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March 24, 2009 10:05 AM

Curt Schilling Blogs His Way Into Retirement

Late yesterday, Curt Schilling, former Orioles, Astros, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Red Sox pitcher, announced he was taking his bloody sock and heading home. And for someone nicknamed "Red Light" for always knowing which camera was pointed on him in Philadelphia, Schilling surprisingly kept his announcement low-key, choosing to post it his blog, 38Pitches.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over”

I used to wait with bated breath for Don Meredith to start singing that on “Monday Night Football.” Normally, it was sweet music if the Steelers were playing.

If I could get him to sing it again, I would. This party has officially ended. After being blessed to experience 23 years of playing professional baseball in front of the world’s best fans in so many different places, it is with zero regrets that I am making my retirement official.

Schilling, 42, hasn't pitched since 2007, missing all of last year after suffering a shoulder injury. In 20-professional seasons, Schilling compiled a 216-146 record and a 3.46 ERA, with 3,116 strikeouts (14th all-time). But he'll always be remembered for the way he excelled when it it mattered most.

In 19 postseason starts, he was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA, striking out 120 batters in 133.1 innings. But of course, he'll always be known best for what he did the night of Oct. 19, 2004, in Yankee Stadium, pitching the Red Sox to a 4-2 win over the Yankees, all with a now-famous bloody sock. "It was freezing, raining, cold as hell, and the guy just had open surgery on his ankle," said David Ortiz. "I'll tell you what, man. He showed me a lot of guts. I had a lot of respect for Curt."

The question now of course turns to: will he get in the Hall of Fame? According to his Baseball Reference page, of the 10 other pitchers he's most similar to, only three are currently in Cooperstown (Don Drysdale, Dazzy Vance and Catfish Hunter). But for at least two voters, Schilling did enough to earn his place among the greatest ever.

Rob Neyer: "Perhaps this question has already been answered to your satisfaction, but I know I'm going to be asked a few dozen times in the next few days: Is Schilling a Hall of Famer? Of course he is.

It's not his 216 career wins. It's not his .597 career winning percentage. It's not his 11-2 record in postseason games, or his 2.23 ERA. It's not even the bloody sock.

It's all of those things."

And his ESPN co-worker, Jayson Stark: "For a lot of people, I know, this man's Hall of Fame worthiness is going to be a tough call. Not for me.

When I watched him pitch, I knew exactly what I was watching. Greatness."

Six-time All-Star, three 20-win seasons, three World Series rings, one World Series MVP, plus the 2001 Roberto Clemente Award, and one curse ended: it will be tough to leave him out.

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