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Curt Schilling

A photo of Curt Schilling.

Curt Schilling
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Curtis Montague Schilling (born November 14, 1966 in Anchorage, Alaska) is a right-handed starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, acquired in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks following the 2003 season.

Schilling has won League Championship titles with three dark-horse teams; in 1993 with the Philadelphia Phillies (who overcame a last-place finish in the National League East in '92), in 2001 with the Diamondbacks (who became the youngest expansion team to win a title) and in 2004 with the Red Sox (who overcame a 0-3 deficit against the New York Yankees). He also went on to win World Series titles with two of them: the 2001 Diamondbacks and the 2004 Red Sox.

CareerEdit

Early MLB Career (1988-2000)Edit

Schilling began his professional career as a prospect in the Boston farm system, but was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1988 for Mike Boddicker. His major league debut was with the Orioles (1988-1990), he spent one year with the Houston Astros (1991), and then spent more than eight seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies (1992-2000).

Schilling was one of the key factors in the Phillies' pennant run in 1993. In that year, Schilling went 16-7 with a 4.02 ERA and 186 strikeouts. Schilling then led the Phillies to an upset against the two-time defending National League champion Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. Although he didn't get any decisions during his two appearances in the six game series, Schilling's 1.69 ERA and 19 strikeouts were still enough to earn him the 1993 NLCS Most Valuable Player Award. The Phillies went on to battle the defending World Champion Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series. Schilling was the losing pitcher in Game 1 but he redeemed himself greatly in Game 5. With the Phillies facing elimination the day after losing a bizarre 15-14 contest at home in Veterans Stadium, Schilling pitched a five-hit shutout that the Phillies won 2-0. Unfortunately, Schilling would soon watch helplessly from the dugout as the Phillies lost another heartbreaker to the Blue Jays. In Game 6, Mitch Williams, who was the losing pitcher in the infamous fourth game, gave up a three run home run to Joe Carter to clinch the Blue Jays' second straight World Championship. Apparently, Schilling was so uncomfortable when Williams was on the mound, that he was frequently caught on camera burying his face in a white towel, an act which upset his teammates.

The Phillies slipped into mediocrity in the years after that, despite Schilling being the ace of the staff. He recovered from arm miseries to strike out more than 300 batters in 1997, and 1998. He soon began voicing his displeasure with Phillies management, claiming they were not doing enough to build a winning team. He eventually requested a trade.

Diamondback Career (2000-2003)Edit

He was traded mid-season to the Diamondbacks in 2000. With Arizona, he went 22-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 2001 and went 4-0 with a 1.12 ERA in the playoffs. In the 2001 World Series the Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in 7 games. Schilling shared the 2001 World Series MVP Award star with teammate Randy Johnson. He and Johnson also shared Sports Illustrated magazine's 2001 "Sportsmen of the Year" award. In 2002, he went 23-7 with a 3.23 ERA. Both years he finished second in the Cy Young Award voting to Johnson.

Red Sox Career (2003-Present)Edit

In November 2003, the Diamondbacks traded Schilling to the Boston Red Sox. On September 16, 2004, Schilling won his twentieth game of the season for the Red Sox, becoming the fifth Boston pitcher to win 20 or more games in his first season with the team, and the first since Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley in 1978. Schilling would go on to another win, ending his regular season with a 21-6 record.

On October 19, Schilling won Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. Notably, he won this game playing on an injured ankle - the same injuries that contributed to his disastrous outing in Game 1 of the ALCS. These injuries were so acute that by the end of his performance that day his white sock was soaked with blood.

The win forced a Game 7, making the Red Sox the first team in post-season Major League Baseball history to come back from a three-games-to-none deficit. The Red Sox would go on to win Game 7 and the ALCS and make their first World Series appearance since 1986. He pitched (and won) Game 2 of the 2004 World Series for the Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals. In both series, he had to have the tendon in his right ankle stabilized repeatedly, in what has become known as the Schilling Tendon Procedure, after the tendon sheath was torn during his Game 1 ALDS appearance against the Anaheim Angels. As in game 6 of the ALCS, Schilling's sock was soaked with blood from the sutures used in this medical procedure. This second "bloody" sock was placed in the Baseball Hall of Fame after Boston's victory over St. Louis in the World Series. A 4-game sweep of the World Series gave Boston its first World Series championship since 1918.

Schilling was once again runner-up in Cy Young voting in 2004, this time to Minnesota Twins hurler Johan Santana, who received all 28 first-place votes. Schilling received 27 of the 28 second-place votes. Later, the entire Red Sox team was named Sports Illustrated's 2004 Sportsmen of the Year, making Schilling only the second person to have won or shared that award twice.

