Former Major League Baseball pitcher and current ESPN analyst, Curt Schilling, announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with cancer. In a statement released by ESPN Schilling told the world:
“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.”
The 47-year old played in MLB for 20 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Boston Red Sox. He is best remembered for his stellar post-season performances. He was Co-MVP of the 2001 World Series with the Diamondbacks, sharing the honors with fellow pitcher Randy Johnson.
He was heralded for his post season pitching with the Red Sox. He was part of the 2004 team that led Boston to its first World Series Title in 86 years. Remember the bloody sock? That was Schilling. Schilling injured the tendon in his ankle that year in the American League Division Series against the then Anaheim Angels. By Game Six of the American League Championship Series he had had his tendon stabilized so many times his sock was bloodied and the stabilizing procedure was named the Schilling Tendon Procedure.
In his 19 career post-season starts Schilling, had an 11-2 record with four complete games and a 2.23 ERA. His .486 playoff winning percentage is the best ever for all pitchers who have had at least 10 post-season decisions. Shilling finished his career 216-146 and a 3.46 ERA and ranks 15th all-time in strikeouts with 3,116. He also has six All-Star appearances on his MLB career resume.
Unfortunately for Schilling and his wife, Shonda, this is not the first time they have had to stand up to cancer. In 2001, Shonda battled Stage 2 Malignant Melanoma but recovered. It is also not Schilling’s first post-baseball health scare. In 2011, Shilling reported having had a heart attack while cheering on his wife as she ran the New York City Marathon. He ended up needing surgery to place a stent in one of his arteries.
While the Schilling and his family have experienced great successes, they have also learned how to battle the many hardships and misfortunes in their lives. In more of the statement released by ESPN Schilling continued:
“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.
He added a statement about his father saying:
“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.
Even with the odds seemingly against the Schilling family, Schilling is not going to give in to this disease easily:
“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.”
Just like that much younger Curt Schilling who battled in that ALCS Game 6 with his bloody sock, 10 years has not changed the man. Schilling does not seem to have the capacity to give up even in the face of such adversity.