By In Stuff

Ballot 3: Curt Schilling


Curt Schilling

Played 20 years for five teams

Six-time All-Star struck out 3,000 and finished second in Cy Young voting three times. 80.7 WAR, 54.1 WAA

Pro argument: Had greatest strikeout-to-walk ratio in modern baseball history and was amazing in the postseason.

Con argument: Relatively low win total; he has offended many people.

Deserves to be in Hall?: Yes.

Will get elected this year?: 0% chance

Will ever get elected?: 65-70%

* * *

Someone in the game I respect very much (to be clear — he’s not a writer) made the anti-Schilling argument to me the other day over breakfast. I was a bit surprised, to be honest. He asked me if I would vote for Schilling after all that he has done in the last year. I said, “Of course I will, I never even considered not voting for him.”

And he was really taken aback. If I could sum up his anti-Schilling argument, I guess it would  go something like this: He believes the Hall of Fame is an honor more than it is a recognition of excellence. We have gone over this. He believes it is, first and foremost, baseball’s highest honor, the Nobel Prize for baseball.

And this honor is bestowed by the Baseball Writers Association of America (or, in later years, by a veteran’s committee). The writers are given a great deal of latitude in making this choice. We are directed to base our voting not only on the player’s record, playing ability and contribution to the team(s) on which he played, but also on the player’s integrity, sportsmanship and character — whatever you see those words meaning.

And so, my friend says: If Curt Schilling chooses to purposely and repeatedly offend members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (and many others) with various bits of stupidity like retweeting a “joke T-shirt” about how journalists should be lynched or getting fired for replying to a “joke” about the North Carolina bathroom law, well, the writers have every right, even an obligation, to withhold baseball’s highest honor from him.

I respect that point of view. But I strongly disagree.

I suppose my disagreement comes from that thing I’ve already written about — that difference between an “honor” and a “recognition of greatness.” I see the Hall of Fame more as a recognition. I think it’s the place for the best baseball players ever, regardless of their various moral and competitive failings. I do think that “best baseball players ever” does incorporate character and integrity and sportsmanship, but I don’t weigh them as heavily as many others do. I would mark a player down for steroid use, but I wouldn’t disqualify him. I would certainly examine how a player was viewed as a teammate, but it would not necessarily provide a big swing. They MAIN point for me is: Were they all-time great baseball players.

Anyway brilliant reader John throws out a challenge:

I’ve made this challenge to Joe before, and I make it again: if the Hall of Fame is NOT an honor, if it’s “just a museum,” and all that should matter are the numbers… then why is he forever whining that Buck O’Neill was never inducted?

After all, the numbers say Buck isn’t worthy. End of story.

So why complain about Buck’s exclusion, unless… ADMIT it, Joe, induction IS an honor!!! It’s a huge honor, one you think a,wonderful man like Buck O’Neil deserves.

But John conflated two different things. Well, actually John does a lot of misdirection — I certainly have never said nor do I believe that all that matters are numbers. And I only cared about Buck making the Hall of Fame when he was alive, when a committee was given carte blanche to induct as many Negro Leaguers as they wanted (and they did induct 17) and they chose to snub Buck O’Neil for muddled and secretive reasons. I have made it very clear for a decade: I do not care if Buck O’Neil is ever inducted now that he is gone. It doesn’t matter to me in the least. I’m proud of the Hall of Fame for honoring him with the Buck O’Neil Award and for putting a Buck statue in the building.

But the larger misdirection is that I never thought Buck O’Neil deserved to make it as a player. And I also never thought Buck O’Neil deserved to make it for being a nice guy. I thought he deserved election because of his contributions to the game, for his long life as a player, manager, scout and storyteller, for keeping the memory of the Negro Leagues alive, for breaking barriers and making people in the game see a black man in a new light. He deserved to make it as a CONTRIBUTOR to baseball, not as a PLAYER, two totally different things.

I actually don’t think the Hall of Fame should have ANY non-players in it. I think the contributors should have their own thing. But that ship sailed long ago. Bill Veeck made it to the Hall of Fame as a showman. Larry MacPhail made it largely for “pioneering night baseball” (Negro Leagues owner J.L. Wilkinson, who actually DID pioneer night baseball long before MacPhail made it later). Tom Yawkey made it for incompetently owning a baseball team for more than 40 years. Alexander Cartwright made it based on a myth. And so on. It is this part of the Hall of Fame that should have included Buck O’Neil. It is this part of the Hall of Fame, by the way, that should include Bill James.

All of this has nothing at all to do with how players get in. I do not think Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens or Curt Schilling should be inducted to the Hall as contributors.

Curt Schilling was a no-doubt Hall of Fame baseball player. He has somehow been passed down as a borderline case even though I feel pretty sure that Schilling was a better pitcher than Tom Glavine or John Smoltz, contemporaries who sailed into the Hall of Fame first ballot. The comparison with Smoltz is probably best since they were both right-handed power pitchers who struck out 3,000 hitters, had great postseason records and finished with strikingly similar base stats.

Smoltz: 213-155, 3.33 ERA, 3,084 Ks, 1,010 walks, 125 ER+, 154 saves.