Schilling's ankle injury had an immense effect on his pitching performance in 2005. He began the year on the disabled list, and even when he returned, he simply wasn't the Curt Schilling everyone knew. His velocity was down, his control was off, and his signature splitter pitch didn't have much bite to it. After being placed on the disabled list again, he returned in July as Boston's closer. The idea was that Schilling would work out of the bullpen until gaining enough strength to rejoin the starting rotation. However, this experiment, for the most part, was unsuccessful. Schilling did earn some saves, but was mostly ineffective. He eventually returned to the starting rotation and continued to struggle. However, he did have an excellent start against the Yankees in a September game, which was easily the highlight of his season. The Red Sox made it to the playoffs, but were swept by the Chicago White Sox in three games. Schilling was set to start the fourth game, but never got the chance.

For the 2006 season, Schilling is said to be healthy, and apparently his ankle is no longer an issue. Schilling went undefeated in his first four starts of the season, boasting a minuscule 1.61 ERA. This strong early performance has silenced a number of critics who speculated that he was nearing the end of his career.

On Saturday, May 27, 2006, Schilling earned his 200th career win, the 104th major league pitcher to accomplish the feat. The Red Sox beat Tampa Bay, 6-4.[1]

On Sunday, July 9, 2006 Curt Schilling made his 400th career start in his major league career versus the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field the home of the White Sox.

On August 30, Schilling collected his 3,000th strikeout against Nick Swisher of the Oakland Athletics. Schilling has the highest ratio of strikeouts to walks of any pitcher with at least 3,000 strikeouts, and is one of four pitchers to reach the 3,000-K milestone before reaching 1,000 career walks. The other three who accomplished this feat are Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, and former Boston Red Sox ace and teammate Pedro Martínez.

In January 2007, Schilling announced on the Dennis and Callahan show that after talking with his family, he had changed his mind and did not want to retire at the conclusion of the 2007 season.[2] He sought to negotiate an extension to his current contract, but Red Sox executives announced that they would not negotiate with him until after the season citing Schilling's age and physical condition as factors in their decision (Schilling reportedly showed up for training camp heavier than normal).[3][4] Schilling went on to say he would become a free agent at the end of the season, for the first time in his career, and would not negotiate with the Red Sox during the 15 days after the end of the World Series when the team has exclusive negotiating rights with potential free agents.[5] On a June appearance on the Dennis and Callahan Show, Schilling stated he would accept a one year extension to his contract at his current salary if the Red Sox offered it to him. Questioned on his statement, Schilling said "I said I wouldn't negotiate a deal during the season, and I'm saying that now. But I would accept that offer."[6]

On June 7, 2007, Schilling came within one out of his first career no-hitter. Schilling gave up a two-out single to Oakland's Shannon Stewart, who lined a 95-mph fastball to right field for the A's only hit.[7]

Schilling followed up his one-hitter with two poor starts and was sent back to Boston on June 20 for an MRI on his shoulder and was placed on the disabled list. He returned from the disabled list on Aug. 6, pitching at least six innings in each of his nine starts following the All-Star Break.

Schilling continued his career postseason success in 2007, throwing seven shutout innings in a 9-1 victory over the Angels in the ALDS, wrapping up a three-game sweep for Boston. [8] However, he did not fare as well pitching in Game 2 of the ALCS against Cleveland, surrendering nine hits — two of them home runs — and five earned runs in just 4 2/3 innings. He did start again in the sixth game of the series, pitching 7 complete innings during which he recorded five strike outs, surrendering no walks with only two earned runs to gain the victory and force a Game 7.

He earned his third win of the 2007 playoffs in Game 2 of the 2007 World Series leaving after 5 1/3 innings, striking out four while allowing only four hits. With this win, he became only the second pitcher over the age of 40 to start and win a World Series game (Kenny Rogers became the first just one year prior). As Schilling departed in the 6th inning, fans at Fenway Park gave Schilling a standing ovation.

Schilling filed for free agency on October 30, 2007. He said he would seek a 1-year deal, and according to ESPN First Take and his own blog page 38 Pitches, Schilling has signed a 1-year deal with the Boston Red Sox for the 2008 season. The deal is structured with $8 million guaranteed, $2 million in bonuses for 6 separate weigh ins, $3 million in innings pitched incentives and another $1 million if he receives any vote for the Cy Young Award.[9] Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that the innings pitched incentive "starts at 130 and goes in 10-inning increments up to 200" with Schilling making $375,000 per increment.[10]

Schilling will miss all of the 2008 season because of a shoulder injury. The injury was first revealed in February 2008 and the treatment options became a point of contention between Schilling and the Red Sox management.[11] Doctor Thomas Gill, the Red Sox medical director, diagnosed Schilling with a tendon injury and recommended a course of rehabilitation. Schilling went for a second opinion to Doctor Craig Morgan who recommended surgery. Schilling agreed to a follow the teams desire non-surgical course of treatment in the hope that he could pitch during the 2008 season. Following this approach was still expected to keep Schilling out of action until the All Star Break in July.

