 10-3 with a 3.44ERA this season.  Combined with rookie Justin Verlander (10-4 with a 3.13ERA), who is 18 years his junior, Rogers has been a big part of the Tigers amazing start to 2006, and their unexpected rise to the top of the AL Central, a division everyone expected the ChiSox and Indians to dominate. 

Tom Glavine, Curt Schilling, and Kenny Rogers have been familiar faces on the pitchers mound for nearly 20 years.  Every Braves fan will remember the 1-2 combination of Glavine and Maddux; every Red Sox fan will remember Curt Schilling’s “Bloody Sock”; every Rangers fan will remember Kenny Rogers’ 200+ win career and his top-notch fielding at the pitcher position; and every baseball fan of the past decade will remember the dominance that these three had over the hitters of the 1990’s.  It is special to see them come alive again for what is probably their last hurrah.

— See part 2 of this series “Young Arms Stealing the Show” —


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