Curt Schilling Biography
Curt Schilling is considered one of the great postseason pitchers of all time, having won a World Series game with three different franchises. His 2004 Game 6 ALCS performance with a sutured tendon dressed in a bloody sock was the defining image in one of baseball's all-time playoff comebacks and an inspiration in overturning an 86-year old World Series drought. Despite being one of the most outspoken and opinionated players in the game, his on-field performance rose when it mattered most. During postseason play, he went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and garnered World Series co-MVP and NLCS MVP awards. For his career, he recorded 216 wins and 3,116 strikeouts while only walking 711.
Curtis Montague Schilling was born on November 14, 1966, in Anchorage, Alaska. His father, Cliff, served in the U.S. Army for the better part of his career and was stationed in Elmendorf Air Force Base at the time. When Curt was brought home from the hospital, there was a baseball glove in the crib that Cliff had placed there. The family moved to Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri before finally settling in Phoenix, Ariz. Curt's father was a Pirates fan, and the first baseball game Curt ever attended was Roberto Clemente's last. Curt also was a fan of power pitchers.
Curt didn't even make the varsity baseball team at Shadow Mountain High School until he was a senior -- even though he had a pretty good tryout with the Cincinnati Reds after his junior year. Curt wasn't drafted after his senior year, though he did have conversations with the Milwaukee Brewers about joining the team. Those conversations quickly came to a halt when Curt's left elbow was broken in a summer league game when he was hit by a pitch.
Schilling enrolled at Yavapai Junior College in Arizona and in his first season went to the JUCO World Series. In 1986, Schilling was selected in the second round of the January Draft by the Boston Red Sox. He began his professional career with the Elmira Pioneers, then a Red Sox affiliate. After two and a half years in the minor leagues, he and Brady Anderson were traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1988 for Mike Boddicker.
On Sept. 7, 1988, Schilling made his major league debut against the Red Sox and pitched seven innings, allowing six hits and three runs.
Over the course of three seasons, he started only five games for the team and collected a 1-6 record with a 4.54 ERA. In January 1991, he was traded to the Houston Astros, along with Steve Finley and Pete Harnisch for Glenn Davis.
In one season with the Astro,s Schilling displayed his pitching power as a reliever -- throwing 71 strikeouts in 75.2 innings -- although his lack of control was just as apparent. In those 75.2 innings, he recorded 39 walks to sport a very high WHIP of 1.559.
On April 2, 1992 he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Grimsley.
The Phillies converted Schilling back into a starter, and he thrived in his first season. His WHIP shrank to a league low 0.990, and he picked up 10 complete games and 14 wins to go along with a 2.35 ERA. The Phillies ended that season 70-92.
In 1993, Schilling was the ace for a Phillies team that surprisingly went 97-65 and won the NL pennant. During the regular season he went 16-7, threw seven complete games and had 186 strikeouts. Against the Braves in the NLCS, he was named MVP after allowing only 11 hits and three earned runs in 16 innings. Against the defending champion Blue Jays in the World Series, Schilling went 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA. Despite losing Game 1, Schilling returned with an impressive five-hit shutout in Game 5. The Phillies eventually lost the series, and that season was the the last winning year the team enjoyed for the rest of the decade.
A series of injuries and a players' strike limited Schilling's action in 1994 and then, in 1995, a torn labrum required shoulder surgery. He had been pitching well during the season until a game against the Colorado Rockies on July 18, when his velocity suddenly dropped 10 miles per hour. By the next morning, he couldn't raise his arm above his head.
Schilling recovered from surgery to become an even more dominant pitcher. From 1997 to 1999, he was selected to all three All-Star teams. In 1997 he led the league in strikeouts with 319 in 254.1 innings, won 17 games, had a 2.97 ERA and finished fourth in Cy Young voting. In 1998 he led the league in strikeouts (300) again, as well as in complete games (15) and innings (268.2).
In July of 2000 he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla.
His two full seasons with the Diamondbacks were possibly the best of his career.
In 2001 he led the league in wins and innings by going 22-6 in 256.2 innings and struck out 298 batters with a 2.98 ERA. He finished second in Cy Young voting to teammate Randy Johnson. Combined, they made an incredibly formidable 1-2 playoff pitching combination. In the NLDS against the Cardinals, Schilling went 2-0 in 18 innings and allowed just one run and nine hits. In his one start against the Braves in the NLCS, he pitched a complete game, yielding only one run on four hits.
Against the Yankees in the World Series, he combined with Randy Johnson to put away a franchise that had collected four of the previous five World Series championships. During the series Schilling went 1-0, pitched 21.1 innings, struck out 26 and gave up four runs on 12 hits. Johnson went 3-0, pitched 17.1 innings, struck out 19 and gave up two runs on nine hits. Together, they were named World Series co-MVP.
The following season, in 2002, Schilling went 23-7, with a 3.23 ERA, and struck out 316 in 259.1 innings. Again he finished second in Cy Young voting behind teammate Randy Johnson. Despite allowing only one run in seven innings in his only start versus the Cardinals in the NLDS, Schilling and the Diamondbacks were swept out of the playoffs.
