Red Sox News: Curt Schilling misses Cooperstown, forfeits 2022 eligibility
Former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling misses the Hall of Fame
For the ninth year in a row former Boston Red Sox righty, Curt Schilling’s phone didn’t ring with the news that he’d be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. This year felt different though as the numbers were all trending in a direction that made it feel like it was an obvious move for the World Series champion to make his way to Cooperstown. However, the pitcher’s well-known views on the world are likely the reason he didn’t get inducted and would have most likely been the reason for his lack of inclusion next year as well if things came to that.
Not only did Schilling miss the necessary 75% margin by just 16 votes, but many also wanted to remove him from their already casted ballots due to his support of the attack on the Capitol three weeks ago. I’ve made the argument for him to be inducted based on the body of work from his 20-year career, but his off the field stuff makes it really hard to defend him.
Things took another turn this evening though as the right-hander made it known that he was forfeiting his final year of eligibility in 2022 and wants to be removed from the ballot for next year. It’s a bit of an off reaction to not being inducted but in the same sense, it feels very on-brand for Schilling. He didn’t get inducted so to punish the voters he’s taking himself off the ballot so they can go ahead and not vote for him again next year. That’s a bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote that if Schilling had been inducted that he wanted to represent the Arizona Diamondbacks. If he couldn’t go that route then he was going to choose the Philadelphia Phillies, the team that gave him his biggest opportunity in the early days of his career. Nightengale would then go on to mention his feelings on the Red Sox and Schilling made it very clear that he would’ve never worn a Boston hat in Cooperstown.
Now, many of you may be scratching your heads wondering what in the hell Schilling is talking about here, and I was right there with you. I then fired up the old Google machine and did a little digging to see what may have happened in 2008. We all know that he had surgery that season and didn’t even pitch an inning, so what was the issue?
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I stumbled upon an article written by our very own Sean Penney from all the way back in 2016 that gives us the answer to our question. According to Schilling, ahead of the 2008 season the ownership group approached him and questioned the validity of an injury he was working through. From that moment on he was done with that team and has held that against John Henry and Tom Werner ever since. Four years since that interview and around 13 years since the event took place and it still weighs on the former ace’s mind.
By taking his name off of the ballot for 2022 Schilling is leaving his induction in the hands of the Veteran’s Committee, which may be a smart play on his behalf. He knows he won’t be inducted by the writers, especially with his history with the media, so he’s going to give the power to those that have been in his shoes. It still feels a bit like a kid throwing a tantrum because he didn’t get invited to the party, so the party is stupid and he didn’t want to go anyway.
If he was going to get inducted into the Hall of Fame this was going to be the year. However, having barely missed the mark once again and knowing that the voters aren’t going to let him get any closer, he took himself out of the race. A guy who more than has the numbers to qualify him for Cooperstown may never get the chance to join the hallowed Hall because he can’t get out of his own way.