Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is selling the “bloody sock” he wore during the 2004 World Series to help pay off millions in loans he cosigned to finance his failed Rhode Island video game company.
The bloodstained sock, which had been on loan to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., until late December, is scheduled to be auctioned by Heritage Auctions in New York City on Feb. 23. The auctioneer estimated that the sock will fetch more than $100,000, but said it is hard to put a precise value on such an unusual item.
There were actually two bloody socks worn by Schilling during the 2004 playoffs, the result of an unusual emergency surgery the pitcher had to temporarily repair a tissue covering the tendon in his right ankle. During the games, a small amount of blood seeped through the dressing.
The first and more famous sock is from the playoffs against the New York Yankees, when Schilling pitched seven innings to win the crucial sixth game of the American League Championship Series. The 46-year-old pitcher later said he tossed the sock.
The sock to be auctioned is from the second game of the World Series, when he pitched six innings to earn the win in a 6-2 game against the St. Louis Cardinals, whom the Sox eventually swept to win its first title since 1918.
“It’s one of those pieces where the sky is the limit,” said Chris Ivy, director of the sports department for Heritage Auctions. “It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for the Red Sox to finally break the ‘Curse of the Bambino,’ and this is the perfect piece that embodies that.”
Heritage is also auctioning some of Schilling’s other personal items, including a Lou Gehrig baseball cap it estimated could fetch more than $200,000.
Schilling has said he poured virtually his entire baseball fortune into 38 Studios, including $38 million in cash and another $12 million in loans he personally guaranteed. Also, the Globe previously reported, he pledged several items, including the sock, the hat, and an extensive collection of World War II memorabilia to help pay off the debts.
When asked about the sale Thursday on Twitter, Schilling said he wasn’t happy about it, “but I made commitments and obligations I have to honor, so you do what you have to do.”
Schilling, who continues to work as a baseball analyst for ESPN, also put his 26-acre Medfield estate on the market for $3.45 million last September. On Thursday the price was reduced to $3.2 million.
The second sock had been on display at the Hall of Fame since 2005 as part of an exhibit on the Red Sox. But the Hall returned the item to Schilling in late December.
Fans and collectors have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for some other colorful Sox mementos.
A David Ortiz jersey buried under the new Yankee Stadium in an effort to put a curse on the Yankees sold for $175,100 at a charity auction in 2008. The ball that infamously rolled through Bill Buckner’s legs in the Sox’s heartbreaking 1986 World Series loss fetched $418,250 last year.
Meanwhile, Schilling’s video game company is being liquidated to repay creditors.
A court-appointed receiver raised about $830,000 late last year by selling the company’s physical assets — everything from desks to a Schilling poster.
The receiver is still trying to find buyers for the company's intellectual property, but it is not expected to be enough to repay all its debts — including a $75 million loan guaranteed by the State of Rhode Island.