PHILADELPHIA - Curt Schilling remembered the voice of Phillies announcer Harry Kalas on Friday night.

Schilling recalled the passion of Phillies fans. The retired pitcher stood on a podium in the infield of Citizens Bank Park with some of the best players in Philadelphia history.

The Phillies and their fans also got a chance to remember what Schilling meant to the franchise.

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The Phillies inducted Schilling into their Wall of Fame in a ceremony before Philadelphia played the Atlanta Braves.

"This is where it all began for me," Schilling said. "It's where my family began. It's a huge honor. I'm terribly proud."

The induction took place as part of the Phillies' annual Alumni Weekend, which this year celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 1993 Phillies team that featured Schilling and won the National League pennant.

Former Phillies greats such as Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton participated in the induction ceremony.

"Those guys weren't just some of the best Phillies ever," Schilling said. "They were some of the best players in the history of the game. This is important. It's a big deal."

Schilling retired after the 2007 season with a 216-146 career record in 20 seasons.

Schilling helped pitch the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and the 2003 Boston Red Sox to World Series victories. But he rose to prominence in Philadelphia. He was 101-78 in nine seasons in Philadelphia. Schilling was the first Phillies right-hander to strike out 300 batters in a season (319 in 1997).

He was renowned not only for his pitching but also his cockiness and willingness to offer an opinion on almost any subject. Schilling joked with reporters that he was probably their favorite player because he didn't have the ability to keep his mouth shot.

The Phillies acquired Schilling in a trade with the Houston Astros before the 1992 season.

"This tall blond-haired guy came strutting in," former Phillies first baseman John Kruk said during the ceremony. "He was full of piss and vinegar and cocky - and that was just (Friday)."

Schilling was known as one of baseball's best clutch pitchers and he began to build that reputation in Philadelphia. Schilling was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason games in his career.

He was the most valuable player of the 1993 NL Championship Series as the Phillies beat the Braves four games to two. Philadelphia won both of Schilling's starts as he allowed just three earned runs in 16 innings.

He threw a shutout in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0.

"I always looked (at big games) as an opportunity to have everybody remember you for the rest of their life," Schilling said. "One game - life or death - who do you want to have the ball? I wanted the guys who I suited up with to say me."

Schilling said he knew the 1993 team was special on the first day of spring training when outfielder Jim Eisenreich jokingly threatened to shoot Kruk with a bow and arrow.

"As hard as it is to believe," Schilling said, "you had 25 guys who were dying to be at the park with each other. That's special. That's different."

Schilling praised the passion of Phillies fans.

"I always thought you didn't have to police the clubhouse as much (in Philadelphia) because the fans would do that for you," he said. "If somebody wasn't doing their job, you had a 26th guy (in the fans) who made them aware of it. I never thought that was a bad thing."

The Phillies traded Schilling to the Diamondbacks midway through the 2000 season. At the time, it seemed as if the pitcher and the team were in the middle of a nasty divorce.

But Schilling said Friday the parting was more amicable than reported.

"I wish it had ended on a more kinder, softer, gentler note," he said. "But I don 't know if there was the acrimony and animosity that some believed there to be."

Schilling, 46, works as an ESPN commentator. He hasn't gotten any less opinionated with age.

A news conference after Friday's ceremony ended with a reporter asking Schilling if Alex Rodriguez should be banned for his role in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

"Yes," Schilling said.

Contact Michael McGarry:


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