Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling on pace for Hall of Fame induction

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is currently on pace to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame but there are many more votes to be counted.

Is this the year that Curt Schilling finally gets the call to Cooperstown? He’s trending in the right direction. With nearly a third of the votes tallied, the former Boston Red Sox pitcher is currently above the threshold for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

According to Hall of Fame tracker Ryan Thibodaux, Schilling has appeared on 78.9% of the 123 ballots that have been counted thus far. It takes at least 75% to get elected when the final tally is revealed.

Less than one-third of the results have been made public so Schilling has a long way to go but these early returns are encouraging. He fell well short with only 60.9% last year. Even if the remaining ballots push his percentage under the required threshold, it appears he’s making progress.

This is Schilling’s eighth year on the ballot. If he doesn’t get in this year, he’ll only have two more chances before he becomes ineligible.

Honestly, it’s baffling that it’s taken this long to induct Schilling. Based on his production on the mound, he should be considered a lock.

Schilling spent 20 years in the majors, winning 216 games with a 3.46 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He was a workhorse, topping 200 innings nine times and leading the league in innings pitched twice.

His 8.6 K/9 may seem pedestrian by today’s standards but at his peak, Schilling was among the best strikeout artists in the game. He struck out 300+ batters three times in his career, including twice when he led the majors in that category.

The postseason stage is where Schilling shined brightest. He was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason starts. He was the World Series MVP in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and he won two more rings with the Red Sox (2004, 2007).

The knocks against Schilling are a bit overblown. He was a late bloomer who didn’t emerge as an All-Star until the age of 30 yet he still managed to make six appearances in the Midsummer Classic. He never won a Cy Young but he was the runner-up three times, including consecutive seasons when he finished behind his own teammate, Randy Johnson.

He was well short of 300 wins, a total that many consider the magic ticket to Cooperstown. That’s partially due to not being a full-time starter for portions of his early career. Besides, haven’t we learned by now that wins aren’t an effective way of evaluating a pitcher’s performance?

These excuses don’t hold much water but have been used to hide the real reason why some writers have refused to put Schilling’s name on their ballot – they just don’t like him.

There’s no doubt that Schilling’s outspoken political views have made him a polarizing figure. He’s done himself no favors by alienating the same media members responsible for voting for the Hall of Fame. He’s made enemies from his questionable business decisions and the crazy things he says on Twitter.

Fine, you don’t need to be a fan of the man but the Hall of Fame is about how he performed as a player. In that regard, he’s clearly worthy. It’s not the Hall of Nice Guys. Plenty of players have been enshrined in Cooperstown despite questionable character traits. Using the character clause as an excuse is a bit of a stretch unless the person is guilty of truly terrible offenses or crimes. It shouldn’t be used when you disagree with his opinions or because you think he’s a jerk.

Schilling’s numbers speak for themselves. He belongs in the Hall of Fame and based on current trends, it seems this injustice is on the verge of being rectified.