This battler, this warrior that won three World Series in a seven-year stretch now faces an uncertain battle that he has little control over. We all hope it is a treatable cancer, such as the melanoma his wife Shonda defeated before. We hope it was caught early, like Jerry Remy’s battle with lung cancer. We pray that the lack of knowing his specific cancer is not as dire and ominous as it sounds.
Whatever you may feel about Schilling, you would never wish this fight on him.
Coming off the epic Game 7 collapse in the 2003 American League Championship Series in Yankee Stadium, young and unproven general manager Theo Epstein traveled to the Arizona desert to woo Schilling back to the franchise that drafted him back in the winter of 1986.
The Red Sox even hired his old manager from the Philadelphia Phillies, a young Terry Francona, to run the team.
Schilling enjoyed the company as he was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to Boston on November 28. His mission, as the white-hatted cowboy in a western, was to break the Sox long-standing championship drought.
In taking over the ace of the staff role from Pedro Martinez, all Schilling did was win a league-high 21 games, throw 226.2 innings and was the clubhouse leader on the first championship team in 86 years.
You could never question his determination or his tenacity. He pitched two games that postseason with a dead man’s tendons sutured up in his ankle, including winning must-win ALCS Game 6 in New York. Schilling, that night, pitched seven innings and oozed blood from his impromptu surgery onto his sock.
You talk about legend that is John Wayne-stuff right there. There was no price too high for Schilling to pay when winning was involved. Even hockey fans must have been impressed.
Brought in for the sole purpose of putting the Red Sox over the top, Schilling did just that.
Yes, Schilling spoke his mind to any camera that would point his way and, yes, he is not the business mastermind he was as a pitcher. So what?
Schilling was a part of two world championship teams in his four years with the Red Sox. He even tried his hand at closing games after his ankle was repaired correctly in 2005, saving nine.
He now faces a fight that could kill him before he turns 50. The thought of him not being at Fenway celebrations in the future is heartbreaking. The thought of the Schilling family losing their father is crushing.
Keep him, and them, in your thoughts. They need it.
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