There’s no denying that in the prime of his 20-year Major League career, Curt Schilling was one of the best regular season pitchers that baseball had to offer.
But, when it came to the most important month of all- October- the fierce right-hander took it up a notch to say the very least.
In five postseasons, Schilling was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 19 games- all starts- with four complete games and two shutouts. His teams went 14-5 in those games overall, as well as a perfect 5-0 when they faced elimination. In those five crucial games, Schilling posted a 1.37 ERA (6 ER, 39 2/3 IP).
It’s this undeniable success- his tendency to elevate his game when it mattered the most- that helped Schilling win three World Series championships; four of those five elimination starts came in years that his teams won it all.
You couldn’t ask for a more clutch performer.
Think about it. Take Schilling’s postseason dominance, then add it on top of his impressive regular season numbers. Let’s recap those for a moment. 216-146 in 569 games (436 starts), 83 complete games, 20 shutouts, a 3.46 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .243 BAA, and EXCEPTIONAL command. In 3,261 career innings, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was 4.36 (3,116 to 711)- which is the second best mark of ALL-TIME.
I could go on and on about how great of a pitcher Schilling was. Instead, I’ll just share this article by Sporting News that further puts Schilling’s accomplishments into perspective backed up by facts and statistics; definitely worth checking out.
So yes, Schilling undoubtedly, 100% belongs in Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame due to his accomplishments on the field…
BUT HIS POLITICS!!!!!
Yes, there are folks who don’t believe Schilling, 51, should be inducted because of his highly conservative views. In fact, on last year’s ballot, Schilling lost 19 votes among returning voters, which gave him 53.2% of the votes, well below the required 75% for induction; Schilling didn’t hold back on what he thought about those voters either (quote in link).
Now it’s important to recap why Schilling lost those votes, and there are a few obvious reasons to back this up. To start, he was a vocal supporter of Donald Trump during the election.
Other than being a Trump supporter, in August 2015, ESPN suspended Schilling for a month for tweeting the following image which compared (some) Muslims to Nazis, which he deleted:
He was finally fired from ESPN in April 2016, after posting this meme on Facebook in response to a North Carolina law that was recently passed at the time:
While also leaving his own brutally honest opinion via a comment about the issue:
Then of course there was that time he jokingly called a t-shirt that seemed to support the lynching of journalists as “awesome”, in a tweet from November 2016, which he deleted as well:
These are just a few examples of the controversies that have surrounded Schilling regarding his political views. For more, this article from The Washington Post offers some other examples.
So while Schilling has posted some controversial things, he’s entitled to have those opinions. And they shouldn’t hinder his chances of making the Hall of Fame. Getting inducted is what about you accomplish ON THE FIELD, not about what you post online to your own social media accounts. The lynching thing in my opinion was the dumbest of the three examples provided; but do you actually think he wants journalists to be killed? It was meant as a joke.
If Schilling had done something truly terrible- like raped or killed someone- this would be a totally different story. If that were the case, I wouldn’t want him to get inducted to the Hall. Why give someone like that the spotlight? A REAL monster? Something like that would make sense.
The bottom line is this: Schilling has opinions that are unpopular to many, and he isn’t afraid to share them on his social media platforms, or voice them on his radio show for Breitbart, the far-right news outlet. He hasn’t committed any crimes, he hasn’t hurt anyone- except for the feelings of many liberals- but that’s not his fault.
Yes, Schilling is highly successful. Some may say that because of this, he should just keep his mouth shut and not let his unpopular opinions be known because he knows people who once looked up to him will be offended and not like him anymore. But he chooses to not be silent. He chooses to speak his mind, share his memes, voice his conservative opinions, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Schilling doesn’t care what you think, and he’s certainly not going to stop doing what he’s doing, which shouldn’t keep him out of the Hall of Fame. He’s going to get in too; prior to receiving 53.2% of the votes last year, he tallied 39.2% the year before, and 29.2% the year before that. He’s trending upward, despite all the controversy that involved him between the 2015 and 2016 ballots. So even though he lost 19 votes, there were people that were able to look past his political views, simply because of the type of pitcher he was- which is the only thing that should matter, in his case.
Results for the 2018 Hall of Fame class will be announced on January 18, so we’ll see if Schilling gets in. I don’t think this will be his year. Even if it’s not, he’s absolutely deserving, and it’ll only be a matter of time.
The man belongs in the Hall of Fame due to his BASEBALL accomplishments, and it’s really that simple.