Schilling: 216-146, 3.46 ERA, 3,116 Ks, 711 walks, 127 ERA+, 22 saves.

The saves thing pushed Smoltz over the top, I think, well, the saves thing and the Cy Young Award he won and, yes, Smoltz is just a bit more likable than Schilling.

But those final numbers — compilations of a career — miss a big point. Who was actually the better pitcher at their height? I don’t think there’s any question it was Schilling. John Smoltz’s best year was 1996 when he went 24-8 with  a 2.94 ERA and led the league in innings, strikeouts and FIP. It was a dazzling year, and while I would have given the Cy Young to the criminally underrated Kevin Brown (whose ERA was a full run better and allowed just eight homers all year), Smoltz’s year was certainly a great one. It was also, by far, his best season.

Schilling probably had THREE years that were at least that good, maybe better.

Schilling struck out 300 three times — only Ryan, Unit and Koufax have done that. He led the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio five times, in innings twice, in complete games four times, in WHIP twice. He wasted four of his best years on terrible Philadelphia teams, going just 56-41 despite a 137 ERA+, a 4.5-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and 38 complete games, most in baseball over that time. Then he pitched breathtaking baseball in Arizona for three-plus seasons but it was somewhat overlooked because Arizona is a hitter-paradise (thus inflating his ERA) and because he lost two Cy Young Awards to the all-time wonder that was the Big Unit.

Then, of course, her went to Boston, he had one dazzling season and was probably the key to the Red Sox finally winning their World Series — with the bloody sock to prove it — and he then stuck around for three injury-plagued years where he occasionally flashed his brilliance but mostly just compiled stats. He even managed one more memorable World Series start.

This is a Hall of Fame career. I think Smoltz had a Hall of Fame career too, but if I had to choose only one it would be Schilling. It never made much sense to me that people saw Hall of Fame greatness so clearly with Smoltz, and the same thing is so foggy with Schilling.

All of which will finally get me to my point: Curt Schilling should already be in the Hall of Fame. He should have been elected first ballot back in 2013, two years before Smoltz even made the ballot and three years beffore he decided to go all-in on social media trolling. And so while I might see my friend’s point that writers who are offended by Schilling’s opinions* have every right to withhold the Hall of Fame honor, well, it should never have come to this. Schilling should not still be on the clock. He should have been elected four years ago.

*I should add that I’m not offended and don’t particularly care about Schilling’s opinions. 

This Schilling Mess — it is pretty clear his vote total will go down this year — is one of the many reasons I don’t like the 10-year Hall of Fame ballot process. It treats players as if they are still moving targets. But they aren’t. Curt Schilling’s career is over. Lee Smith’s career is over. Sammy Sosa’s career is over. They are no less worthy — and no more worthy — than they were the first day they were on the ballot. Nothing Curt Schilling says or does now changes his fantastic baseball career. And as far as I’m concerned, it is his fantastic baseball career that is the entire point when discussing the Baseball Hall of Fame.

You know: Every now and again, someone throws out the possibility of throwing O.J. Simpson out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The idea offends me. O.J. Simpson is a murderer. AND he was also a one-of-a-kind running back. Both things. Rewriting one piece of history to make up for another is the worst kind of whitewashing. I stopped voting for the Heisman Trophy the moment they shamed Reggie Bush to forfeit his. I loathe every single time the NCAA strips a team of victories or championships. I don’t even like that the Tour de France stripped Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France titles, and I have no tolerance at all for Lance Armstrong.

Why? Because these things happened. Maybe they should not have happened. Lots of things should not happen. Slavery shouldn’t have happened. The Spanish Inquisition shouldn’t have happened. Grown Ups 2 shouldn’t haven’t happened. But they did, and it seems to me that our responsibility is to tell the story, honestly, soberly, unmercifully.

Lance Armstrong DID win those seven Tour de Frances. Now, maybe that means less — or even nothing at all — once we know he cheated to do it. But he STILL DID IT. You can’t make those Tour de Frances go away by saying he didn’t win them. It happened. To say it did not happen, to say Reggie Bush did not amaze America, to say that Curt Schilling’s greatness is somehow erased by whatever thing he says or does now, well, I think that’s a dangerous road. That’s the Animal Farm road.


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272 Responses to Ballot 3: Curt Schilling

  1. Steve Ryan says:

    Is there a post-baseball career museum? Caring what an athlete says about non-athletic stuff is like caring what a politician says about athletic stuff. Just because they have a platform doesn’t mean I have to care what they say.

    • Jake says:

      I don’t think I even should have to care what a politician (or, really, any other schmoe) has to say about politics.

      the fact that we give anyone and everyone the media attention they can buy is how we end up in such preposterous situations as “Donald Trump, major-party presidential candidate”.

    • Pat says:

      Funnily enough, plenty of Boston voters (and Curt Schilling) did care a lot about what some local politicians said about the Red Sox. John Kerry invented a player named “Manny Ortez” and Martha Coakley dismissed Schilling as “a Yankee fan.” Not sure it mattered to them losing their races.