His 2003 season was less strong, as Schilling finished 8-9 after missing several weeks of the season with a hand injury (keeping him out much of June and July) and then a groin injury (missing six games in September). But even despite his lower win percentage, Schilling recorded a lower ERA -- 2.95 -- in 168 innings, recording 194 strikeouts. After the season, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Michael Goss, Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon and Jorge de la Rosa.
The Red Sox acquired Schilling to gain another top-of-the-line starter after their previous season once again ended in heartbreak against their vaunted rivals -- an 11th-inning Game 7 loss to the New York Yankees in the ALCS. Within his contract, Schilling negotiated a $2 million salary bump if he helped the team win the World Series, to go along with an extra year at $13 million. "I guess I hate the Yankees now," Schilling said after being introduced.
In his first season with the Red Sox, Schilling led the AL with 21 wins and had a 3.26 ERA. For the third time, he finished second in Cy Young voting -- this time behind Johan Santana.
The Red Sox again faced the Yankees in the ALCS. The Red Sox lost the first three games and faced an incredible obstacle -- no team in MLB history had come back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game playoff series. After the Red Sox won Games 4 and 5, Schilling took the mound in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium despite a displaced tendon in his ankle that had to be held together by sutures and which required off-season surgery. With blood soaking through the sock while he was on the mound, Schilling pitched seven innings, allowing only four hits and one run to send the series into a Game 7. When the Red Sox won Game 7, 10-3, they pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in sports history -- Schilling's Game 6 performance serving as the series' inspirational moment.
The Red Sox swept the Cardinals in the World Series to win their first championship in 86 years. Schilling pitched Game 2 of that series -- with the help of the same ankle procedure -- and went six innings without allowing an earned run.
But Schilling's playoff performance took a toll on the rest of his career. In 2005, he started only three games in April before injuries held him out of action until mid-July. When Schilling returned, he was placed into a closing role, where he stayed until the end of August. Schilling was held out of postseason action, and the Red Sox were swept in three games in the ALDS by the Chicago White Sox. For the season, he pitched 93.1 innings, with a 5.62 ERA and nine saves.
The following season Schilling bounced back to go 15-7 as a starter, with a 3.97 ERA. The Red Sox, however, went 86-76 and missed out on the postseason.
In 2007 Schilling's career appeared to be coming to an end. The Red Sox weren't willing to negotiate a new contract with him, and there was some talk of retirement. While injuries hindered his regular season, he almost pulled off his first career no-hitter against the Oakland Athletics on June 7. With two outs in the ninth inning, Shannon Stewart lined a single into right field. At 40 years old, he would have been the fourth oldest pitcher to pull off the feat behind Randy Johnson, Cy Young and Nolan Ryan. In 151 innings on the season, Schilling went 9-8 with a 3.87 ERA and 101 strikeouts.
Against the Angels in the ALDS, he pitched seven innings of scoreless ball and garnered a win. Against the Indians in the ALCS, he went 1-0 in 11.2 innings with a 5.40 ERA. In Game 2 of the World Series against the Colorado Rockies, he picked up a win by going 5.1 innings and giving up one run on four hits. That performance would prove his last major league appearance. The Red Sox swept the Rockies to win their second World Series in four seasons.
Schilling signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox for 2008, but because of shoulder troubles didn't appear in a single regular-season game. During the off-season, he announced his retirement on March 23, 2009, on his blog.
He retired as the only pitcher to win a World Series start for three different teams. In the regular season, he compiled a record of 216-146, 83 complete games, 3.46 ERA, 3,261 inning and 3,116 strikeouts. In the postseason, he went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA with four complete games.
Schilling and his wife Shonda have been stark advocates in the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The Schillings were inspired after seeing the disease affect Dick Bergeron in 1992 and decided to create "Curt's Pitch for ALS" in 1993. The program allowed contributors to donate for every strikeout Schilling threw and helped raise millions of dollars.
In March 2005, Schilling was one of the players called before Congress to give his testimony during the steroid hearings, though his name had not been tied to steroid use. During the hearings, he addressed Jose Canseco's book about rampant steroid use in baseball, saying: "The allegations made in that book, the attempts to smear the names of players both past and present, having been made by one who for years vehemently denied steroid use, should be seen for what they are: an attempt to make money at the expense of others." He also said he believed the league was doing all it could to ensure a drug-free league.
In the 2010 Massachusetts Senate race to replace the vacant seat left by Ted Kennedy's death, Schilling (who publically supported George W. Bush in 2004 and John McCain in 2008) supported Republican candidate Scott Brown. The Democratic challenger Martha Coakley was perceived to take a big hit during the election when she mistakenly referred to Curt Schilling as a Yankee fan.
Schilling was hired as an analyst by ESPN in April 2010. He appears on Baseball Tonight and ESPN Radio and contributes to the blogs on ESPN.com and ESPNBoston.com.
Curt is married to his wife Shonda and together they have four kids -- Gehrig, Gabriella, Grant and Garrison.
Shonda Schilling was diagnosed with melanoma in 2000. In September 2002, the family launched the Shade/Shonda and Curt Schilling Melanoma Foundation of America, which has raised millions to fight the disease.