End of the Road

It wasn’t supposed to end like this.

After a career that has spanned 17 years and included 3 World Series titles, 6 All Star Games, 11 postseason wins, countless opinions, and one bloody sock, Curt Schilling may have thrown his last pitch in a Major League uniform.

But it wasn’t supposed to end like this.

Guys like Schilling don’t just walk away from the game with an injury. They’re supposed to walk off the field for the last time during the seventh game of the World Series, to an adoring crowd and a standing ovation.

A lot has been said over the years about Schilling’s history of having an opinion on pretty much every subject. Words like egomaniac, self-indulgent, and blowhard have often preceded his name, but I always took Schilling’s view on things with a grain of salt. I couldn’t care less who he thought should be our next President. I cared about his pitching. And when it mattered, there have been few pitchers over the years that could elevate their game the way Curt Schilling did.

Schilling will always be remembered by Red Sox Nation for the bloody sock game during the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees, and for the leadership he showed in helping the Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years. Those games were obviously incredible and will never be forgotten, but the Schilling game that stands out for me was in 2005. Keith Foulke had gone down with an injury, and suddenly Boston was in need of a closer. Schilling putting the team ahead of himself, volunteering to work out of the bullpen for his first time in fourteen years. Of course, the experiment didn’t last, and Schilling got shelled. But he put the team ahead of his personal statistics, and my opinion of him changed that day.

I don’t think Curt Schilling has the career numbers to make it to the Hall of Fame. He never won the Cy Young award and hasn’t won 300 games, both of which tend to be the main criteria for induction. But if there is a wing in Cooperstown that rewards heart, determination, and leadership, then Schilling would be in on the first ballot.

And who knows, we may one day see #38 join the list along side 1 4 8 9 27 42.