Whether mocked, doubted or venerated, The Bloody Sock is a unique piece of sports memorabilia and it is the symbol of the Boston Red Sox’ cathartic championship of 2004, the one that ended 86 years of aching near-misses and collapses. And the reddest of socks may be put up for sale, collateral damage in the notorious collapse of the defunct game maker 38 Studios.
Curt Schilling, the all-star pitcher and founder of 38 Studios (which made Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and was at work on an MMO under the same license), wore The Bloody Sock in question in Game Two of Boston’s 2004 World Series triumph. The original bloody sock was dumped in the trash at Yankee Stadium after Game Six of that year’s American League Championship Series, in which Boston, against despised rival New York, would become the only team in Major League Baseball history to win a seven-game series it had trailed three games to none.
Schilling was bleeding at his right ankle following an emergency procedure to repair tendon damage suffered in the first round of the playoffs that year. He was one of the American League’s two best pitchers in 2004, so losing him to injury was seen as catastrophic and his return from it miraculous. Yankee fans sneered at the authenticity of the bloodstain, considering it a fabrication to enhance sympathy for Boston and Schilling and then later, the magnitude of the triumph.
Well, a Yankee fan with enough money may be able to buy it and inspect it for himself. Schilling reportedly lost $US50 million in 38’s collapse, a bankruptcy and dissolution he tried to fend off by posting nearly 3,000 gold coins as collateral. That means everything is on the table as he tries to avoid personal bankruptcy, including the bloody sock from Game Two of the World Series — which is on loan for display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Schilling himself also guaranteed $US12 million worth of loans 38 Studios acquired, which is why he’s personally exposed here. Memorabilia experts say the sock could command a price around $US25,000. Though he and his attorneys have declined to comment, an expert contacted by The Boston Globe said listing the sock in a collateral filing with the state indicates Schilling has agreed to sell it, along with other memorabilia he owns, including a cap worn by the Yankees’ all-time great Lou Gehrig. That’s significant because Schilling has made donating to research of ALS, the disease that killed Gehrig, a personal cause.
The banks and Schilling have declined to comment. His home and a stake in a private equity firm also are in the collateral filing, as is his collection of World War II memorabilia, which includes Nazi uniforms.
As an athlete, Schilling made few friends with a confrontational and outspoken style and his politics certainly are at odds with much of blue-state New England. He may not have been the best candidate for running a games studio either, and those who lost their jobs are faring worse than a millionaire athlete. But it’s not like he took the money and ran.
And the Bloody Sock is, like it or not, a piece of baseball history and an icon of something unprecedented in North America’s oldest professional sport. Whoever buys it, I hope they keep it on loan at Cooperstown.
Schilling may have to sell ‘bloody sock’ [The Boston Globe]