      • MikeN says:

        If Kerry had won Ohio and lost New Hampshire it would have mattered to his loss(270-268). For Coakley, I think absolutely it mattered. It was total shock by the reporter when she was saying this. ‘Another Yankee fan.’
        “Curt Schilling?”
        The only pass Martha gets is that she’s a woman, but I don’t think that works in Boston, and not with Curt Schilling. More surprising is there was a question asked at a primary debate about name the years the Red Sox won the World Series(this century), and only one of 10 could do it.

  2. Brian says:

    I do not like Schilling. That said, Joe, you are right, of course. Schilling should be in the Hall of Fame

    • sansho1 says:

      I also do not like Schilling. And despite my self-conception as a man of principle, it pleases me to think about Schilling not being in the Hall of Fame despite deserving it for his on-field accomplishments. I’ll just have to make up for the cognitive dissonance by being extra-principled in some other arena of life. C’est la vie!

  3. Nathan says:

    Joe, I agree with you except for your last sentence. It isn’t the “Animal Farm” road, it’s the “1984” road. “Oceania is at war with Eastasia, and has always been at war with Eastasia.”

    • Karyn says:

      There were several re-writing history moments in Animal Farm as well.

    • MikeN says:

      I think the meaning of this line has been misunderstood and repeated incorrectly so many times that it has rewritten history just like in 1984.

      The real meaning is not about the government’s rewriting history, but that it forces people to accept and restate the new history that they know is false.

      • invitro says:

        That the Party can change history is really just a small, minor example of the main point.
        The Party defines *truth*. Orwell goes to great lengths with Winston’s ordeal to show that for him to accept what the Party says is not enough, to restate it is not enough, even to believe it is not enough. The only path to salvation is for Winston to understand that the Party says what truth is, what facts are, and to know this without thinking. To even ask whether something the Party says should be accepted or believed is just not possible for a Party man. Nothing is true unless and until the Party says it is true; nothing happened unless and until the Party says so.

  4. GWO says:

    I too find vacated victories to be an odd thing. The Armstrong wins stand out particularly, because they failed to vacate the tainted races before and after Lance.

    Reggie Bush is an egregious miscarriage, but the NCAA is full of *+@! so we expect little else.

    But… are we still in Animal Farm territory when we say Carl Lewis won the 100m gold medal in Seoul? I saw that race, and I’m pretty sure a Canadian guy crossed the line first.

    Isn’t the only difference being caught now vs being caught later?

    • Rob Smith says:

      In Armstrong’s case, cycling had lost credibility because of rampant PED usage. Armstrong was the poster boy for cheating and a huge jack wagon to boot. Cycling needed to make a statement and so stripping Armstrong was a big statement. It wasn’t just an erasing of the past, but a statement to future cheaters. It was to let them know that winning with cutting edge cheating would eventually be uncovered in their stored samples. The result would be public shaming and losing your titles in disgrace. There was a cleansing of the past with a heavy dose of deterrence. It’s had its effect too.

      This is far different than stripping Reggie Bush for trading in his well known future NFL value for some stuff for him and his family. Taking away Bush’s Heisman was a moralistic play within the cesspool and hypocrisy of college sports. And, of course, that was ridiculous.

    • Tom says:

      The Ben Johnson thing is different from the others Joe named since he failed the drug test right after the reace – not years later. Part of the race is passing the post-race drug test.

      • Dan says:

        Part of any competition is competing according to the rules. And if the rules state you don’t win unless you do it cleanly, then whether you are caught 5 minutes or 5 decades later is irrelevant.

      • John G says:

        This strikes me as a distinction without a difference. Personally, I don’t have a huge issue with stripping Olympic gold medals from confirmed drug cheats (though it is annoying that there are world records that were almost certainly set by doping, but because they weren’t caught, they’re still on the books), but I don’t think it matters that much if it’s right after the race like Ben Johnson or a few years down the line with Marion Jones.

    • SDG says:

      The vacated victory that made absolutely zero sense to me was retroactively taking away the Penn State victories. Who does that benefit?

      It’s the bizarre American attitude that it’s possible to punish criminals privately, by shunning and shaming. Some things have to be the responsibility of the state, and punishing rapists is one of them. How does pretending they didn’t win football games adequately punish anybody? What are you trying to prove, with that?

      Ben Johnson and Lance Armstrong are different. It’s easy to vacate those victories because technically, they didn’t happen. In the same way that woman who “won” the NYC marathon by taking the subwat. She didn’t really win so her victory doesn’t count,

  5. Matt says:

    I am everything Curt Schilling rails against on Social Media. I’m an Obama loving, liberal, Yankees fan that hates everything about a clown like Schilling. Hell, he even has me blocked on Twitter because I called him a dope about the entire Ukraine/Russia thing. I think he should be in prison for bilking millions from Rhode Island tax payers. I was ecstatic with schadenfreude when Schilling was shit-canned from ESPN. I hate Curt Schilling and Curt Schilling hates me.

    That said, dude is a MLB Hall of Famer. Ignoring him is ignoring baseball history.

