Curt Schilling had an outstanding career, there’s no denying that. Does he deserve to be in the hall of fame? That’s where some begin to question him. Was he a good enough player to be in the Hall? Do his blatantly racist, discriminatory views make him a bad choice to represent the “best” of baseball? How do you even begin to define the “best”?
Let’s start with the good, because there definitely is some of that. Curt Schilling had a lengthy 19 year career, pitching from 1988 through the 2006-2007 season, and won three World Series: one win in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and two with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, while leading the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies to the Series before losing to the Blue Jays. Schilling was dominant in the postseason especially; he has a career postseason record of 11-2, and his .846 win percentage in the playoffs is a record among qualifying pitchers (ten or more decisions). He is a member of the 3,000 strikeout club, and is tied for the third-most 300 strikeout seasons, both of which signify individual excellence as a pitcher. His strong play continued well past when you might expect- Schilling became just the second player in MLB to start and win a World Series game at over 40 years old. While his play was at a very high level, even more impressive was his longevity, and that he played at such a high level for decades. In short, Schilling had an outstanding career, in terms of both individual and team achievements. If getting into the Hall of Fame was purely based on play, Schilling would be a shoe-in. Unfortunately for Schilling, that’s not all that the Hall represents.
Schilling wasn’t the best teammate. While his drive and passion for the game were clear, playing through a serious ankle injury in the 2004 World Series resulting in his entire sock getting soaked in blood. Schilling’s relationships with those around him were also strained. In 1993, Schilling was called out for refusing to watch Phillies closer and teammate Mitch Williams pitch, an act that was considered disrespectful by many involved. Schilling also published a blog in which he criticized his former teammate Manny Ramirez, calling him lazy and claiming that “he never gave a rat’s ass about any of us that suited up with him”. Schilling was also known to have issues with the league itself. He frequently criticized the front office of teams, particularly when he was on the Phillies, verbally fought with umpires, and even argued with league officials. He disagreed with the media’s portrayal of himself, and he said so often, eventually forming a blog which has come under criticism multiple times. While each of these incidents are concerning, they aren’t cause for preventing Schilling’s admission to the Hall of Fame. For that, we need to look at his career after the MLB.
Schilling has been very outspoken about his own political ideology since he left the league. Unfortunately, those political ideologies are racist, anti-Muslim, anti-transgender, and anti-gay marriage. His anti-Muslim views got him suspended from his role as an ESPN commentator, after he reposted a tweet comparing Muslim Jihadism to Nazism, writing, “it’s said that only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?”. He was later fired from that same job after he publicly renounced transgender individuals, writing on Twitter that, “a man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.” He stated that he believed the shooting of 26 individuals, 20 of whom were children, at Sandy Hook Elementary was a hoax. He expressed his disdain for journalists on Twitter, writing, “rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required”. An interesting post, when you consider that the Hall of Fame is voted on by journalists. He publicly supported the raiding of the Capitol in early January of 2021, an act which caused many Hall of Fame voters to request permission to rescind their votes and recast them. Although this request was denied, Schilling still did not receive enough votes to get in. Schilling’s incredibly hateful views, and his vocal support of them, have made him a tough sell to the selection committee.
Schilling’s political support of so many hateful, violent causes should keep him out of the Hall of Fame. As great as his career was, the Hall is supposed to represent the best of baseball, in every aspect. Character issues have kept individuals out of the Hall of Fame before, and that certainly applies here. The hate that Schilling displays to so many minorities who already struggle should not be promoted by the MLB. Even though his play was on par with the standards for the Hall of Fame, his continued character issues prevent him from representing the very best of baseball, and should be kept from the Hall accordingly.
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