Curt Schilling retired in 2009 with three World Series rings and a track record as one of the greatest postseason pitchers in MLB history. The beginning of his career wasn’t quite as illustrious. Schilling didn’t make varsity until his senior year at Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.) and wasn’t drafted out of high school, but he never questioned his lifelong dream of making the bigs. We caught up with the “Baseball Tonight” analyst to find out how he went from JV to MVP.
Schilling on dealing with the adversity of getting cut from varsity:
I had a good dad who told me I didn’t make the varsity team because I wasn’t good enough. Some other kids in my area that didn’t make the varsity team, their dads filed a petition to have the coach fired. My dad explained it to me this way: “You’re gonna work for a lot of people in life that you aren’t gonna like, but that doesn’t mean you quit the job. If you want to play varsity baseball you’ve got to figure out how to get good enough to make the team.”
On whether he’d go back and do anything different to make varsit y earlier:
I wouldn’t change any of it. There were some really valuable lessons for me in that. It served me very well in my professional career. I had a lot of great coaches and great managers, but I also played for some guys who weren’t that great.
On his attitude while he was coming up:
I can honestly say, with my hand to God, there was never a second in my life where I thought about what would happen if I didn’t make the big leagues. I never, ever thought I wasn’t going to make it. I always knew I was, so everything to me was a natural part of that progression: Getting sent down, getting called up, getting cut from the big league team during spring training, that was just how it was supposed to happen.
On how that attitude benefitted him:
I played with a lot of guys who couldn’t do that, who were always worried about everybody else. In the minor leagues you’ve got all these guys saying, “I can’t believe this guy or that guy got called up over me.” You begin to realize, “If I’m good enough, I’ll be playing in the big leagues with somebody.” I think it carries over to more things than just baseball.