Jordan's flu can't compare with Schilling's ankle, Hobbs' bullet wound
Posted: Wednesday October 20, 2004 1:13PM; Updated: Wednesday October 20, 2004 1:13PM
In honor of Curt Schilling taking the mound for Game 6 against the Yankees with a busted ankle, SI.com put together its Top 10 Playing with Pain Moments. Here is what some of our readers had to say:
Words do not provide the appropriate justice to describe what Curt Schilling just did last night. The medical staff attached the torn tendon in his right ankle to something under the ankle skin to prevent it from popping back and forth as so to let him pitch with his career on the line. Blood seeped out of the sutures placed under his sock on his ankle ala Roy Hobbs in The Natural. Only this was real life. Heroicism personified. Absolutely the No. 1 most courageous performance in sports history took place last night in Yankee Stadium. Again, words did not do justice.
How in the world can you not include Ronnie Lott? He lost part of his finger to play! Lost part of his finger FOREVER! All of these injuries healed. He can't grow a new finger. Ken Norton, first fight. Ali fought almost the entire fight with a broken jaw against a very strong, hard-punching Norton. Ali lost a decision, but no wonder. Amazing survival story. A lesser man would have been in the hospital.
A severely dehydrated Pete Sampras in the 1996 US Open quarterfinals fought off a match point from Alex Corretja, threw up twice on the court, and still managed to pull out a five-set victory. Pete eventually went on to win the championship.
Curt Schilling pitching with blood soaking his sock in Game 6 of this year's ALCS. His frayed tendon was sutured down by team doctors the day before the game, out of position, so it wouldn't keep popping in and out of place when he pushed off. Curt still brought mid-90's heat and gave up just one run, a solo home run to Bernie Williams. In so doing, Schilling slung the entire weight of a tortured sports franchise and its fans onto his back and became, literally, the one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest. And he won.
No doubt it was Curt Schilling last night in game six against the Evil Empire! With Blood around his battered ankle pitches seven solid innings and helps lead the Red Sox to Game 7! I would put it in the top two or three playing with pain moment!
You've got to make room for Mickey Mantle somewhere on this list.
Brett Favre when he played shortly after the passing of his father. Nothing is more painful than the lose of a loved one. No physical pain can equal this kind of emotional pain.
Your No. 8 -- Michael Jordan with the Flu ... PLEASE! What a crock! Everyone else has broken legs, blown out knees and torn ligaments ... Jordan's flu case is a joke! The flu ... HAHA .. This might be of significance if he was a senior citizen or an infant and younger.
At the 1995 PBR World Finals Rodeo, Tuff Hedeman had his face destroyed by the legendary bucking bull, Bodacious. Tuff underwent 6 1/2 hours of reconstructive surgery including the insertion of six titanium plates to hold his face together. However, despite all this Tuff was back on the bulls six weeks later, 50 pounds lighter and still not completely healed.
Tyler Hamilton riding virtually the entire '03 Tour de France with a broken collarbone, getting fourth place overall, and scoring an incredible solo stage win along the way. That's three weeks straight of playing with pain.
Steve Yzerman's playing with pain is by far the most impressive of these. He did it over a two month period playing every other day. Everybody else in here did it for two games at most with about a week off in between. It is not as dramatic but is a lot more impressive.
Larry Bird. 1992. Horrific pain in his back and add an additional minor concussion he received in the first period of the hotly contested playoff game with the Indiana Pacers. Bird is dazed and momentarily out when he dove for a loose ball and landed on his face. He is helped from the floor. With his team losing in the fourth quarter Larry Legend straps his shoes back on and comes back to the hallowed Boston Garden parquet. He goes for 18 in the final quarter single-handedly keeping his teams championship hopes alive.
I should be used to sportswriters ignoring NASCAR by now, but those drivers routinely fight 500 grueling miles with severe injuries that would make most people cry for their mommies. The two most memorable I can think of off the top of my head are Dale Earnhardt's winning the pole and finishing 6th at the Watkins Glen road course with a broken sternum after a horrific crash at Talledega, and Ricky Rudd racing with his eyes taped open after a nasty wreck left his face so bruised that his eyes had swollen shut. I think those should at least rank above the flu and a strained hamstring.
In the 1976 Olympics, Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto injured his leg during the floor exercise. What he didn't know then was that he had actually broken his kneecap. He then competed on the pommel horse, scoring a 9.5 The next event was the rings, which required a high flying dismount. By this time Fujimoto was in agony. But he competed anyway, and performed an outstanding routine, scoring 9.7. When he landed, he was in obvious agony, but stuck the dismount before hobbling off the stage. By that time the injury was apparent, and the team doctors refused to allow him to participate any further. But what he had done, for his team, was astounding. He helped the Japanese upset the Soviets for the gold team medal.
My favorite pain moment is when Greg Williams coached the bills for 2 seasons with out a BRAIN! Ouch that hurt to watch.
There are different kinds of pain. So, Id have to add Paul O'Neill, showing up at Shea Stadium just hours after the death of his father, and playing the whole of the deciding game of that year's World Series.
Even if you're not a hockey fan, you had to marvel at the sight of Paul Kariya hitting a slap shot from the blue line after being knocked unconscious earlier in the same 2003 Stanley Cup Finals game. Kariya was flattened! The Mighty Ducks may have lost the Cup to New Jersey, but that moment endures as one of the great acts of heroic hockey in the past decade.
Pedro Martinez, whose game one start in the 1999 Division Series Series against Cleveland was cut short by a strained muscle in his back, returning to pitch 6 no-hit innings of relief in the decisive-- and wild-- fifth game which saw the Sox overcome a 2 game deficit to win the series.
How could you forget Isiah Thomas in the 1988 NBA Finals? The greatest quarter by an NBA player in the finals ever on a bad ankle. Oh, I know why, because they lost. If the Pistons had won this would be the greatest playing with pain story ever. But not to be listed? That's a shame. He hobbled up and down the court and beat Lakers like Magic who had two good feet time and time again. Please add to the list and drop MJ's flu. The Flu??? Come on.
Blaire Varnes of Florida State University pitching in the College World Series Championship game against the arch-rival Miami Hurricanes with a massive brace on his plant leg to stabilize the knee with a torn ACL. Varnes kept the Seminoles in a game that they would ultimate lose, but his performance -- as a 19 year old on a national stage -- was the gutsiest I've ever seen.
Nolan Ryan pitching with a busted lip, covered in blood to beat the White Sox after Bo Jackson nailed him with a grounder. Already a dominating pitcher, you now have to face him with blood flowing from his lips? Just stand there and take the strike out.
How can you forget Roy Hobbs? The dude was shot and had a friggin' bullet inside of him as he played for the storied franchise of the New York Knights. Forget the fact that the girl that shot him won over Gene Hackman's heart in Hoosiers. I mean no one on your list was shot, you got to give Roy his due respect.