Boston's owner praises pitcher

Updated: December 1, 2003, 1:18 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Curt Schilling epitomizes the kind of player Red Sox owner John Henry wants to see in a Boston uniform.

In an e-mail to reporters Sunday evening, Henry praised Schilling's conduct during negotiations and the pitcher's charity work.

He also said the quality of Red Sox fans was "a major reason Curt Schilling decided to complete his career in Boston."

The Red Sox acquired the 37-year-old right-hander from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday after he waived his no-trade clause and agreed to a $25.5 million, two-year extension through 2006.

But money wasn't the most important thing to Schilling during negotiations, Henry said.

"There almost certainly is another franchise that would have paid him more money, but this was about his career," he said, adding that Schilling had found a team whose organizational philosophy was close to his own.

"It was Curt's goal that his deal not adversely impact the competitiveness of the franchise. We had the same goal."

The Red Sox are courting free agent Keith Foulke, and Henry said he hoped the reliever decides to move to Boston. Foulke was in Boston last week to talk to team management, but may still decide to stay with the Oakland Athletics or sign with the New York Mets.

Henry did not mention the team's search for a manager. Terry Francona, Schilling's former manager in Philadelphia, is expected to get the job this week.

The owner did address Boston's rivalry with the Yankees and New York owner George Steinbrenner.

"All I can tell you," Henry said, "is that the one memory of him that will stand out for me this season was when the Red Sox and NESN, the Patriots, Celtics and Bruins joined WEEI in raising in a record amount of money one day for the Jimmy Fund, George M. Steinbrenner was a call-in that day and a major contributor. That's the only comment I will make."

Henry said Red Sox fans were a big reason Schilling accepted the trade.

"So I want to thank all of our fans who have made the Red Sox such a viable economic and spiritual force," he said. "Despite, a very tough ending to the season, our fans are more resolute than ever to see this team succeed."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press