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Schillings try $8m pitch

By Ralph Ranalli
Globe Staff / April 20, 2008
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It has eight bathrooms, a pool, a multi-purpose athletic court that can be configured for tennis, basketball, or even ice hockey, and all the sports celebrity cachet a buyer could ever want.

Oh yeah, and an $8 million price tag.

While formally labeled the "Woodridge Estate," the 26-acre property at 7 Woodridge Road is known to virtually everyone in Medfield as "the Schilling House" - as in Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and his wife, Shonda. The couple bought the house in 2004 from former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe for $4.5 million, and have now put it back on the market for nearly twice that.

News that the Schillings are selling the home briefly set tongues wagging about the family's future in Medfield, considering that the 2004 World Series hero has been involved in a battle of wills with Red Sox management over whether he should try to rehabilitate his ailing pitching shoulder with exercise or have surgery.

The discussion got even more interesting last week when Curt Schilling's personal doctor suggested that the pitcher was considering having surgery against team wishes and - heavens! - pitching for the Yankees in 2009.

The couple, Curt on his blog and sports radio and Shonda through a spokeswoman, quickly doused such talk, and insisted that there would be no move out of Medfield or into New York pinstripes.

Listing agent Eileen Strong-O'Boy with Hammond GMAC Real Estate, confirmed that the Schillings are staying in Medfield. Unlike most celebrities, she said, the Schillings are looking for less privacy and seclusion than they have now at their sprawling estate, which sits at the end of a long driveway and is protected by a security gate.

They plan to sell the estate, buy a plot of land in one of Medfield's existing neighborhoods, and build a new house, she said.

"They want more neighbors," said Strong-O'Boy, who helped the Schillings buy the estate from Bledsoe. "They want their kids to be able to run over to someone else's yard. They're really very down-to-earth people who just want their kids to be kids."

The Schillings have often expressed their affection for Medfield, and the town has responded in kind.

The softball and baseball complex at the town's high school and middle school campus was recently renovated thanks in large part to a donation from the couple, for which the Medfield School Committee renamed the facility the "Shonda Schilling Baseball/Softball Field."

Strong-O'Boy said she's received a lot of interest in the Schilling property, but concedes the pool of serious prospective buyers is likely to be a fairly select group.

With seven bedrooms and a variety of recreational amenities, it is "a real family house" that probably wouldn't be appropriate for empty-nesters, she said. However, its unique features give it an appeal that goes beyond other properties in its rarified price range, she said.

"I don't think you're going to find another 26-acre property within a half-hour drive of Boston that's also gated," she said.

Other amenities include an eight-car garage, a spa, multiple fireplaces, a game room, a library, a home theater room, and centralized systems for security, heat, air conditioning, and vacuuming.

The house has created a buzz in the real estate blogosphere on sites like Real Estalker, which focuses on celebrity properties.

Judy McDonald, an agent with the Prudential Page Realty office in Medfield, said the Schilling property will be a challenge to sell in a tough market.

Of the 76 properties on the market in Medfield, two are listed for more than $2 million: the Schilling house and another priced at $4.5 million.

During the first three months of this year, McDonald said, only 13 houses in the town have sold, half the number from the same period last year, for an average price of about $550,000.

"It's the most expensive house in town . . . probably a celebrity's house," she said. "Maybe someone from the Patriots will buy it. Who knows?"

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