Curt Schilling announces retirement
From bloody sock to bum shoulder, Curt Schilling rarely left the Red Sox spotlight.
On the field, the husky right-hander pitched through pain to help end the club's 86-year championship drought in 2004 — then contributed to another World Series title three years later.
Off the field, the opinionated observer appeared at a congressional hearing on steroid use and campaigned for former President George W. Bush.
On his blog Monday, Schilling announced that he is retiring from major league baseball.
Schilling said on his blog 38 pitches that he has "zero regrets" about the decision. The 42-year-old free agent did not pitch at all for the Boston Red Sox in 2008 due to a shoulder injury and scrapped his idea of possibly signing with a contender in the second half of the season.
The right-hander went 9-8 in just 24 appearances the previous season for Boston, coming within one out of recording his first career no-hitter in a June game against Oakland.
"The things I was allowed to experience, the people I was able to call friends, teammates, mentors, coaches and opponents, the travel, all of it, are far more than anything I ever thought possible in my lifetime," Schilling wrote.
Schilling has a career record of 216-146 in 569 games, with a 3.46 earned-run average. He recorded over 20 wins in a season three times in his career, and finishes just two strikeouts shy of the 3,000 mark.
In 2003, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein lured Schilling back to the team that drafted him in 1986. He made his mark in a city of demanding fans.
"I think in the end, we really didn't need to sell it," Epstein said Monday. "The Red Sox were perfect for him, because he likes the big stage, the history of the game. He likes to be the center of attention. It was a good fit."
He finished as a Cy Young runner-up three times and became perhaps the premier big game pitcher of his era, finishing with a 10-2 playoff record and a 2.23 ERA. He struck out 120 while walking just 25 in 19 post-season appearances.
Brilliant in 2004 AL championship
Schilling's career began with Baltimore in 1988, when he retired the first major league batter he faced, Boston's Wade Boggs, on a groundball. He threw his last pitch in 2007, a ball on a full count to Colorado's Todd Helton in Game 2 of Boston's World Series sweep.
Schilling pitched brilliantly in Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees just days after surgery to suture a loose tendon to his right ankle.
The procedure was repeated before another outstanding outing in Game 2 of the World Series sweep of St. Louis as Schilling led Boston to the title in his first season with the Red Sox after he was acquired in a trade a few days after Thanksgiving.
In both games, blood seeped through his sock.
"I think people will definitely remember that, but I would say three championships is a pretty big deal," said Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon, a member of the 2004 Red Sox. "It was a nice career. The writers will think about it in a few years if he's Hall [of Fame] material. He definitely took advantage of what he was given."
Schilling established himself as a dependable starter with the Philadelphia Phillies beginning in 1992.
The following season, he finished 16-7 and helped lead the Phillies to a World Series appearance, where they lost to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Unstoppable with Arizona
Schilling recorded 101 wins with Philadelphia, twice totalling over 300 strikeouts in a season, before being traded to Arizona in 2000.
Schilling took his career to another level with the Diamondbacks, recording 22-6 and 23-7 seasons.
He had been decent with the Phillies in the postseason, but was unstoppable on the mound with Arizona in 2001, going 4-0 with 56 strikeouts in six starts, as the team won the World Series.
Dealt to Boston after the 2003 season, he continued his postseason streak with the Red Sox, going 6-1 overall as the team won the World Series in 2004 and in 2007.
Schilling went 21-6 in 2004, but his regular season totals began to decline and injuries began to mount.
He famously battled through an ankle injury during the 2007 championship season.
Schilling also gained a reputation as one of the game's free thinkers. He owns a new media company and through his blog and public statements in recent years aired his views on state of the game, steroids and politics.