Schilling's postseason magic kept Sox rolling in '04 WS

After bloody sock game in ALCS, righty could barely walk before Game 2 start

Schilling's postseason magic kept Sox rolling in '04 WS

Ten years ago, the Red Sox and their fans were in the midst of an 86-year wait for a World Series championship. And after falling in the deepest of holes -- 3-0 against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series -- everything changed.

Boston would become the first -- and still only -- team in history to win a postseason series after trailing 3-0. And manager Terry Francona's team went on to win the final eight games of that postseason. MLB.com is doing retrospective pieces on the anniversary date of all eight of those wins with remembrances from key voices, continuing today with the 6-2 victory in Game 2 of the World Series.

Though there was still some business to do, the Red Sox were clearly caught up in the magnitude of what they were close to accomplishing. In the hours leading up to Game 2 of the World Series, backup catcher Doug Mirabelli camped out in the players' parking lot and filmed his teammates as they reported for work.

Forgive Curt Schilling -- but he was not in the mood. Scheduled to take the ball for a bloody sock sequel in Game 2 against the Cardinals, Schilling could barely get out of bed on that Sunday morning. His right ankle throbbed with pain, and Schilling had no idea why.

On the day of Game 1 of the World Series, Red Sox team physician Bill Morgan performed the same procedure on Schilling that worked so well on the day prior to Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, suturing his loose ankle tendon to the bone.

"It's like somebody took a hammer and hit that little pointy bone in my ankle and I looked down, and if you looked at my leg, no lie, my calf below the knee was the same size as my ankle," said Schilling. "It went all the way down to my foot. And from the bottom of my calf to the top of my heel, it was [Arizona State] Sun Devil red. I'm looking at it, going, 'Oh my God.' So I can't do anything."

This was no time for Mirabelli's camcorder, a device that was still in vogue back in 2004.

"I was like, 'Dude, turn it off.'" remembers Schilling. "He was like, 'What?' [I said,] 'No, you've got to turn it off.' He's like, 'What's the matter?'"

The answer to Mirabelli's question became evident when Schilling stepped out of the car.

"My foot was bare," Schilling said. "And he was like, 'Oh my God.' And I was like, 'Yeah.' He's like, 'What happened?' I was like, 'I have no idea. I don't know.' So he helps me into the training room ."

Once Schilling got into the training room, everything changed for the better.

It turned out that Morgan had put in an extra stitch in Schilling's ankle 24 hours earlier, and it punctured a nerve. As soon as that stitch was removed, Schilling felt almost instant relief.

"Then, 15 minutes later, I'm walking around like, 'This is perfect, this is great. I can pitch."'

And pitch is exactly what Schilling did, performing the type of magic he would always be known for in the month of October. In 19 career postseason starts, Schilling would go 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA.

He mowed through the heavy-hitting Cardinals by pitching six innings of four-hit ball, allowing just an unearned run.

It was during a moment in the second inning of that game when Schilling couldn't help but feel there was a higher power at work.

"So I'm on the mound, Reggie Sanders is on second base, and Mike Matheny is up," said Schilling. "And I wind up to throw a pitch, and I see Reggie take off. He's got third stolen easy. And Mike fouls the pitch off. I'm thinking, 'Okay, I'm going to turn and throw to second now on this pitch, because that will pick him off.' He's going and he didn't see me see him. And nobody said anything. So I had him picked off. So I come set, and I've done it a million times, just rotate, turn, and go to second. I pick my leg up and I can't throw to second. I don't know why. I can't turn."

Upon inspection of the video, it is clear what Schilling is talking about. His leg kick does take an awkward turn, but he just continued on and delivered to the plate rather than making his move to pick off the runner.

"So I throw the pitch and Reggie goes, Matheny hits a line drive, [third baseman] Billy Mueller catches it, tags Reggie Sanders and the inning ends. I'm walking off the field, and if you see the video, look at the video of me walking off the field and I'm laughing," said Schilling. "I'm thinking to myself, 'OK, that's not funny.' It was one of those things."

By the end of the night, the Red Sox had a 2-0 hold on the Cardinals as they got ready to take the World Series to St. Louis.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.