Big Unit, Schilling share World Series MVP honorsPosted: Monday November 05, 2001 12:23 AM
Updated: Monday December 10, 2001 8:31 PM
Of course they go together. The Arizona Diamondbacks wouldn't have won without them.
The pitchers were voted co-Most Valuable Players of the Series on Sunday night following a stunning 3-2 comeback win in Game 7 that Schilling started and Johnson finished.
"Me and Curt fed off one another all year long," Johnson said. "And, you know, I think we made ourselves better."
One is right-handed. One is left-handed.
One is loud. One is quiet.
They both win.
Not just win, but dominate.
Schilling won Game 1, setting the tone. Johnson won Games 2, 6 and 7, becoming the first pitcher with three Series wins since Detroit's Mickey Lolich in 1968 and the first ever with five victories in a single postseason.
The brash Schilling guaranteed Arizona would win the World Series, only he thought he would be the one to lead the Diamondbacks to victory, not his teammate.
The shy Johnson was just as sure, but not as boastful.
"I didn't say how we'd win it, just that we'd win it," Schilling said. "This is a fitting end to this season."
The Big Unit made sure it happened. And then the words started flowing. He sounded a little like his mound mate.
"I'm probably talking more now than I've ever talked," Johnson said, cracking a smile.
Koufax and Drysdale.
Spahn and Sain.
And now Schilling and Johnson.
"This is one of those things that's going to take a whole lot of time to absorb," Schilling said. "Euphoric would be the beginning of my description."
It's only the second time in Series history the MVP award was split, the other when Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager shared it for the Los Angeles Dodgers when they beat the Yankees in 1981.
"It still really has not quite sunk in yet," Johnson said.
Pitching on three days' rest for the second time in the Series and the second time in his career, Schilling held down the Yankees for 7 1/3 innings, but he was trailing 2-1 after Alfonso Soriano's eighth-inning homer.
After a single by David Justice, that was it for Schilling, who threw 103 pitches.
"I was not going to leave anything in the bullpen," Schilling said. "And knowing that he was going down to the bullpen on a day's rest, not even a day's rest, made what I was doing a lot easier mentally today."
He went out to the bullpen after the seventh inning, and was good for 17 more pitches.
And then came the stunning ninth against Rivera.
"I just stood up on the top of the bench hoping we could get something strung together," Johnson said, "and we did."
Schilling couldn't move.
"I wanted to get up and watch the whole inning," he said, "but I was playing the luck seat."
Schilling was 22-6 during the regular season, Johnson 21-6. Schilling had a 1.69 ERA in the Series, Johnson was at 1.04.
Those aren't the big numbers for them. The numbers that matter are one and two.
And, maybe, some more ahead.
"I believe this is not our last," Schilling said, "and we have the makeup and the chemistry and the talent and the personnel to do it again. And maybe it will go through New York again. Who knows?"