After falling 16 votes shy of Cooperstown in his ninth year on the ballot, controversial pitcher Curt Schilling is requesting his name be removed from Hall of Fame consideration and lashing out at various people involved in the process.
Shortly after this year’s Hall of Fame tallies were announced Tuesday and Schilling finished at 71.1 percent, below the necessary 75 percent, he published a letter to the Hall of Fame on his Facebook page. In it, he took aim at fellow candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and criticized the writers who vote on his Cooperstown candidacy.
The key point:
“I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player. I don’t think I’m a hall of famer as I’ve often stated but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honor.”
Schilling — who won World Series rings with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox — was considered a borderline Hall of Famer after his retirement from the game. His 216 wins fell well below the 300-win benchmark, but his postseason performances and other value-based metrics show him as a legit Hall of Fame candidate. Put together, he was not a sure thing, but a candidate to reach 75 percent over the long haul.
What’s derailed Schilling’s candidacy is everything that happened after his playing career. He was an ESPN analyst before getting fired for his social media use — he shared racist and transphobic memes after being told not to by ESPN brass.
After that, he went further to extreme right-wing politics. He promoted white supremacists on his podcast and most recently endorsed on Twitter the Jan. 6 insurrection efforts at the U.S. Capitol. Some Hall of Fame voters reportedly even asked the Hall of Fame if they could withdraw their votes for Schilling after Jan. 6, since ballots were due Dec. 31.
In his letter, Schilling paints himself as a victim of a vindictive media. He calls the baseball writers “cowards” and makes it clear that he doesn’t want them to judge him.
Having said all that the media has created a Curt Schilling that does not and has never existed. It’s one of the things that has allowed me to sleep at night. Not an ounce of that is to absolve myself of sin, Lord knows I’ve committed my share and will do so again. Never malicious, never to willfully or intentionally hurt another person. I was 100% accountable and still am. Even the thought of responding to claims of “nazi” or “racist” or any other term so watered down and rendered meaningless by spineless cowards who have never met me makes me ill. In modern times responding to such drivel somehow validates the claim.
Schilling also takes exception with being in a “conversation” with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who he calls cheaters.
I’ve certainly been exposed to racism and sexism and homophobia as it’s part of who human beings are. I’ve played with and talked with gay teammates. I’ve played with wife beaters, adulterers, assaulted, drug addicts and alcoholics. I’ve never hit a woman, driven drunk, done drugs, PEDs or otherwise, assaulted anyone or committed any sort of crime.
But I’m now somehow in a conversation with two men who cheated, and instead of being accountable they chose to destroy others lives to protect their lie. I will always have one thing they will forever chase. A legacy. Whatever mine is as a player it will be the truth, and one I earned for better or worse.
Jane Forbes Clark, the chairperson of the board for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a statement in regards to Schilling’s request:
As you know, the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame sets the rules and procedures for the BBWAA balloting process. The Board has received Curt Schilling's request for removal from the 2022 ballot, and will consider the request at our next meeting.
If not, perhaps media members — who Schilling once endorsed the lynching of — will just honor Schilling’s request on their own by not voting for him again.
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