    • Brian says:

      Love it! Totally agree with everything about your comment, including, yes, he should be in the hall of Fame

    • Rob Smith says:

      Agree, but he deserves to twist in the wind. Starting with his moralizing in front of Congress and continuing today with his delusional political aspirations, he leads the pack in athlete idiocy today. But Ty Cobb has him beat historically, so barring him from the HOF for being a loud mouth boorish jackass doesn’t really make any sense.

      • Oilcan23 says:

        When Ty Cobb was inducted, the character clause didn’t exist.

        I’d also like to put in a word for the Ty Cobb biography that suggests that he was not the man people believe him to be.

      • invitro says:

        Certainly it isn’t possible to surpass the idiocy of Colin Kaepernick, who followed up his tone-deaf political statements by… not voting.

        • Rob Smith says:

          I think Kaepernick lost whatever credibility he had when he didn’t vote. Steven A Smith berated him loudly for that.

          • Oilcan23 says:

            And I think you lost credibility when you cited Steven A Smith.


          • Evan says:

            I do find it bizarre that the people who seem most offended by Kaepernick are the same ones who wax on about “freedom” and rail against political correctness. Either you celebrate freedom of expression or you like pack-mentality group-think. But you can’t have it both ways.

        • Exo says:

          I would really, really question the “tone-deaf” part – unless you mean that it “came across” as such to certain parts of the country, which is kind of unavoidable these days for the most part. Regardless, he was expressing a view many people consider an important and valid one (in a relatively respectful way, in my view) and to dismiss it as “tone-deaf” is to commit the exact offense you accuse him of making.

          • Marc Schneider says:

            Well, the question is whether Kaepernick’s (and others’) actions made people talk about the issue rather than focusing on not standing for the national anthem. Of course, since most people don’t even want to consider the issue, it’s not clear what else would get people’s attention. But, it seems to me, that not standing up for the national anthem allowed people to divert attention for the issue he was attempting to raise.

    • DJ Mc says:

      Correct. The schadenfreude I feel does not outweigh the knowledge that–even if I’d put him closer to the borderline than does Joe–he should be in, and I’d vote for him if I had a ballot.

      Still, I cackle with glee with each additional red box that pops up under his name on the BBHoF Tracker. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    • PS says:

      Matt, you and I must have an awful lot in common. As such, this game, where Schilling made his first appearance as a reliever, might bring back wonderful memories (I was at Fenway):

      And agree he’s a Hall of Famer, but what a jerk.

    • Otistaylor89 says:

      What you said (except he’s never blocked me because I don’t follow him on Twitter).

    • SDG says:

      I completely agree. The thing is, Joe is railing at a straw man, because (unlike the roiders and the gamblers), the people who don’t want Schilling in the Hall because of his mouth is zero. Literally zero. This isn’t something that’s happening, liberals punishing Schilling for his political beliefs, as much as conservatives would like it to be.

      Schilling was never going to be a first-ballot guy. 216 wins (that still matters to the voters), 3.43 ERA (on the high end for a HoFer) no Cy Youngs. It was always going to take him some time to get in and honestly, without the postseason might have been a VC pick. NOT BECAUSE OF HIS IDIOT POLITICAL BELIEFS, BUT BECAUSE OF HIS STATS.

      It’s also worth nothing that Schilling has made far, far, more offensive public statements in years past and his votes have only risen. Let’s keep that in mind when making Schilling a victim of jackbooted liberal PC anti-free-speech safe space trigger warning white-people-hating thugs, OK?

      Sure, maybe the voters “punish” him one year for the tweet, just liked they “punished” Alomar for one year for spitting on an umpire. The BBWAA does dumb stuff like that. Or maybe Schilling is a victim of the huge backlog for contemporary voters. Maybe now that it looks like the voters are voting for Bonds/Clemens, Schilling has to wait until that backlog gets in. (The BBWAA does that too, refuse to vote for candidates until someone better is in the Hall).

      But there is no one punishing Schilling for his public demand for journalists to be brutally murdered, and it’s disturbing people like Joe and Craig Calcaterra are trying to make one.

      • invitro says:

        “the people who don’t want Schilling in the Hall because of his mouth is zero. Literally zero.” — Since you say “Literally”, I assume you have incontrovertible proof of this statement. Many of us would like to see it.

        • SDG says:

          Find me a writer who has said he thinks Schilling deserves it based on stats, but he’s refusing to vote him in as a result of his comments, and I will apologize and amend my statement.

          • Jim says:



            “I am not voting for Curt Schilling this year, and it has nothing to do with his politics,” Shaughnessy told “Schill was comfortable retweeting a despicable tweet promoting lynching of journalists. That is not a political issue. I’m sure he wasn’t serious, but it’s dangerous to promote that kind of rhetoric in today’s America. So I’m taking a year off from Schill — thank you very much.

            “To me, this falls under Rule 5 of the [Baseball Writers Association of America] rules for election, specifically the reference to integrity and character,” said Kirby Arnold, a Seattle-based voter who retired in 2011 after a 42-year newspaper career. “I was prepared to vote for Curt again this year but changed my mind after his Twitter comment.

          • SDG says:


            Thank you for that. I amend my statement to Schilling will have to wait one more year than he otherwise would, but will still be voted in by these same idiot writers. This is similar to how they “punished” Alomar and no one cared. Schilling is still not being kept out of the Hall of Fame.

