By Sterling Pingree: Sports Chowdah. We tend to remember athletes from one thing. When a player joins your favorite team, that one thing almost always transpires during that tenure. Case in point: Bill Buckner had almost 3,000 hits in the National League before coming to the Red Sox, but we unfortunately focus on the game 6 error. Randy Moss in Minnesota was better than the Moss that played in Foxboro but we rave about 23 TOUCHDOWNS in 2007! And because who cares what happened in Minnesota?
The same is true for Curt Schilling. The “Bloody Sock”, coming back from 3-0 to the Yankees and reversing the curse are all things I wouldn’t trade for anything. (Reminder, Schilling was the number two starter on the 2007 World Series team too. I feel like that gets overlooked.) But as I’m mining data and information for the Cookout with Curt (get your tickets at www.sportschowdah.com) I find myself discovering a second life, an alternate reality where Schilling had an incredible career before he ever stepped foot in The Hub.
Curt Schilling was a huge part of the 1993 “Macho Row” Phillies that beat the Braves and won the pennant. John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, Darren “Dutch” Daulton and Dave Hollins. Unfortunately those are the same Phillies that employed Mitch Williams, who gave up Joe Carter’s series ending dinger. But before the dinger, with their backs against the wall in game 5, down 3-1 to Toronto, Schilling threw a complete game 5-hit shut out to push the series back across the border. Hard to say as a Red Sox fan, but this might be the best game that Schilling ever pitched.
Pedro Martinez won the MVP of the 1999 All-Star Game, struck out Larkin, Walker, McGwire, Sosa and Bagwell. Ted Williams & the All-Century team: one of the greatest nights in baseball history. Bet you didn’t recall that while Teddy Ballgame was asking Big Mac if he smelled burning wood when he fouled one off that Curt Schilling was warming up in the bullpen next to Pedro. Curt and Pedro started the ’99 All-Star Game.
Everybody remembers that Schilling (along with Randy Johnson) was a co-MVP for the Arizona Diamondbacks 2001 World Series championship. One of the greatest Series’ in history, 7 games with the Yankees in the wake of 9/11. New York traumatizes B.K. Kim on back to back nights, Jeter becomes Mr. November and Luis Gonzalez’s wins it all with a blooper to left. But do you recall that game 7 featured the kind of pitching matchup that dreams are made of? Curt Schilling for the Diamondbacks-Roger Clemens for the Yankees. Schill came up big going 7.1 innings and striking out 9. The Big Unit got the win, coming on in relief after starting game 6 the night before. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, arguably the greatest 1-2 punch in baseball history.
And THEN, Curt Schilling came to Boston two years later and won two World Series, bloody sock, 3-0 comeback vs the Yankees, 3-1 comeback vs Cleveland, sweeps of the Cardinals and Rockies: the whole shebang. There is so much to cover with Curt, I can’t wait until July 27th.