Schilling has ‘no regrets’ in retiring

BOSTON – Curt Schilling retired from baseball yesterday, ending a career in which he won World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks and was one of the game’s most dominant pitchers and grittiest competitors. The 42-year-old right-hander said on his blog he’s leaving after 23 years with ‘zero regrets.’ Schilling missed all of last season with a shoulder injury after signing a one-year, $8 million contract. ‘The things I was allowed to experience, the people I was able to call friends, teammates, mentors, coaches and opponents, the travel, all of it, are far more than anything I ever thought possible in my lifetime,’ he wrote. Schilling had surgery last June and had said he might come back in the middle of this season though he was not under contract. He made no reference to his injury on his blog. He was co-MVP of the 2001 World Series with Randy Johnson while in Arizona. Schilling also won World Series titles with Boston in 2004 and 2007. ‘Curt had a great career and made a profound impact on the Red Sox, helping to restore the Red Sox’ status as a championship organization,’ general manager Theo Epstein said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. ‘He was consistently dominant, and never more so than when it mattered most. Not only for what he did – but for when and how he did it – Curt deserves to be remembered with the all-time greats.’ Schilling came to Boston for the 2004 season and helped the team win its first World Series in 86 years, pitching Game 2 of a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals after a surgical procedure to suture a loose tendon in his right ankle and with blood seeping through his sock. The sock is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round in 1986 but was traded to the Baltimore Orioles before playing for the big league club. He pitched for Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia and Arizona before being wooed to the Red Sox by Epstein. Schilling, one of the sport’s hard throwers, finishes his career with 3,116 strikeouts, 14th most in baseball history, a 216-146 record and a 3.46 ERA. He was even better in the postseason, with an 11-2 record, the best of any pitcher with at least 10 decisions, and 2.23 ERA in 19 career starts. ‘The game always gave me far more than I ever gave it,’ Schilling wrote on his blog. ‘All of those things, every single one of those memories is enveloped with fan sights and sounds for me.’ Schilling was 9-8 with a 3.87 ERA in 2007, when he spent seven weeks on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. In the final game of his career, he won Game 2 of Boston’s 2007 World Series sweep of the Colorado Rockies, 2-1. Schilling allowed one run on four hits in 5 1-3 innings and was relieved by Hideki Okajima after walking Todd Helton on a full count. Schilling’s shoulder injury came to light early the following February when he disclosed on his blog that he and the team disagreed about the best way to treat it. He preferred surgery while the team wanted him to rehabilitate it in hopes of having him pitch in 2008. He eventually had surgery on June 23 to repair his right biceps tendon and labrum. Dr. Craig Morgan, the surgeon, said the operation kept Schilling on target to pitch by the middle of this season if he decided to return. Schilling was known for his outspokenness. In March 2005, he testified at a congressional hearing concerning steroids. In July 2007, he said on HBO’s ‘Costas Now’ that the refusals of Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire to address speculation about steroids use were tantamount to admissions. Last September, he criticized former teammate Manny Ramirez during a radio appearance. ‘He was very kind, and well-mannered, but there were spurts and times when you didn’t know who he was,’ Schilling said. ‘You know, he was always kind and nice for the most part, but he’d show up the next day and say, ‘I’m through with this team, I want out now.” Yesterday, Schilling announced he was out of baseball. ‘The game was here long before I was, and will be here long after I am gone,’ he wrote. ‘The only thing I hope I did was never put in question my love for the game, or my passion to be counted on when it mattered most. I did everything I could to win every time I was handed the ball.’