The ultimate symbol of the end of the "Curse of the Bambino""The Bloody Sock" Worn by Curt Schilling in Game Two of the 2004 World Series. Call it an apology to Red Sox fans, or at least an earnest attempt to balance the scales. As the highlight piece in the extraordinary Seth Swirsky Collection that anchored the Heritage Sports Collectibles April 2012 Signature Auction, the sale of the notorious "Buckner ball" surely reopened some wounds in Red Sox Nation that had been slowly healing over the ensuing twenty-six years. When the hammer fell, the $418,250 price tag, among the highest figures ever realized for a game used baseball, stood as a testament to the enduring memory of "The Curse of the Bambino."
And, yes, we've since sold a 2004 Championship ring, a number of team signed balls, a game worn jersey or two, but nothing that could legitimately compete with the horsehide muffed in the most famous error in baseball history-until now. As the Buckner ball stands as the definitive symbol of The Curse, so does this historic relic serve as the physical embodiment of its exorcism-the world famous Bloody Sock, arguably the most hallowed artifact in Boston Red Sox lore. And now we can finally learn, on a level playing field, which is worth more to the collecting community-Boston's degradation, or its resurrection.
In a profoundly gutsy performance reminiscent of Roy Hobbs' climactic scene from The Natural, a wounded Curt Schilling ignored the advice of the physician who had pieced back together the ragged tendons of his right ankle and took to the mound, first in a crucial Game Six to stave off American League Championship Series elimination against the hated New York Yankees, and then again in Game Two of the World Series to claim the second victory in a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. In each television broadcast, the cameras repeatedly locked onto the growing red stain at Schilling's sutured push-off ankle as the star right-hander battled to victory over two elite batting line-ups and his own remarkable threshold for pain. By the time the Sox had completed their extraordinary eight-game run to turn the tide from a three-game ALCS deficit to a World Series sweep, the Bloody Sock was firmly implanted in American sports history as the main prop of a script too unbelievable for any Hollywood screenwriter.
In truth, there were two Bloody Socks, but only one survives today, the ALCS specimen unceremoniously discarded in a Yankee Stadium dumpster after Schilling's seven innings of one-run brilliance forced a decisive Game Seven. Here we present the World Series Game Two model, consigned to this auction by Mr. Schilling himself after the sock's retrieval from a Baseball Hall of Fame display. A letter of provenance from the 2004 Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year" will attend.
The otherwise nondescript white tube sock remains mounted to its original backing from its Cooperstown display that centers the dark splotches of blood for viewing, a Rorschach test that reads as "bliss" to millions of New England baseball fans. Check the game tape and you'll recognize the patterns, if you haven't already committed them to memory. Noted 18th century economist Thomas Paine famously wrote, "That which we acquire too easily, we esteem too lightly." There's no such danger here. Sweat alone couldn't break an eighty-six year Curse. Like any great and glorious victory, there had to be blood. Letter of provenance from Curt Schilling. LOA from Heritage Auctions.
"The Bloody Sock" Worn by Curt Schilling in Game Two of the 2004 World Series.
*A donation of $100 to the American Red Cross is required to attend the Live auction.
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