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World Series 2001
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11/05/2001 05:26 AM ET
Schilling, Johnson named co-MVPs
By Troy Renck
MLB.com
Schilling and Johnson got the four World Series wins for Arizona.
Schilling and Johnson highlights: 56k | 300k
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Exclusive: WorldSeries.com Report

PHOENIX -- With a bottle of a California Chandon in one hand and a smile on his face, Curt Schilling began his triumphant swagger around the Diamondbacks' clubhouse.

He hugged a few teammates, realigning their spines in the process. He searched out his owner, offering thanks for this Kodak moment. Then, as a battery of photographers settled at his feet, he grabbed the World Championship trophy and hollered in delight.

"Who does this belong to?" Schilling screamed. "Who does this belong to?"

At exactly 9:17 local time, the hardware changed hands, transferring from Gotham to the desert with Luis Gonzalez' game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth. Final score: Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2.

With apologies to Arizona's eclectic Geritol Gang and the nose-still-wet mutts, the state celebrated its first world title thanks in large part to Schilling and Randy Johnson.

As reliever Mike Morgan put it, "They are our 1 and 1A, baby. It's pretty simple. We have ridden their backs all year."

So it was only fitting that the duo shared the stage as co-MVPs following one of the most dramatic games in World Series history.

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Schilling continued bolstering his reputation of a Legend of the Fall, starting three times, including twice on three days rest, while compiling a 1-0 record with a 1.69. As for Johnson, Schilling's primary competition for the NL Cy Young award? Well, he was pretty good. All he did was go 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in three appearances.

Even for a game as steeped in tradition as baseball, such postseason duality is a novelty. Before Sunday night, it had only happened once before, when three Dodgers -- third baseman Ron Cey, outfielder Pedro Guerrero and catcher Steve Yeager -- helped topple the Yankees in 1981.

This year if this storyline hadn't played out, it would've never been told. Screenwriters would've been laughed at for turning in something so sappy, so maple syrup. It wasn't just that Schilling and Johnson both grabbed the trophy -- Schilling started Game 7 and Big Unit finished.

You've got to be kidding?

"I don't want to take credit. We have 25 co-MVPs on this team as far as I am concerned," said Johnson as Queen's "We Are The Champions" ricocheted throughout Bank One Ballpark to the delight of crazy revelers. "Every guy contributed something. The kids that got called up, all the veterans in our clubhouse, everyone stepped up. It's not about one person or two."

Still, Schilling's made tremendous contributions. In three World Series starts, he never allowed more than two runs. This, despite working through self-created pressure and a tender arm.

"There was no difference in his stuff today," said catcher Damian Miller as he placed his daughter on his shoulders to get a better view of the unfolding pandemonium. "He gave us everything he had, then he turned it over to Randy."

Ah, yes, the Big Unit. He's the larger-than-life figure who is capable of giving his hat vertigo. Pitching on no days rest, the left-hander, whom Tino Martinez would later say is better than most even at 75 percent, kept the Yankees scoreless for 1 1/3 innings, setting the stage for the ninth-inning drama.

"All through the series, we were hearing about the aura and mystique of the Yankees, well our aura and mystique are Curt and Randy," said Arizona first baseman Mark Grace deftly summarizing the situation as usual. "What can you say about those guys? Curt shows again why he's a warrior. And Randy takes the ball and gets the win. They said all year that they raised the bar for each other. I am just glad I am on their team because that's 30 less outs I get to make. They are amazing."

The Yankees, numb from coming within a whisker of securing their fourth straight title, weren't compelled to argue.

"We got beat by Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling and some guys who could put the ball in play," said Yankees right fielder Paul O'Neill, who officially announced his retirement following the loss. "But we really go beat by two pitchers. There's no doubt about it."

Troy E. Renck is a reporter for MLB.com.