Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is close to Hall of Fame induction
Election into the Hall of Fame requires players to appear on at least 75 percent of the ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Unfortunately for former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, they don’t round up to the nearest full number.
Nearly 40 percent of the ballots have been counted by Hall of Fame tracker Ryan Thibodaux and none of the eligible players have reached the threshold for induction yet. Schilling tops the list, falling short by mere fractions of a percentage point at 74.7 percent.
That means that 118 of the 158 ballots counted so far included Schilling. If one more of those voters had checked the box next to Schilling’s name it would be enough to push him across the threshold (75.3 percent). If the next two ballots counted include Schilling, 120 out of 160 would give him exactly the 75 percent he needs.
Granted, we’re still a long way from determining the final total with fewer than half the ballots counted. There’s still plenty of time for Schilling to make up those fractions of a percentage point. On the other hand, his percentage could dip if it turns out that the early voters were more favorable to his candidacy.
Schilling’s resume is undoubtedly worthy of Cooperstown. The six-time All-Star won 216 games with a 3.46 ERA in his career. He led the league in strikeouts twice and topped 300 on three occasions. He was the runner-up on the Cy Young ballot three times and made the top-10 on the MVP ballot in two of those seasons. Schilling was one of the most dominant postseason pitchers of the modern era, earning three championship rings (two with the Red Sox) and a World Series MVP award.
It’s not the accolades that are the problem, it’s Schilling’s attitude that is keeping him out of the Hall of Fame. He has a very combative relationship with the media, who happen to be the ones responsible for voting for the Hall of Fame. Some voters have left him off their ballot simply because they don’t like him as a person, while some have pointed to the character clause in the Hall of Fame criteria to justify their reasons for excluding him.
There’s no doubt that Schilling’s ultra-conservative political takes have held him back and he sparked a fresh batch of controversy with a tweet that supported the actions of the rioters who attacked the Capitol building.
While many were rightfully disgusted with Schilling for siding with those who threatened our democracy, it won’t impact his chances of getting into Cooperstown. This incident occurred after the deadline for submitting ballots. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, only one BBWAA voter asked to update his ballot to remove Schilling in the wake of this travesty. The request was denied with the explanation that a ballot mailed is a ballot cast.
Schilling played a pivotal role in reversing an 86-year curse when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series and he earned another ring at the end of his career in 2007. As a Red Sox fan, I would like to see Schilling rewarded for those efforts.
As someone who believes the Hall of Fame should recognize the production of baseball’s greatest players, even those who gained an edge from performance-enhancing drugs, it feels hypocritical to want Schilling to be held back based on his character. It’s not as if everyone enshrined in Cooperstown is a saint. There are worse villains than Schilling who have received baseball’s greatest honor.
Ultimately, I believe that Schilling will get into Cooperstown and he deserves to. However, based on his recent vile comments, I hope it’s not this year. Let him sweat it out for another year and vote him in on his 10th and final year of eligibility.