Yesterday, Schilling announced that he has been diagnosed with cancer. He decline to indicate which type of cancer he has, when he was diagnosed or what his prognosis might be, but the “c” word is a scary one regardless of any of that.
This is yet another challenge – and certainly the biggest – that former big leaguer has had to face recently.
Last year we learned that Schilling suffered a heart attack in November 2011, requiring him to have surgery to place a stent in one of his arteries. There has been speculation that the heart attack was, in part, related to his failing post-baseball business enterprise, 38 Studios, LLC – a video game company founded by Schilling in 2006 that eventually went bankrupt in 2012 (the company was named after his uniform number). It has been reported that Schilling may have invested and lost upwards of $50 million in that venture.
Schilling pitched 20 seasons in the major leagues, and is most known for his spectacular postseason performances. He was the Co-World Series MVP for the 2001 champion Arizona Diamondbacks, and keyed the end of the Curse of the Bambino, leading the Boston Red Sox to titles in 2004 and 2007. The six-time All-Star won a career 216 games and struck out 3,116 batters for the Orioles, Astros, Phillies, D-Backs and Red Sox, collectively, but it’s his glistening playoff numbers that have led the baseball writers to seriously consider him for the Hall of Fame. In 19 playoff starts, Schilling was 11-2 with four complete games, a 2.24 ERA, and one legendary bloody sock.
It’s never easy to watch a player you marveled at just a handful of years ago staring down these types of health and financial issues so soon. But Schilling has never publicly let those problems get him down, and continues to carry himself with an admirable and rarified dignity.
Schilling announced his diagnosis yesterday with the following statement, released through his current employer ESPN:
“I’ve always believed life is about embracing the gifts and rising up to meet the challenges. We’ve been presented with another challenge, as I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer. [My wife] Shonda and I want to send a sincere thank you and our appreciation to those who have called and sent prayers, and we ask that if you are so inclined, to keep the Schilling family in your prayers.
“My father left me with a saying that I’ve carred my entire life and tried to pass on to our kids: ‘Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.’ Over the years in Boston, the kids at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute have shown us what that means.
“With my incredibly talented medical team, I’m ready to try and win another big game. I’ve been so very blessed and I feel grateful for what God has allowed my family to have and experience, and I’ll embrace this fight just like the rest of them, with resolute faith and head on.”
Get well soon, Curt.