Curt Schilling hitches a ride to the Red Sox
Does life imitate art? If a television commercial can be considered art then the most prophetic one was done by Curt Schilling. Schilling is pictured hitching a ride to Boston “to break a curse.” A self-fulfilling prophecy since Schilling accomplished just that when he partnered with Martinez. Reminiscent of Schilling’s partnering with Randy Johnson in Arizona that also produced a championship.
The saga of Schilling with the Red Sox is one of closing the circle. Schilling was originally drafted by Boston (1986) and then was traded to Baltimore in a questionable but understandable transaction. Schilling eventually solidified his pitching credentials with Philadelphia and Arizona before being traded to Boston. He was 37-years-old and the presumption was nearing the end of the baseball trail.
The Diamondbacks received three pitchers with lefty Casey Fossum being regarded as the most promising. Two others – Brandon Lyon and Jorge De La Rosa – were both considered close to Fossum in potential. The Red Sox also included outfield prospect Mike Goss who never advanced past Double-A.
Fossum had three years with the Red Sox while still attempting to harness his occasionally electric talent. Lyon had shown his potential as part of the Red Sox 2003 bullpen going 4-6 and collecting nine saves. Lefty De La Rosa had originally signed with Arizona in 1998, signed by Boston, sent to Arizona, and was unloaded again in another trade with Milwaukee. The consensus was the Red Sox were snookered in this deal.
The Paul Harvey rest of the story is well etched in Red Sox folklore and baseball history. Schilling’s remarkable 2004 performance is the stuff of legends and athletic heroism. With Boston, Schilling went 6-1 in the playoffs and 11-2 overall in his lengthy career. As a 40-year-old, Schilling contributed to the 2007 World Series run with a 9-8 record, but 3-0 in the playoff including his final World Series win.
Fossum never fully mastered his talented left arm, making 27 starts for Arizona in 2004. Fossum delivered a 4-15 record and embarrassing 6.65 ERA. Lyon became a serviceable if unremarkable bullpen piece for Arizona and one season notched 26 saves. And De La Rosa? A career 104-87 record stretched over 15 seasons including a pair of 16 win seasons with Colorado.