Liberal Sportswriters Keep Curt Schilling Out Of Baseball Hall of Fame — Again

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Another year passes, and we see yet another example of liberal media bias negatively affect National Baseball Hall of Fame voting.

On Tuesday night, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Hall of Fame revealed its members’ ballots. The sportswriters added no new players to the Hall this year — snubbing World Series Most Valuable Player Curt Schilling yet again.

The sportswriters can vote for up to 10 players, and to earn the nod, the player must receive votes from 75 percent of the writers. The three closest players to induction were Curt Schilling (71.1 percent), Barry Bonds (61.8 percent), and Roger Clemens (61.6 percent), as Baseball Reference reports.

Bonds is the home run champ, finishing his career with 762 of them, while Clemens ranks third all-time in strikeouts on the mound (4,672). They are both known users of performance-enhancing drugs, so there are bound to be differences of opinion on whether they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

But Schilling? His playing achievements are certainly not on the same level as those of Bonds and Clemens, but he should be in the Hall of Fame. If it weren’t for liberal sportswriters who have a bias against him, that would certainly be the case.

Here’s why.

Out of the players who are eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame who are not in, Schilling is one of only two players to finish his career with more than 3,000 strikeouts (3,116). The other is Clemens. (The other 3,000-strikeouts-plus pitchers aren’t eligible because they retired more recently than five years ago.)

Schilling is a six-time All-Star and three-time World Series champ; that includes two crowns with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007. But he didn’t just play on those teams. He is one of the most memorable players on those teams. His heroic performance in Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series after having groundbreaking ankle tendon surgery led to one of the most recognizable images in baseball history:  Schilling mesmerizing the New York Yankees in an elimination game while hobbling around and bleeding through his right sock.

Nor was that crucial performance a one-off. Schilling is one of the top postseason pitchers of all-time, going 11-2 with a 2.23 Earned Run Average in 19 playoff starts. His 79.5 career WAR (wins above replacement) ranks 65th in Major League Baseball history. It’s the highest WAR for a pitcher who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but is not in the Hall of Fame — other than Clemens. For reference, there are 263 players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Schilling wouldn’t be the best player in the Hall of Fame, but his numbers align with modern-day standards for a Hall of Famer. 

The reason he’s not in is that some voters refuse to vote for him because of something they call a character clause. According to the Hall of Fame’s web site, “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

Character is also keeping Clemens and Bonds out of the Hall of Fame. But in Schilling’s case, no one has ever credibly accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs.

So how is Schilling’s character? Well, during his playing days few ever questioned it.

Schilling won the Roberto Clemente award in 2001, given to the player who “best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field,” according to the Major League Baseball web site. Schilling’s charity “Curt’s Pitch for ALS” raised more than $9 million during his playing career for research to try to cure Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

How about after his career ended?

In 2017, eight years after he retired from professional baseball, Schilling helped out with Operation Bullpen, which helped deliver about 1.5 million pounds of food and supplies to hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

So character would seem to be a plus, right?

That’s not how a crucial percentage of sportswriters see it.

Schilling is a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump. So perhaps you’re thinking the snub of Schilling has something to do with the raw emotions following the Capitol Hill riot. But the two are unconnected. The Capitol Hill riot occurred January 6, 2021. The Hall of Fame votes of members of the Baseball Writers of America Association were due on December 31, 2020 — six days before.

No, Schilling’s support for Trump and conservative causes before the riot is what is keeping out of the Hall of Fame. Modern sportswriters tend to lean left, and a significant portion of them mix their politics with their sports analysis.

The reluctance among liberal sportswriters to vote for Schilling started before 2020. In 2015, Schilling drew controversy because he shared a meme comparing the threat of radical Islam to that of Nazi Germany. This got him a suspension at ESPN. Then in April 2016, the company fired him after he shared a meme on social media mocking the idea that states should let anyone use whatever bathroom they want based on their gender identity, as CNN reported at the time. Later that year, he also irked some sportswriters, including The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, when he posted a picture of a shirt that joked about lynching journalists with the caption “so much awesome.” He later deleted the tweet, according to Fox News.

None of these public utterances will help Schilling get into the political analysis hall of fame. But they also have nothing to do with baseball.

As NewBostonPost pointed out last year, some of these writers who just so happened to not vote for Schilling, citing character as a reason for keeping him out of the Hall of Fame, are people of the political Left. This included Marcos Breton of the Sacramento Bee, ESPN’s Keith Law, retired sports columnist David Maril, and Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus

Breton once tweeted, “A vote for #Trump is a vote for intolerance, discrimination, misogyny.”; Law once said of a beer company:  “if the beer is good and the owner isn’t supporting Trump I’ll drink it.”; Kahrl, a biological male who identifies as a woman, slammed Trump for his transgender troop ban in August 2017, writing, “Trump’s actions about bringing back 2nd-class citizenship, for #LGBT Americans & #POC. Fundamental betrayal of this nation’s promise to all.”; and Maril has written columns titled, “Why won’t Trump release his tax returns to end ‘witch-hunt’ investigations of alleged Russian ties?” and “There’s little difference between Trump working and being on vacation”.

These columnists are not outliers in sportswriting. An online poll conducted by The Big Lead back in 2016 found that 80 percent of sportswriters supported Hillary Clinton for president. Only 4 percent said they backed Donald Trump. This left-of-center bias in sportswriting has been acknowledged by The RingerPaste MagazineThe Big Lead, and The Week. Not one of those publications is right-of-center.

Meanwhile, the Baseball Writers of America Association voted former New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina into the Hall of Fame in 2019 despite having a demonstrably less impressive career than Schilling. Mussina had a higher career Earned Run Average (3.68 vs. 3.46) and about 300 fewer career strikeouts (2,813 vs. 3,116). Schilling’s plus-4.092 WPA (Wins Probability Added) in the postseason is the highest in Major League Baseball history for a starting pitcher, which also elevates Schilling over Mussina.

Yet Mussina got 76.7 percent support in 2019 while Schilling got just 60.9 percent support. The difference:  Mussina isn’t an outspoken and controversial conservative.

Players can be on the Hall of Fame ballot for up to 10 years. This was Schilling’s ninth year on the ballot. He is the only player to receive at least 70 percent of the vote without earning the nod from the Hall of Fame voters.

Schilling plans on not being voted in by the baseball writers. He asked the baseball writers association to remove him from the 2022 ballot, writing, “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.”

As Schilling’s statement suggests, there is a back door for him. In late 2022, the Today’s Game Committee is scheduled to vote on players no longer eligible for election by the Baseball Writers of America Association whose top contributions came between 1988 to 2016. The committee includes Hall of Fame baseball players, Major League Baseball executives, and longtime media members. Perhaps they will grant Schilling his rightful spot in the Hall of Fame.

It’s a shame he won’t get in this year because that could be a small boost to the Cooperstown, New York area’s tourism-based economy. The Hall plans to have an induction ceremony this year for Derek Jeter and Larry Walker, whom the the baseball writers voted in last year, but more players may result in more interest. And that interest may extend past Hall of Fame weekend. People go to the Hall of Fame year-round to check out baseball history.

Imagine if there were a plaque to go along with the bloody sock.