10 Plausible Sports Conspiracy Theories

Curt Schilling's 'Bloody Sock'
A blood stain shows on the sock of Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling as he pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park in Boston, 2004. Detractors said the stain was really ketchup. © RAY STUBBLEBINE/Reuters/Corbis

The championship journey of the 2004 Boston Red Sox is one of the greatest stories in the history of American sport. Dogged by the "Curse of the Bambino," the Red Sox entered the 2004 postseason without a World Series title in 86 years. Down by three games to the hated New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series (ALCS), the Red Sox mounted a miraculous comeback.

Against incredible odds, the Red Sox would go on to win the pennant and then the 100th World Series, lifting the curse forever. And the enduring symbol of Boston's hard-nosed grit and heart was, yes, a bloody sock.

Curt Schilling, Boston's ace starter, suffered an ankle injury that required last-minute surgery before his appearance in Game 6 of the ALCS. As Schilling pitched his way to five strikeouts and only one run in seven innings, the TV cameras returned again and again to his right sock, stained near the ankle with an amoeba of blood.

Schilling went on to bloody a second sock in Game 2 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, prompting accusations of showmanship. Schilling was hardly a media darling, and commentators and columnists openly speculated that Schilling had doctored the sock with ketchup or paint to inflate his own heroics [source: Wilbur].

Whether true blood or Heinz, the bloody sock is part of baseball legend. The second sock recently sold at auction for more than $92,000 [source: Ly]. You want fries with that?