            Besides, Shaughnessey is widely hated, widely considered a prick, no one takes him seriously. Saying a small jnumber of the writers are making him wait one more year is very different from saying he won’t get in at all.

          • invitro says:

            “I will apologize and amend my statement.” — I’m waiting for the apology.

            “no one takes him seriously.” — Be careful, or this will describe you, the way you’re going.

            “Saying a small jnumber of the writers are making him wait one more year is very different” — Where is your proof that it’s a “small number”? How are you defining “small number”? It looks like it was easy to come up with two quick examples that proves your stupid claims wrong.

            “from saying he won’t get in at all.” — And who is saying this? Not Joe. I looked and I can’t figure out who you’re talking about.

      • MikeN says:

        Rather than Curt Schilling’s tweet about journalists being lynched, I’m more bothered by the sportswriters who say they were personally attacked by it. Sportswriters are not journalists.

  6. John Kenny says:

    Joe, regarding Lance Armstrong or Ben Johnson , the point of expunging their victories is to stop cheats from profiting materially or reputationally from their actions. It allows for the record to pass to the next guy in the race that did not cheat. How would you deal with known cheaters?

    • Brian says:

      With an asterisk. As Joe notes, you don’t ‘erase’ history.

      • SDG says:

        Saying Johnsom and Armstrong didn’t win their races isn’t erasing history. It’s the opposiye. It’s acknowledging it. What they did was the equivalent of starting further up the track than everyone else. Their wins didn’t happen under the rules, so it’s as if they didn’t happen.

        Baseball and steroids is different, because it’s a team sport. People talk about Bonds’s HR records “not counting” because he used banned substances, but I’ve never seen even the most extreme steroid zealot say the Giants’ wins should be vacated. That would be insane.

    • Rob Smith says:

      It’s also a deterrent to future cheats. Asterisks are the equivalent of a stern talking to.

      • Zach says:

        Yes, because no cyclists or track stars have cheated after Johnson or Armstrong. Because no athletes use PEDs now that we suspend them/kick them out of the game. Because no college football/basketball programs get caught breaking the rules in recruiting, or writing papers for players, or whatever, after several programs got the death sentence or serious punishments…

        • DB says:

          1996 Riis. Drug Cheat. He still has his title.
          1997 Ulrich. Drug Cheat. He still has his title.
          1998 Pantani. Drug Cheat. He still has his title.
          2006. Pereiro. Drug Cheat (somehow got cleared for his asthma medication). He still has his title (after Landis had his title removed).
          2007 & 2009. Contador. Drug Cheat. He still has his titles.

          Many people still think (no evidence though) that Indurain was on something as well.

          So for 20 years (So basically, Lemond (1990) till 2010 (Schleck who got his after Contador was stripped and Schleck worked with Riis so not sure I trust him either)), cycling was a cheating sport but Lance is the real bad guy. He just broke the sport like Bonds did. Watching him up in the saddle climbing a category 1 was like watching Ali in his prime. Asterisk the whole era and tell the story. I hate Armstrong as a person but he own all those Tour De Frances (I saw them) against all the other cheats.

          • Rob Smith says:

            I agree that the others deserved similar fates. But just because they didn’t get what they deserved, it doesn’t mean Armstrong didn’t get what he deserved.

          • nightfly says:

            I think what tipped it for Armstrong was that he was also smugly, adamantly insistent that he never cheated, nope, no sirree bob, how dare anyone even think such a thing! So they had extra incentive to really drop the hammer on him. Not saying it’s right, just saying it’s likely.

      • Zach says:

        You make a completely unverified claim that stripping titles discourages/prevents future cheating. To me, this is a ridiculous claim to make, and I think it’s incumbent upon you, as the one claiming it, to provide any evidence that it works.

      • Exo says:

        I can’t help but think that whatever money/fame you could potentially gain from “cheating” now far outweighs whatever ignominy comes from being stripped of lines in a record book later. Not that I know how to actually deter anyone, of course.

        • Matt says:

          Why should they be deterred? They are paid entertainers. There is no difference between Curt Schilling entertaining baseball fans and Brad Pitt entertaining movie fans. If I am paying good money, I want my money’s worth. If a player is willing to risk 10 years of his life to entertain me, so be it. It’s not like I give a shit. Entertain me.

      • SDG says:

        It depends on the case. For Johnson and Armstrong asterisks work because the win is literally the only thing that matters. There is no other reward. (Well, Armstrong doesn’t have to give his endorsement and celebrity money back, but you see my point). For Penn State, vacating the wins was a self-righteous gesture designed to register public disapproval but it will not stop even one future instance of campus rape.

        This is all unrelated to Joe’s post because Schilling is in no way being punished or his political beliefs, will sail into the hall on a wave of sympathy as soon as the backlog clears, and has no people talking about his low win total (matters to the voters) high ERA, and otherwise actual qualifications. The narrative went from “Curt Schilling, great player you have to use sabermetrics to really appreciate” to “Curt Schilling, free speech advocate victimised by the evil liberal media for stating his political beliefs.”