On March 13, 2008 the Red Sox placed Schilling on the 60 day disabled list as he continued to rehabilitate his right shoulder. [12]

On June 18, 2008 Curt Schilling left the team to be reevaluated by Doctor Gill after suffering pain when throwing off the mound.[13] On June 20th, Schilling stated on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show that he will undergo season ending surgery and that he's possibly thrown the last pitch of his career.[14]

Off the fieldEdit

For the last 10 years, Schilling has been a supporter of care for ALS sufferers. His Curt's Pitch for ALS program allows fans to sponsor him, donating to the ALS Association for every strikeout he throws. In the 2004 playoffs, after the operation on his ankle, Schilling wrote "K ALS" (short for "strike out ALS") on his shoe, knowing that the cameras would be focusing on his foot numerous times while he was pitching.

Gaming

Schilling formed a deep-rooted interest in the board wargame Advanced Squad Leader.

ASL has become his constant companion on road trips, and every National League city is now his playground for baseball at night and ASL in the day. (All of which has become a bonanza for ASL players of his acquaintance, who are sometimes Curt's guests at stadiums around the country.)[15]

Schilling's disappointment at not being able to attend the ASL Oktoberfest (an annual game convention) led him to create his own, The ASL Open, which debuted the weekend of January 15, 1993 in Houston, Texas. The Open was financed out of his own pocket. Schilling also started his own amateur publication entitled Fire for Effect, a bi-monthly featuring "some of the ASL hobby's best writers".[16]

When his favourite game was sold along with Avalon Hill to Hasbro, Schilling founded the small gaming company Multi-Man Publishing to maintain ASL and other Avalon Hill titles. He also started a new, professional publication entitled ASL Journal and contributed articles, editorials, and game scenarios.

Schilling also plays EverQuest and EverQuest II, and has reviewed two of the game's many expansion packs for PC Gamer magazine.

Internet

He is an avid web communicator, feeling this is the best way to speak to the fans. Schilling has combined his fight against ALS with his love for EverQuest II, as the creators of the game have made Schilling a special online character. Between June 5, 2006 and June 7, 2006, fans were able to battle a virtual Curt Schilling in the game. Every time the virtual Schilling was defeated, Sony Online Entertainment donated $5 towards ALS research.[17]

Personality

Schilling has a tendency to get carried away with his criticism of management, opposing players, and, on occasion, his teammates. When Red Sox relief pitcher Scott Williamson began to experience arm pain mid-way through the 2004 season, Schilling reportedly told Williamson to stop "acting." Williamson then lost the remainder of the season to reconstructive arm surgery. While with the Phillies, Schilling was a vocal critic of team management, stopping just short of calling the front office incompetent. Schilling has also directed comments towards Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, once calling Rodríguez's swat of a tag in Game 6 of the ALCS a "bush league play" on The Jim Rome Show. Schilling and teammate Manny Ramírez were also involved in a clubhouse altercation, according to a Providence newspaper. He was called to Capitol Hill to testify about steroid use in March of 2005, not as a suspected user but rather as a vocal opponent. However, many were disappointed as he equivocated on his position. Later, he supported having Rafael Palmeiro's stats erased from the record books. He has also been known to call Boston radio stations to give his opinion.

Schilling campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2004, while the ownership of the Red Sox campaigned for the challenger, Senator John F. Kerry.

Recently, Schilling and his wife Shonda applied to house a family displaced due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. As a result, a family of nine moved into a house in Boston supplied by the Schillings. Schilling was applauded for his contribution.

Schilling is also an avid World War II historian. In his collection, he has helmets and knives that were used in the war.

Today, Schilling lives in Medfield, Massachusetts, in Drew Bledsoe's old house.

Schilling's Superstitions and ReligionEdit

Like many baseball players, Schilling has several superstitions. He never steps on the foul line when walking to or from the pitching mound. Schilling also wears a necklace that he kisses before he starts pitching. He does not start his warmup routine until precisely 6:45 p.m. for night games.

He is a devout born-again Christian. He mentioned this in a radio interview several years ago.[citation needed]

External linksEdit

Notes Edit


Preceded by:
John Smoltz
National League Championship Series MVP
1993
Succeeded by:
Mike Devereaux
Preceded by:
Barry Larkin
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
1995
Succeeded by:
Brett Butler
Preceded by:
Derek Jeter
World Series MVP (with Randy Johnson)
2001
Succeeded by:
Troy Glaus
Preceded by:
Derek Jeter
Babe Ruth Award (with Randy Johnson)
2001
Succeeded by:
David Eckstein

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