Curt Schilling emerges from behind the wheel of a Ford F-150 that’s just rumbled into a small strip mall parking lot. It’s a miserable, rainy New England afternoon in mid-January, but Schilling offers a cheerful smile. A black-and-gold Navy SEAL cap hides his straw-colored hair, and his broad shoulders are tucked inside a black jacket adorned with a red, white and blue USO emblem.

He plops into a chair at a little Italian takeout joint a few minutes from his house, and looks, for a moment, like a normal middle-aged guy who’s enjoying the comforts of living in a small town. But he’s the only person in the shop who wonders if he’ll get a phone call this month telling him he’s been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In the 25 years since he emerged as the outspoken ace of the ragtag, mullet-heavy 1993 Philadelphia Phillies, Schilling’s life has played out like a rollercoaster ride routed through a funhouse mirror, an endless series of breathtaking highs and surreal lows.

A combination of pinpoint control on the mound and hard-headed determination — perhaps you’ve heard of the Bloody Sock? — helped him to become one of the most dominant big game pitchers of his generation, one who collected three World Series rings and 3,116 strikeouts during a 20-year career.

But since retiring almost nine years ago, Schilling has seen his legacy routinely overshadowed by controversies that have been rooted, ironically, in his lack of control. He lost $50 million of his own fortune when 38 Studios, the video game company he created from scratch, went belly up in 2012, and then was fired from a cushy job as a baseball analyst at ESPN, thanks to a series of offensive social media posts.