Updates from Tuesday, Feb. 11
Curt Schilling underwent surgery and is in recovery, according to his daughter Gabby:
Dads surgery went really well! Now he's in recovery #GodBless— Gabby Schilling (@GabbyS_chilling) February 10, 2014
Former MLB ace Curt Schilling revealed he has been diagnosed with cancer in a statement released on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The 47-year-old prepares to battle the unfortunate circumstances with the same fervor he went after hitters with on the diamond, via ESPN Front Row's Ben Cafardo:
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. 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.
Alluding to a profound quote from his father and his experiences in seeing children fight through the devastating disease, Schilling expressed confidence in being able to beat it:
My father left me with a saying that I’ve carried 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.
According to Chad Finn of The Boston Globe, an ESPN spokesman said Schilling has chosen not to disclose his prognosis or the specific type of cancer he is afflicted with.
ESPN, who Schilling currently works for as an analyst, released its own statement in support of the former World Series MVP, per Cafardo:
"Our thoughts are with Curt and his family during this challenging time. His ESPN teammates wish him continued strength in his cancer fight and we look forward to welcoming him back to our baseball coverage whenever he’s ready."
ESPN's Mike Greenberg reached out with his support on Twitter, as did ESPN's Stuart Scott, who is also dealing with cancer that returned in January:
Thinking of our friend Curt Schilling this evening. Tough as they come. Look forward to seeing him back real soon. @gehrig38— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) February 5, 2014
This isn't the first health problem that has plagued Schilling in recent years, as he suffered a heart attack in November 2011. His wife, Shonda, also dealt with cancer after being diagnosed with stage 2 malignant melanoma in 2001.
Before becoming a media personality known for his transparent and impassioned insight, Schilling established himself as one of the standout starting pitchers of his era. The six-time All-Star was renowned for his power pitching, competitiveness and clutch play in the postseason.
With the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, he shared World Series MVP honors with fellow pitcher Randy Johnson, as the pair drove the D-Backs to a championship against the perennial powerhouse New York Yankees.
Johnson had some kind words for Schilling and his family upon hearing the news:
Sending heartfelt thoughts to my baseball brother Curt Schilling and his family during this difficult time.— Randy Johnson (@RJ51Photos) February 5, 2014
Though Schilling never won a Cy Young Award in his 20-year career, he compiled a record of 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA, finishing with 3,116 strikeouts—15th on the all-time list. Schilling began his playing days with the Baltimore Orioles (1988-1990) before spending one year with the Houston Astros. He then settled in with the Philadelphia Phillies for eight-plus years (1992-2000).
From there, stints with the D-Backs and Boston Red Sox closed out an excellent career, capped off with a third World Series triumph in 2007.
Perhaps what fans remember most about Schilling, beyond the individual honors and cumulative accomplishments, is his famous "bloody sock" game in the 2004 ALCS while with Boston. Pitching with an injured ankle—opposite the Yankees once again—Schilling gave up only one run in seven innings, propelling the Red Sox to a decisive Game 7, where they would capture their first World Series title since 1918.
Here's hoping Schilling makes a complete and speedy recovery.