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ESPN: Schilling, Johnson among all-time best

Expert panelists are counting down the greatest baseball players to ever walk the earth, and at least two of their picks have worn D-backs uniforms.

ESPN released Nos. 100-81 of its top 100 all-time greatest players list on Monday, and former Diamondbacks right-hander Curt Schilling landed at No. 91.

Schilling made his mark in postseason play, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA. He is one of two pitchers to throw a complete game in which he allowed one run or fewer in four consecutive playoff starts, which he did from 1993 to 2001. The other is Christy Mathewson, who did it for the Giants spanning 1905 to 1911. — Mark Simon, Stats & Info

Schilling, who played for the Diamondbacks from 2000-03 and won a World Series in Arizona, was a six-time All-Star, 2001 World Series co-MVP and four-time World Series Champion.

He posted a career 3.46 ERA and 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings, going 216-146.

Schilling shared the 2001 World Series co-MVP award with Randy Johnson, who also earned recognition from ESPN.

In its list of the 10 greatest left-handed pitchers of all time, ESPN put the Big Unit at No. 2, behind only Sandy Koufax.

Randy Johnson might be the most unique physical specimen the game has ever seen. A 6-foot-10 lefty who could touch triple digits. Once he figured out how to control his ridiculous stuff, it was game over for opposing hitters. —Kenneth Woolums, ESPN Stats & Information

I’m always going to love Randy Johnson, mostly because of what his career taught us about possibility. For the longest time, he was too wild to be taken seriously as a great pitcher. Then he was too tall to be able to be durable enough to win 300 or go to Cooperstown. Yet at almost every point you might have said, “that’s as good as he’ll get,” he’d blow you away, like with that late career kick with the Snakes, going 103-49 with a 2.65 ERA, all after his 35th birthday. The next time you hear any of us “experts” saying a guy is too this or too that, that he’s built different from most or unlike anybody else ever, embrace the possibilities and enjoy the ride. The Big Unit is, bar none, the best pitcher I’ve ever seen, and I’m willing to bet he’s the best you’ve probably seen too. — Christina Kahrl, ESPN MLB writer

Johnson was a five-time Cy Young Award winner, 10-time All-Star and four-time league ERA leader. He’s MLB’s all-time career leader in strikeouts per nine, whiffing 10.6 hitters per game in his 22 big league seasons.

He pitched in Arizona from 1999-2004, pitching a perfect game in that final season, and returned for two years from 2007-08.

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