The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees have the most intense rivalry in MLB. Even if you are tired of hearing about those two squads — or the cities of Boston and New York in general — you have to admit that.
Only the Sox and the Yanks could turn a bloody sock into an expensive piece of baseball history. That story begins with the ankle of Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. What happened during his infamous “bloody sock” game and where is that famed piece of clothing today?
Curt Schilling’s Bloody Sock Game
The 2004 ALCS pitted the Yankees and Red Sox against each other once again. Before the American League Championship Series, Schilling had suffered a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle against the Angels, which required stitches. However, after winning a World Series MVP with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, Schilling had joined the Red Sox, so he was not about to back down.
Schilling took the mound for Game 1, but the ankle injury seemed like it might be bothering the right-hander. The Yankees were up 6-0 after three innings, which looked like a sign of things to come. New York went up three games to zero in the ALCS, a deficit no MLB team had overcome.
The Red Sox would not leave the playoffs quietly, though. Thanks to two extra-inning wins at Fenway Park, the series headed back to Yankee Stadium for Game 6. Schilling would retake the mound, but could his ankle hold up?
Yes and no. Schilling’s performance was impressive, as he went seven innings and only allowed one run. However, his ankle stitches didn’t hold up. Blood became visible within Schilling’s white sock, presumably dripping down into his cleats. Despite this fact, Schilling kept pitching to try and keep Boston’s postseason hopes alive.
Thus, the “Bloody Sock Game” was born. Here’s how memorable Schilling’s blood-soaked footwear was: People often forget this was the game where Alex Rodriguez slapped Bronson Arroyo’s arm to knock the ball out of his glove.
The Red Sox would win Game 6 to force a Game 7 where they completed the never-before-seen-in-MLB comeback to take the pennant. Boston would head to the 2004 World Series to face the St. Louis Cardinals. Schilling took the mound for a Game 2 win with that banged-up ankle. The Sox swept the Cards, winning the World Series for the first time since 1918.
What Happened to the Sock (and Schilling)?
Curt Schilling’s bloody sock would end up, in all places, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Well, at least it was there for a while. Schilling started a video game company called 38 Studios which got a $75 million loan from the state of Rhode Island. The company quickly fell apart, and the state sued Schilling in 2012. 38 Studios would file for bankruptcy, and the company had to pay the state back $61 million.
Schilling is desired around less than a bloody piece of clothing by many people. The former pitcher became an analyst for ESPN in 2010, but his social media activities were his downfall. Schilling has posted many hateful, prejudiced things online, mainly related to Muslims and transgender individuals. This led to ESPN firing Schilling in 2016.
Still, the bloody sock game will forever be a part of Red Sox lore. For many Boston fans, it’s likely gotten harder to celebrate the man who was wearing that sock. At least the sock has never spouted hate speech.