        Liberals like Joe are giving the right-wing a gift-wrapped political narrative and I honestly have no idea why.

        • invitro says:

          “Curt Schilling, great player you have to use sabermetrics to really appreciate” — I’m curious. Have you ever looked at Schilling postseason stats? The basic ones, not the sabermetric ones. Hint: they’re pretty good.

  7. YAZ says:

    Bravo, Joe. As always so clearly stated and well articulated. I agree. The man (Schilling) was a beast on the mound and as a Red Sox fan for 50 years I took comfort in his starts, always felt we were going to be in the game. Unlike say… Bob Stanley or Clay Buchholz or… Insert name here. Even though I find him utterly distasteful there is no doubt I’d vote for him first ballot every time for the MLB HOF. As for vacated titles I agree with a caveat – if a game or title was actually proven to be purposely thrown by the opposing team, I would discount that specific game and its result. As for Lance, whom I agree is a legendary twit, he DID win those races. And considering the fact that cycling has been swimming in PED’s since the 60’s and in Armstrongs day perhaps the top 40 finishers were doping, he won, ironically, on an even playing field. (Except it seems his status gave him a bit more cover for “in race” doping.)

    I’ve gone over and over the PED issue. The complicating factor in assessing appropriate penalties (or remedies) for use is that we just don’t know the scope of the issue. It’s almost as if being a great player or rider is half the puzzle, being able to mask your drug use is the other half. How many athletes do we venerate that have done the same drugs that have cost others their careers? Thus, in a world where we can never know everything – we must reward and acknowledge the actual result.

    • Brian says:

      Really good point about the ‘level’ playing field.

    • Stewart McMullan says:

      PED users should be in the HOF. To say that hitters were helped by steroids ignores that they got those hits off pitchers using steroids… and vice versa. Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, etc were elite among a group of peers, during an era where many were using steroids. It seems as if there are three criteria for players of that era… outstanding numbers, an absence of irrefutable steroid use, and a reputation as (at the least) a decent guy. Put them in, and for those with irrefutable evidence, put that on the plaque.

    • John Kenny says:

      I disagree that we should reward the result of proven cheaters. I would never want my kids to cheat. Why should other peoples children cheat and not face any repercussions? If we reward success we have to punish cheats otherwise why keep score ?

      • Zach says:

        I think it’s important to teach children the difference between what is right and what is wrong, and to do the right thing, and all that…

        But holy cow was PED use in baseball in the 90s/00s a grey area. Jobs worth many millions of dollars were at stake, and in a realm where there was no testing and no punishment, the rules against PED use were mostly just there to create the illusion of discouragement. After all, if baseball had said that metal bats were against the rules, but never actually tested anyone’s bat, or punished players if they were caught using one, how many players would stick with wood? And especially if pitchers could simultaneously be getting surgeries that allowed them to throw the ball harder and more accurately than normally, surgeries that were also technically illegal but not enforced against.

        Look, I respect the players who chose not to take PEDs, and I understand that they each had their reasons for not doing so, but frankly, they probably cost themselves millions of dollars in many cases.

    • Rob Smith says:

      This is an illogical conclusion. What you’re saying essentially is that “because we can’t know everyone who cheated, and because (some/many think) a lot of great players cheated and got away with it, therefore we shouldn’t hold the people accountable that actually got caught”. That doesn’t pass any logical sniff test. It’s the same as saying “because (fill in your favorite crime here) doesn’t always get solved, and there is a lot of that crime that goes unsolved, then therefore we shouldn’t hold the people accountable that we actually catch.” It’s just a fact of life that not all wrong doing will be exposed and not all wrong doers will be held accountable for their actions. That doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and just let it all go.

      Obviously HOF voters are in a tough spot because there are no guidelines for how to actually assess PED usage in their voting. But again, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to do so.

      • Zach says:

        You are making a blatantly false analogy here: taking PEDs is not the same as committing a crime, and the system that was in place in the late 90s/early 2000s did not view enforcing the PED rules as even slightly important, which is why there was no testing nor any real punishments even if a player were somehow caught (though without testing, how they would be caught is a mystery).

        What you’re arguing is more akin to society suddenly deciding that cheating on your taxes is a grave moral failing, and then after making the penalties more stringent and implementing much more robust auditing policies, acting as though people who cheated on their taxes when it was technically illegal but sparsely enforced and commonly done were awful people. You can take that stand, I guess, but to me it just doesn’t hold any water.

        • Steve Ryan says:

          “taking PEDs is not the same as committing a crime” I am confused. Are all drugs classified as PEDs legal to possess as well as consume?

          • Karyn says:

            Someone could quite easily have a legit prescription for a medication that contains a banned substance, and not have done the paperwork to get their waiver.

            I believe there are several substances that are quite legal to take over the counter, but are banned from baseball.

            But really, you’re missing Zach’s point that using PEDs in the 90s and early 2000s was more like speeding than like murder, but people today are trying to treat it like a felony.

          • Zach says:

            None of us are discussing whether or not use/possession of those PEDs was a crime: after all, a number of convicted criminals are in the HOF, as well as a number of others who used illegal drugs. Citing the illegality of PEDs as a reason to keep players out of the HOF is another intellectually lazy argument.

