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Boston Globe

Curt Schilling: Not Hall of Fame Material

Even before his far-right antics, Schilling's stats are not Cooperstown worthy

Kris LaGrange's picture
Jan 29, 2021

This week, the baseball writers on the Hall of Fame committee failed to send anyone to Cooperstown for the 2021 season. The closest player to reaching the 75% threshold was the controversial pitcher Curt Schilling who achieved 71% of the vote.

Schilling has become a controversial figure since his retirement due to his comments on social media. Some of the lowlights include:

  • Expressed support for the rioters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6
  • Shared a transphobic Facebook post (which led to his firing by ESPN)
  • Compared Islamic extremists to Nazis in a tweet (he apologized)
  • Promoted a post that suggested journalists should be lynched
  • Retweeted a tweet that suggested one of the survivors of the 2018 Parkland school shooting was a "paid crisis actor"

Unlike other sports where the Hall of Fame is based almost solely on a player’s performance on the field, baseball voters are required to take a player's “integrity, sportsmanship, and character” into account. This is why players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are not in the Hall of Fame yet.

In addition to Schilling’s support of Trump, support of rioters, and just generally bad business sense, his stats might not warrant him being in the Hall of Fame.

In terms of wins, Schilling ranks 83rd overall with 216, even though he played on three World Series teams. He also had a career ERA of 3.46. There are definitely pitchers in the Hall with higher ERA’s but if you compare Schilling to other pitchers of his era he is on par with them, but he has fewer wins. For example, Tom Glavine had a 3.54 ERA but had 305 wins. Schilling’s teammate in Arizona, Randy Johnson, had a 3.29 ERA and won 303 games while striking out 4,875 players. Schilling has 3,116.

While Schilling was always a pretty good pitcher, once he left Philadelphia he was never the ace. Before he went to Arizona in 2000, 12 years into his career, Schilling only had 5 seasons with more than 10 wins and as many seasons with an ERA over 4 as an ERA under 3. Once he went to Arizona, Schilling was good, there is no doubt, but he wasn’t the best. He always played second fiddle to the Big Unit, Randy Johnson. He then finished up his career in Boston where once again he was the number two behind Pedro Martinez.

Although he played 19 seasons in the majors, Schilling only went to 6 All-Star games and never won a Cy Young award. Sure, he was named co-World Series MVP in 2001, but he shared the award with Johnson.

The reality is, Schilling was always a very good player, but not quite a Hall of Famer. Frankly, if big-name players from that era hadn’t been kept out of the Hall because of steroid allegations, Schilling might not have gotten 71% of the vote. Add in the controversy around him, writers should reject Schilling in his tenth and final year of eligibility.

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