Curt Schilling wouldn’t wear a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque

Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling throws against the Oakland Athletics, Tuesday, May 25, 2004, at Fenway Park in Boston. (Photo by J Rogash/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling throws against the Oakland Athletics, Tuesday, May 25, 2004, at Fenway Park in Boston. (Photo by J Rogash/Getty Images) /

Curt Schilling still holds a grudge against the Boston Red Sox

Curt Schilling‘s chances of being inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame are trending in the wrong direction but he’s already put plenty of thought into which team he plans to represent if he does get in. Spoiler Alert: It won’t be the Boston Red Sox.

Schilling appeared on the Faith On The Field radio show to discuss his candidacy in what will be his final year of eligibility on the ballot. He explained that the decision of which team’s cap he would wear on his Hall of Fame plaque boiled down to the Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks.

While his nine seasons with the Phillies were by far the most he spent with any organization, his ascension to a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher began in Arizona. Schilling paired with Randy Johnson to form a dominant duo in the desert, finishing as the runner-up to his teammate for the NL Cy Young award in consecutive seasons and sharing co-MVP honors in the 2001 World Series. As much as he cherished his time in Philadelphia, representing the Diamondbacks feels like the right choice for Schilling.

One thing he was clear on is that it won’t be a Red Sox cap on his plaque. Schilling was a key member of two World Series championship teams in Boston, the first of which ended an 86-year title drought for the franchise. The infamous Bloody Sock game was one of the defining moments of his career. His accomplishments in a Red Sox uniform warrant consideration for representing this team if he gets the call to the Hall. Schilling has seemingly ruled out Boston though and his reasons have nothing to do with anything that happened while he was on the mound. His grudge is with John Henry and the Red Sox ownership group.

"“The ownership in Boston is comprised of some very, very bad human beings who on my way out of baseball did things to myself and my family that I’ll never forget,” said Schilling. “I forgave them, but I’ll never forget it. Unfortunately, it severely tainted my experience. My experience ending here should have been one of immense joy given what we were able to accomplish in the four or five years I spent here… and it didn’t because of what they did.”"

Schilling’s animosity toward Red Sox ownership stems back to 2008, which would have been his final season if it weren’t wiped out by a biceps tendon injury. The Red Sox convinced Schilling that rest and rehab would be sufficient and allegedly threatened to void his contract if he underwent surgery. The recovery plan failed and Schilling ultimately went under the knife midway through the season, which ended his career.

Schilling has also claimed that Red Sox ownership accused him of fabricating his injury. The perceived betrayal led him to believe that the organization didn’t care about him, ending his relationship with the team on bitter terms.

The sides appear to have patched things up to some extent with Schilling making appearances at several events at Fenway Park in recent years. He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2012.

Being immortalized in the franchise’s version of the Hall of Fame doesn’t mean Schilling is willing to return the favor by recognizing the Red Sox in his induction to Cooperstown. It might not matter anyway since Schilling is currently well short of the 75 percent of votes he would need for induction on his 10th and final year on the ballot, according to noted ballot tracker Ryan Thibodaux.

Schilling’s credentials on the mound are worthy of the Hall of Fame. His controversial political opinions, bigoted comments and erratic behavior have led many BBWAA members to point to the character clause in the voting rules as reason enough to leave him off their ballots. Schilling has always had a strained relationship with the media – the same individuals who cast votes for the Hall of Fame. Endorsing an image of a message calling for the lynching of journalists obviously did him no favors.

Schilling went as far as to demand that the BBWAA remove his name from the ballot, as if depriving the voters of their chance to leave the box next to his name unchecked was a clever form of payback. His request was denied. Schilling remains on the ballot this year but it will be for the last time. If he isn’t inducted this year, he’ll get his wish of being removed when next year’s ballot is revealed since he’ll no longer be eligible.

Blasting ownership in his explanation for why he’s excluding the Red Sox on his theoretical Hall of Fame plaque shows Schilling still harbors some resentment for how they treated him on his way out the door. Perhaps he feels that he’s somehow punishing the organization for their past behavior. It’s a moot point with Schilling unlikely to be enshrined. He can wear any cap he wants while watching the induction ceremony broadcast on television along with the rest of us.

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