        • lazermike says:

          I think it’s the opposite: many people view the use of steroids in competition as morally wrong to a greater degree than it may have been illegal or against the rules.

      • NevadaMark says:

        But steroid use wasn’t a BASEBALL CRIME then. Because Fay Vincent pontificated (after the fact) about steroids being banned means exactly nothing. If there is no agreement between the players and the owners, no standards, no testing, no process and no sanctions, all laid down and agreed to by both parties, there is no case. Not that it isn’t wrong, but there is a lot in sports that is wrong and yet perfectly common place. To compare that to some crime, where there is a clear law, a clear process, and a clear punishment, is just ridiculous.

    • SDG says:

      Yes, except Schilling is not being punished for his political statements, never has been, and why is this false narrative taking hold?
      Schilling was never going to be a first-ballot guy. It’s stupid that how many ballots it takes matters to anyone, after all Babe Ruth and Jesse Haines are in the Hall together, but it does. And Schilling’s win totals, ERA and Cy Young votes (this matters to voters, because they are dumb) are below the standards of what the BBWAA likes to see. So they were always going to make him wait a bit.

      Add that to Schilling being on the ballot the same time as Clemens. Both power righties. Both played at the same time and mostly for the same team. Clemens (excepting . . . you know) was undeniably better in every way. The writers were always going to make players like Curt wait for players like Clemens. That’s why there IS this huge backlog in the first place.

      Take Duke Snider. First-ballot, inner circle guy, right? You know how many rounds it took for him to get in the Hall? ELEVEN. You can look it up. Were the writers punishing Snider for his political beliefs? No, of course not. Mays was better, so for some idiot reason refused to vote Snider in until Mays retired, waited 5 years, and was voted in himself. In this case, Schilling is Snider and Clemens is Mays. It’s something the voters do.

  8. Oilcan23 says:

    Isn’t it a little weird that the character clause is only seen a negative? Has there ever been a player who probably didn’t deserve induction based on the numbers, but that the writers (collectively) said, “But he was a great guy.” Why can character only be a negative?

    I’m a Red Sox fan who believes David Ortiz probably used something. (I believe that roughly half the players do; it would be ridiculous to think none of my favorites do/did.) But Ortiz also does a ton for worthy causes, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a word about that from those arguing about his Cooperstown portfolio.

    I bring this up not to defend Schilling; I’ve decided to stop advocating for him. I just think the character clause is nonsense. A place that has room for Cap Anson, Tom Yawkey and Bill Conlin couldn’t care all that much about character.

    • sansho1 says:

      If only Dale Murphy was still on the ballot this year, your argument could have been helpful — “Does the idea of voting for Schilling in the 2016 climate make you sick to your stomach? Vote for Murph instead and cast a blow for decency!”

      • Oilcan23 says:

        I just looked up the winners of the Clemente Award, and I saw that Edgar Martinez is on the list. Based on his annual vote totals (not based on my opinion), he’s a borderline candidate.

        I’m curious if there has ever been a voter who said, “I don’t think he quite measures up, but I’m voting for him based on his exemplary character”?

        • Karyn says:

          I wonder if it’s a little bit of extra credit to a player that a voter is truly 50-50 on. Like, if you showed someone the stat line, and the era he played in, and the voter is truly stuck on whether to enshrine the guy–then you tell that it’s Edgar or Murph, or whoever, and that pushes them to 52-48.

          I could see that.

    • Edwin says:

      Kirby Puckett comes to mind. He doesn’t have HOF numbers, but apparently, he was super nice to everybody, and some other BS like had not being for the glaucoma he was all but 100% certain to have compiled 4000+ hits.

    • gogiggs says:

      Excellent point.

    • Darrel says:

      You can lose the “probably” about Ortiz. He tested positive in the round of testing that led to the implementation of the MLB drug testing policy. That was also right before his numbers started to fall off. No coincidence I’m sure.

      • DB says:

        Do you have even bother to look up facts. Testing Policy began in Spring of 2006 (2008 through 2010 were not great, but then went back up again, his 6 top OPS+ seasons were after testing policy). You can argue he was on something again or something different) but the Testing Policy appears to have no affect on Davod Ortiz and you know it. Just spouting non-facts as facts.

        2004: 145 OPS+
        2005: 158 OPS+
        — Testing began —
        2006: 161 OPS+
        2007: 171 OPS+

      • MikeN says:

        David Ortiz never use no steroids.

    • SDG says:

      To answer your question, yes. People frequently argue for Dale Murphy to be in on the basis he was so nice. And it’s not the same thing because he was getting in anyway, but Tony Gwynn (low HR totals, losing teams, fat) would have had to wait years for induction if he didn’t have a reputation as the nicest man in baseball. Give him Dick Allen’s personality it might take a long time.

      I completely agree that Schilling deserves to be in, and so does everyone else. Iv’e seen people all over the place argue that his political beliefs should have nothing to do with your Hall votes, But despite what Joe posted, I haven’t seen a single, solitary, BBWAA member saying they won’t vote for Schilling because of what he says. Not one. So why are we perpetuating this false narrative?

