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With item up for auction, Curt Schilling says he'd bet $1 million it's blood on famed sock

Josh Peter, USA TODAY
·3 min read
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The bloody sock Curt Schilling wore while pitching for the Boston Red Sox during Game 2 of the 2004 World Series is up for auction, and so it’s an opportune time to explain why.

The blood that oozed through the white sock from a right ankle injury has long-since dried. It was more than 14 years ago that Schilling and the Boston Red Sox won the World Series title. But the story about the famous sock’s whereabouts feels fresh again.

Schilling bled through his sock during Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, helping the Red Sox overcome a 3-0 series deficit for the first time in baseball history. His injury carried over into the next round, and this sock up for auction is the one he wore during a start against the St. Louis Cardinals in Boston's 4-0 sweep that ended an 86-year title drought.

Schilling originally loaned it to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. But that was before his video game company went bankrupt in 2012, and the following year the sock headed to Texas-based auction.

Al Tapper, a collector from New York, bought it for $92,613. The garment became part of what Tapper calls a one-of-a-kind collection that includes the original home plate from Yankee Stadium, the boxing gloves Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran wore during the “No Mas’’ fight in 1980 and letters written by Babe Ruth to his mistress, Joe DiMaggio to Marylin Monroe and Mickey Mantle to his wife.

A view of the sock up for auction in 2013.
A view of the sock up for auction in 2013.

Those items and a host of others Tapper stored in his New York apartment now are for sale at www.scpauctions.com. The auction began Tuesday and is set to run through April 3.

“There’s a time to buy and there’s a time to sell,’’ said Tapper, 79. “I was going to leave it to my grandchildren, but I realized they’d probably rather have the money.’’

SCP Auctions has estimated the value of the collection at about $2 million.

“There are some incredible pieces there,’’ said David Kohler, founder and president of Southern California-based SCP Auctions.

SCHILLING: Former pitcher leaving Boston area for Tennessee

As far as Schilling’s bloody sock is concerned, the retired pitcher told USA TODAY Sports he has no interest in reacquiring it.

“I wore it, dude,’’ Schilling said, “I don’t need to see it.’’

On his selling the sock in 2013, Schilling said, “I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. I was trying to save a company at the time and I needed all the money I could scrounge up.’’

But Schilling pointed out that cleats he wore during the World Series are in the Hall of Fame and that he still owns the World Series ring. Schilling also brought up that some have theorized the blood on the famous sock was actually ketchup.

“I would tell anybody that’s sticking with the ketchup story that I’ll wager $1 million that it’s blood,’’ he said, “and if you want to test it I’ll gladly take the money.’’

Tapper said his collection began about 20 years ago when he went to Sotheby’s Auction House in New York to look at paintings.

“I went into the wrong room and they were auctioning off memorabilia,’’ he said.

He said he bought a letter written from Jackie Kennedy and never again thought about buying paintings. His collection grew, and it now includes:

– Bobby Thomson’s New York Giants cap worn when he hit his famous pennant-winning home run known as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.’’

– Knute Rockne’s Rosary Beads and Cross, which Tapper said were recovered at the scene of the plane crash in which legendary Notre Dame football coach died in 1931.

– The cleats Ted Williams wore in 1960 when he hit a home run in the final at bat of his career.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Curt Schilling's bloody sock up for auction again