Curt Schilling missed out on becoming the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame's 2021 class of inductees by a slim margin, and it doesn't look like he'll be over to make up the ground he needs — nor does he want to — in his final year of eligibility in 2022.
It's not for his playing career but for his long, off-field history of intolerant and inappropriate social media posts and political views that has kept him out of the Hall to this point. But Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Costas, who was the 2018 Ford C. Frick Award winner at the Hall, doesn't want us to think that being conservative is the reason he hasn't gotten voted in (h/t Barrett Sports Media).
"...The only thing that's keeping him out is these provocative statements," Costas said in a radio interview with Rick Ballou. "And one thing that should be clear, and people should really understand this: there is an obvious distinction here. I have heard people say, oh, well if he was a left-wing guy instead of a right-wing guy, then provocative or controversial statements wouldn't keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
"Mariano Rivera was a public Donald Trump supporter. Now, granted, Rivera's credentials are unimpeachable, but he got 100 percent. There is a difference between being conservative, which isn't going to keep anybody out of any Hall of Fame, and being like in the Marjorie Taylor Greene wing of the party, the nutcase wing of the party, supporting what happened on January 6. That kind of stuff, it doesn't fall anywhere on the rational political spectrum."
It's also worth noting that Rivera was not up for vote during the last year of Trump's presidency and throughout the election, which may or may not have affected how Rivera displayed his support for the former president and how BBWAA voters viewed Rivera depending on his opinions.
Costas would still vote for Schilling despite his admission that the longtime pitcher has some "nutcase" political leanings.
"...I have said from day one — as you know, broadcasters do not get a vote, it's only the baseball writers — but if I had a vote, I would've voted for Curt Schilling from day one," Costas said. "And if I had a vote now, I would still vote for him. I've always had a good personal relationship with him, and as someone who has had a friendly relationship with him, I just wish he would stop hurting his own case this way.
"We're all entitled to our own political views. But there are some that are just out of bounds. They're not just on the fringes, they're way over the line... and he's crossed that line, it's fair to say."
Schilling's Hall of Fame voting started at 38 percent in his first year on the ballot in 2013, dipped in the first year, and has trended all the way up to above 70 % in the last two years. To my knowledge, every player that has ever received upward of 70 percent in the vote has gained entry at some point, even if he never made it to 75 percent in his years on the BBWAA ballot. For instance, Nellie Fox received 74.7 percent in 1985, his last year of eligibility, but was selected by the Veterans Committee in 1997 after he had fallen off the ballot (via MLB.com).
For Schilling, though, it's an unprecedented case with a number of factors — including his own apparent desire to be left out of the Hall — that will decide his fate.