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Why Curt Schilling Is Still Mad At Red Sox Ownership

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Curt Schilling penned a letter to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week, in which he requested that if he were to earn enshrinement, his first choice for team representation would be the Arizona Diamondbacks. His second choice would be the Philadelphia Phillies. Under no circumstances, it seemed, would Schilling want to wear the cap of the Boston Red Sox on his potential Cooperstown plaque.

As we know now, he didn't have to worry about that. He came up 16 votes shy of earning enshrinement. Coming so close might have actually meant that he could get over the 75 percent voting threshold in 2022, his final season on the ballot. Yet Schilling also requested that his name be removed from the ballot next year, while simultaneously bashing the voters who make those Hall of Fame choices every year. So the matter of which cap Schilling would wear is looking like a non-issue.

What did stand out, though, was the way that Schilling made sure to attack Red Sox owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner in that message to the Hall of Fame.

"What Mr. Henry and Mr. Werner did to my family and I in my final year has been forgiven but will never be forgotten," Schilling wrote in part of his 1,100-plus-word letter.

Schilling's final season playing for the Red Sox came in 2007, when the Red Sox won their second World Series in four years. He re-signed for the 2008 season for $8 million, but he was injured in February and ended up never throwing a pitch for the team that season.

According to Schilling, team management accused him of faking the injury.

"I thought I had a very close relationship with all three [John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino], absolutely," Schilling said on the "Enough About Me" podcast in 2016, as transcribed by the blog BoSoxInjection. "That meeting we had when we got together with the player rep, they said things to me in that meeting that made me realize that they never gave a [expletive] about me."

Schilling added: "The thought that they might think I was lying bowled me over, because I was taking pain meds all through this time. From '04 to when I retired, whenever I needed it. I knew why, because I wanted to pitch, and they wanted me to pitch. But when I was done, they were done."

That resentment obviously never went away, though Schilling did show up to Fenway Park in 2012 for his induction into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox
Curt Schilling throws a ceremonial pitch at his Red Sox Hall of Fame ceremony in 2012. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Schilling also showed up in 2014 for a celebration of the 2004 team, as well as for Pedro Martinez's number retirement in 2015.

Curt Schilling, David Ortiz
With Keith Foulke in the background, Curt Schilling hugs David Ortiz during a celebration of the 2004 World Series team in 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Schilling also partook in a 10-year celebration of the 2007 World Series team in 2017 at Fenway Park.

Yet in 2018, after Schilling had been fired from ESPN for posting inappropriate memes, Schilling was not invited to throw out a first pitch during the 2018 World Series alongside a number of his former teammates.

That snub didn't keep him out of Fenway permanently, though, as he was part of the 2019 Opening Day celebration, which included a ring ceremony for the 2018 champs.

So, Schilling's connection with the Red Sox has been somewhat spotty since his final year with the team. But according to his latest missive, the root of that sour relationship can be traced back to the doubts expressed about his injury in 2008.

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