Former MLB ace Curt Schilling announced on Wednesday that he has cancer. Schilling was a dominant right-handed pitcher who helped both the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks win World Series Championships. He also pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies at the beginning of his career and helped that team reach the World Series in 1993.
Schilling released a statement on Wednesday through ESPN, for whom he currently works as a baseball analyst. ESPN did not comment specifically about how this diagnosis would affect his time with the network but did say that when Schilling is ready to come back, they will welcome him back to work.
The former pitcher said in his statement that he believes life is about using the gifts you have to meet the challenges you are presented with. He said that he has now been presented another challenge, this one in the form of cancer. There has been no confirmation as to what kind of cancer the 47-year-old was diagnosed with in his announcement.
Schilling said that he and his wife, Shonda Schilling, thank those who have called or sent cards or have kept the family in their prayers.
“My father left me with a saying that I’ve carried my entire life and tried to pass on to our kids,” he said. “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” The right-hander also added that while he was in Boston he learned many things from visiting the children at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and they have taught him what it means to be tough.
He also added that he is blessed to have a great team of doctors to help him win this fight and that he will “embrace this fight just like the rest of them, with resolute faith and head on.”
This will be the most challenging fight of Schilling’s life after a career that was reminiscent of at least one grueling performance that is etched into the memories of not only Red Sox and Yankees fans but built into the minds of sports fans around the world. Schilling pitched Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Game on a very bad ankle that was bleeding into his sock. It was one of the most clutch performances in Red Sox history and was made even more special because it was done by an injured player. The Red Sox won the game and went on to win the series, coming back from a 3-0 deficit. That year, they would go on to win the World Series, breaking the “Curse of the Bambino,” which began in 1919 when the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.
Schilling’s health has not been a source of positive news lately. In 2011, Schilling had a heart attack, which he did recover from. Now that he has been diagnosed with cancer, his health problems appear to be continuing.
The winner of 216 games in 20 seasons, Schilling will be remembered as one of the best postseason pitchers in modern baseball. For now, Schilling is less concerned with his legacy and more concerned with the upcoming fight he has with cancer after revealing his diagnosis on Wednesday via ESPN.
By Nick Manai