Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Baseball Cards, Uncategorized

Autograph of the week: Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling's 1996 Leaf Signature Series silver card
Curt Schilling’s 1996 Leaf Signature Series silver card

Curt Schilling is in my prayers after he announced this week that he is battling cancer.

The 20-year Major League Baseball veteran has not enjoyed good fortune since retiring from the game. Schilling lost $50 million of his own money and millions more in taxpaper money when his video game studio failed spectacularly in 2012.

But on the pitcher’s mound, Schilling was a borderline Hall of Famer. His bloody sock remains one of the enduring images of the Boston Red Sox’ remarkable 2004 playoff run that ended the 86-year-old “Curse of the Bambino.” Schilling won three World Series rings and was the MVP of the 2001 fall classic for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

A six-time All-Star, Schilling was the runner-up in the Cy Young Award balloting on three occasions. He twice led the league in victories, had three separate seasons with 300 or more strikeouts and on four occasions, led the league in complete games. Schilling retired with a 216-146 lifetime record, a 3.46 career ERA and 3,116 strikeouts.

The Baltimore Orioles included Schilling in one of the worst trades in team history in 1991. Baltimore sent Schilling, outfielder Steve Finley and pitcher Pete Harnisch to the Houston Astros for aging slugger Glenn Davis.

Davis spent three seasons in Baltimore, but played only 185 games, hitting .247 with 24 home runs and 85 RBI. Finley went on to play for 19 seasons and was a two-time All-Star. Harnisch had a serviceable 14-year career.

But Orioles fans can feel a little better about Schilling being the one that got away: in 1992, the Astros sent him on to the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade for Jason Grimsley, who was released without ever appearing in a game for Houston.

Baseball card companies have released hundreds of Curt Schilling certified autograph cards over the years. The ones from the 1996 Leaf Signature Series set were the first and are among the most common. I have the silver version, which is limited to 1,000 copies. There are also bronze (3,500) and gold (500) versions. I paid around $25 for mine a few years ago, and looking at some recent completed listings on eBay, I did not get an especially good deal.

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