Curt Schilling snubbed by Baseball Hall of Fame
"Curt Schilling deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame," President Trump tweeted Sunday evening. "Great record, especially when under pressure and when it mattered most. Do what everyone in Baseball knows is right!"
Curt Schilling didn't get into Cooperstown this year, but maybe next year or someday. Perhaps his improved voting numbers are due to the Trump effect. Or his support for Trump has made him persona non grata in baseball circles.
He wasn't selected, but Mariano Rivera, the greatest reliever in history, was on the ballot for the first time and received 100% of the writers' votes, a first in Cooperstown history. Not even Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, or Mickey Mantle was checked on every ballot.
Schilling wasn't selected, but Roy Halladay, a pitcher who won over 200 games, had a winning percentage of .659, spun a playoff no-hitter and perfect game, and was awarded two Cy Youngs for best pitcher in baseball, was also elected in his first year on the ballot. His was awarded posthumously, as he was killed in a plane crash in November 2017. Perhaps this tragedy weighed on minds of the voters. Maybe they thought it would be a classy move (and it was) to select Halladay to make the lives of his wife and his two boys a little more bearable, and a little more understandable.
Schilling didn't make, it but Edgar Martinez, one of the best designated hitters in MLB history, was also given the thumbs up for entrance into the Hall.
Even Mike Mussina, whose stats come closest to Schilling's, finally made it.
To be fair, Schilling's percentage increased by nine percentage points, which could bode well maybe not next year, but the following.
Photo credit: Google Man.
But consider Schilling's résumé and his influence on the history and romance of the game, and it makes a fan wonder.
He had a winning percentage of .597, which is like a team winning 96 games every season, and led three different franchises to the pennant and World Series. In 1993, he pitched the Phillies to their first National League pennant since 1983, losing in the Series to the Toronto Blue Jays. Schilling's next heroics occurred in the desert, as he along with teammate and Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson led the Arizona Diamondbacks to their first championship in 2001, beating the Yankees' franchise in a classic seven-game battle.
Most significantly, Schilling and Hall of Fame ace Pedro Martinez helped to erase the infamous "Curse of the Bambino" in 2004. Down 3-0, they roared back, winning four straight and beating their hated rivals, the New York Yankees. Schilling pitched the "do or die" sixth game with a wounded ankle. The blood soaked through his white sanitary, yet he gallantly pitched seven innings, earning the victory. Actually, the playoffs' drama against their bitter foes made the World Series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals somewhat anti-climactic, even though it really erased the "curse."
Schilling's record is not pedestrian; he earned 216 victories, 70 games over .500, higher than 38 Hall of Fame pitchers.
He pitched in primarily hitters' parks, spanning the steroid era, but still fashioned a 3.46 ERA. He also won twenty games, three times during the evolution of the relief pitching corps, a frequent All Star and a Cy Young Award runner-up three times. Certainly nothin' to sneeze at.
Additionally, the new stats, the metrics that GMs, Bill James' disciples, and baseball geeks, who crunch numbers in different mathematical analyses, show that Schilling's WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which is just a calculation to numerically show his value, tabulate him as 79.6, just behind "Never H of F" Pete Rose (79.7) but ahead of Hall of Fame players like Brooks Robinson (78.4), Johnny Bench (75.2), and Reggie Jackson (74.0).
Even Joe DiMaggio trails him (78.1), albeit he played only 13 seasons.
Schilling in fact is one of seven in the top 100 in WAR not in the Hall. Ironically, Schilling's WAR is higher than recent inductees Frank Thomas (73.9), Jim Thome (72.9), and Vlad Guerrero (59.4). Fellow 2019 candidates and now Hall of Famers Edgar Martinez and Roy Halladay are behind him.
A.L. rival Mike Mussina, who won more games (270) with a higher WAR (83.0), probably provided the "out" for journalists as their rationale to keep Schilling off their ballot. They're very close statistically, thus their similarities negated one another. A vote for Mike meant essentially a no-vote for Curt. It is hoped that the final determinant was not based on Schilling's politics. The fact is, sports media don't approve of Curt's opinions. See his career at ESPN.
If writers are blind to his record, then perhaps they should research and dig deeper into Schilling's numbers and his effect on the game.
If, however, they are biased against him because of his political views, then maybe they should search their consciences. This is a game that is an integral patch in the quilt of American culture. To deny someone his rightful place in Cooperstown because of his political positions is prejudice. It's wrong, pure and simple.
Our National Pastime has done much to correct past transgressions, sins, and racial discrimination to level the playing field than arguably any other American institution and in the process made baseball a better, more competitive game. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry. It's exploded internationally, which has only benefited our national game because it is played by people from all different countries, backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, and cultures.
And political persuasions.