- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2007

12:29 p.m.

BOSTON — It may take DNA experts to finally settle the rumors surrounding Curt Schilling’s famous bloody sock.

Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne said on the air last night that Schilling painted the sock red as a public relations stunt in the Boston Red Sox’s Game 6 win over the New York Yankees in the 2004 AL championship series.

“It was painted,” Thorne said during the Orioles-Red Sox game. “Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR.”

But Mirabelli, Boston’s backup catcher, later denied ever talking to Thorne, telling the Boston Globe that Thorne’s comment was “a straight lie.” Mirabelli was expected to be available before tonight’s season-finale against the Orioles.

“I never said that,” Mirabelli said. “I know it was blood. Everybody knows it was blood.”

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein declined to comment.

The sock is the one Schilling wore after doctors jury-rigged his ankle so he could pitch against the Yankees. A second bloody sock, which was blotched after Schilling pitched Game 2 in the World Series, is at the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Hall of Fame spokesman Jeff Idelson said he has “no idea” where Schilling’s bloody sock from the ALCS is being kept but is confident that the second bloody sock, which Schilling delivered to Cooperstown himself, is authentic.

“We have no reason to doubt Curt, who has a profound respect for the history of the game and is cognizant of his role as a history maker,” he said. He added that “the stain on the sock is now brown, which is what happens to blood over time.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he was disappointed at Thorne’s claims of a hoax.

“What we’re going through today as a nation, you hate to use a word like heroic on the field, but what Schill did that night on the sports field was one of the most incredible feats I ever witnessed,” Francona told the Globe.

The charge that Schilling faked the bloody sock has been made before, including in GQ magazine, which cited an anonymous Red Sox player as its source. Schilling again promised that red blood — not ink, nor paint — blotted the sock, as did Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar, a member of the 2004 Red Sox World Series team.

“I got the nine-inch scar for you,” Schilling told the paper. “You can see it.”

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