Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (pictured), a potential Hall of Famer, was very close to his father, and was devastated when his father died in January 1988. Later that year, Schilling made the major leagues, but his father had not lived to see it. Schilling told ESPN:
My father was the glue that held us together. When he died, I kind of lost my family.
According to an entry on http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/, in a July 2005 interview, “Schilling revealed that in every difficult situation in life, he first asks what his father would have expected of him. In every game he starts, Curt reserves a seat for his father.” The website adds:
Schilling was very close to his father, the dominant influence in his life. His father helped him believe in himself, but also taught him about discipline and duty. Curt”s father died of lung cancer shortly before Curt made it to the Major Leagues. Curt’s behavior became erratic and unfocused, threatening his major league career, until a father figure, veteran Roger Clemens, took him aside and told him he was wasting his talent. Schilling then got serious about his career and became a dominant pitcher.
In 2004, Schilling pitched for the Red Sox in the World Series, despite having a very painful ankle injury. The injury even bled during the game, but Schilling was effective, and the Red Sox won the World Series. The next year, Schilling had problems because of painful injuries and, being a very competitive athlete, was very upset over his situation. At the time, Schilling’s wife commented to the media on how badly Schilling missed his father, and wished he were there to help him during this difficult time. It was quite a testament to the bond Schilling shared with his father–17 years after his father’s death, Schilling still looked to him for help in a crisis.