Former MLB starting pitcher Curt Schilling has asked the Baseball Hall of Fame to remove him from the Baseball Writers' Association of America's ballot for induction into Cooperstown prior to his final year of eligibility.
"I will not participate in the final year of voting," Schilling wrote in part. "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."
Schilling received 71.1 percent of BBWAA ballot votes, just shy of the 75 percent needed for induction. No player got more votes than Schilling, but there will be no Hall of Fame class of 2021 after all eligible candidates failed to hit the mark.
Schilling also added these remarks on Twitter:
There's no doubt that Schilling has authored a Hall of Fame career on paper. The six-time All-Star finished second in the American or National League Cy Young voting three times, winning three World Series.
He was exceptional in the playoffs, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 19 appearances. Schilling allowed two or fewer earned runs in 16 of 19 playoff starts.
There is precedent for someone requesting that he be removed from the ballot. Emma Baccellieri of Sports Illustrated noted former players' union leader Marvin Miller wanted to be removed, but he was not:
Schilling's opinions and actions—most notably and recently his apparent support for the pro-Donald Trump mob that invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6—have elicited much negative reaction, and that has affected his Hall candidacy.
As Chris Russo of SiriusXM Radio noted on MLB Network in its televised Hall of Fame special Tuesday, Schilling may have talked himself out of the Hall.
Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, who did not vote Schilling in, explained the case against the former Boston Red Sox pitcher while also recounting some of his more notable (and offensive) remarks and acts:
"Curt Schilling would help himself if he'd stop spewing hate and claiming he's being punished by Baseball Hall of Fame voters because of his 'politics.' Supporting a racist mob that stormed the Capitol is not being 'political.' Advocating for lynching journalists, calling Adam Jones a liar when he said he heard racist slurs at Fenway Park, bilking Rhode Island out of $75 million, collecting Nazi memorabilia, and posting anti-transgender material...these are not 'political' stands.
"Mariano Rivera is a Donald Trump supporter and he sailed into the Hall of Fame unanimously."
"I did vote for Schilling, as I have in previous years. And if I was filling out the ballot today, I would vote for him again, despite his apparent support for the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, what seems like a gross misunderstanding of the First Amendment, open hostility toward much of the news (especially sports) media and all the generally stupid stuff he spouts from his Twitter account and other platforms.
"The reason is pretty straightforward: Six All-Star seasons, three Cy Young runner-up finishes, the best strikeout-to-walk rate of anyone with 3,000 strikeouts, a good ERA in an era of high-octane offense, a great WAR, more than 200 wins, three World Series rings, a fourth World Series appearance, and a career postseason record for the ages: 11-2, 2.23 ERA in 19 starts (averaging seven innings a start)."
Players are eligible for potential induction into the Hall of Fame five years after they officially retire. They are then eligible for consideration for Hall induction for a five-year period.
The old rule was 10 years following retirement, but that was changed in 2014. Schilling retired in 2007, but the Hall grandfathered him and other candidates who were eligible for 10 years of consideration.
That would mark 2022 as Schilling's final possible year of inclusion via the BBWAA, although as Schilling noted in his letter, he can still get in via the Era Committees, which consist of four separate groups (each representing a different baseball era) that vote in players no longer eligible for the Hall via the BBWAA ballot as well as non-playing personnel.
Schilling would need induction from the "Today's Game" Committee, which considers players from 1988 and onward. That group meets next in the calendar year of 2022 for potential inclusion for the Hall class of 2023.