      There is no actual “character clause”. People argue against gamblers and roiders not because of their poor character, but because their poor character made it impossible to tell real results from fake ones. That’s qualitatively different from just punishing bad people. It’s why Cap Anson always comes up in discussions like this and Rogers Hornsby never does. Both were equally racist. One’s racism directly impacted the field of play and kept qualified players from competing, giving Anson’s teams an unfair advantage. One’s racism was confined to his private life and never affected a box score.

      • invitro says:

        “Tony Gwynn (low HR totals, losing teams, fat) would have had to wait years for induction if he didn’t have a reputation as the nicest man in baseball.” — Wow. You know, SDG, baseball might not be the best sport for you. To comment on, at least.

    • SDG says:

      I just thought of another one. Larry Doby. One and done by the writers.

      If the writers aren’t going to give Larry Doby, the man who had teammates refuse to play with him and received death threats in order to make the American League a meritocracy, isn’t going to get extra character consideration, no one is getting extra character consideration.

  9. Stephen says:

    2014 AL Cy Young Award winner Phil Hughes would like a word with you about the importance of an impressive, or even record-setting, strikeout-to-walk ratio

    • nightfly says:

      Well, besides a historic stinginess in walks, Hughes was fifth in most hits allowed (dropping his WHIP to a still-impressive 5th in the league); pitched to a 111 ERA+; finished 7th in strikeouts, and finished all of one game all season. Schilling, in the four-year stretch where he was runner-up in CY three times, had a better WHIP in *all four years*, an ERA 50% better than league average, struck out ten men every nine innings while averaging more innings, and did it all despite being six years older than Hughes at the beginning of the stretch.

      It’s impressive, but it’s not the only impressive thing Schill did. Besides, Schill was also left out of the balloting entirely some years despite being amazing: his 1992 or 1998 seasons should have gotten at least a little down-ballot attention.

      • Darrel says:

        All of that is right and has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not K:BB ratio means a damn thing in measuring the effectiveness of a pitcher.

        • Nick S. says:

          If you look at Hughes’ record, the year he had the 11.63 K/BB ratio is easily the best of his career. Turns out doing a lot of a good thing (striking out batters) while avoiding bad things (walking batters) makes you pretty effective.

  10. Bill H. says:

    Regarding the Schilling vs. Smoltz comparison: how much help did Smoltz get from the narrative of being part of the “Big Three” with Maddux and Glavine? Also, the years as a closer enabled comparisons with Eckersley. I think that if Smoltz was on some other team, and was a starter every year, he would still be on the ballot along with Schilling, Mussina, etc.

    • Rob Smith says:

      As a person who watched Smoltz closely, the was very dominating for a long time. He dominated as a starter and as a closer. But I think his being in the playoffs and on national TV for about a dozen straight years, and his post season dominance were what got him in the HOF. That said, I accept that Schilling’s career is similar, except Schilling never had the dominant seasons as a closer that Smoltz had. Still, Schilling is a HOFer. No doubt. His personality is obviously the main issue.

      • lazermike says:

        Schilling and Smoltz have the same weakness as HOF candidates: a relatively low win total. The thing with Smoltz’s saves is they “excuse” his wins, because you can think, well, if he wasn’t getting 45 saves a year for three years he could have had 40 or 50 more wins. The closer years have the effect of removing an argument against him — or at least explaining it away.

  11. Bryan Adams says:

    I agree that Schilling had a HOF career. I’d personally be fine w/ letting Jaffe just tell us who’s in and who’s out as a player.

    I have to say, though, I’m kind of surprised by the “who cares what happened off the field” viewpoint. While Big Schill was a great pitcher, I’d argue that his overall contribution to baseball has been massively compromised by his post-baseball career. If anything, he took the fame he gathered from his (trivial) skill at throwing a baseball and used it to further (material) ideas that hurt huge groups of people.

    Same with OJ. He was a great runner. No one denies that. He also killed two people and got away with it. That seems more important to me.

    Put another way — if the HOF is only about recognizing athletic accomplishment in a vacuum, what good is it?

    • SDG says:

      It’s an institution designed to recognize athletic accomplishments in a vacuum. That is its purpose. And seriously, do you want the likes of Murray Chass passing judgements on people’s souls? That would be horrifying. Parsing whether they cheated on their wives, how much they volunteered, judging players 100 years ago for being homophobic. That sounds like a nightmare.

    • SDG says:

      Just like with OJ. His punishment for murdering two people and beating his wife shouldn’t mean that he gets a football plaque removed. The punishment for OJ should be he spends the rest of his life in jail. The football community could strike every single one of his wins from the record and it would be meaningless and grossly inadequate. The only body with enough authority to punish OJ is the state. Any private individual/organization trying to do that by withholding awards in completely meaningless. They might be hurting the cause, actually, because they allow people to think OJ had been adequately punished and there is no reason for the state to intervene.

    • John G says:

      The penalty for OJ being a murderer should be life in prison. Unfortunately, he got off (though he’s now in jail for something else), but it has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on his football career. Yes, being a murderer is more important than being one of the best running backs of all time. But as Joe stated, he is both of those things, and the former doesn’t negate the latter (in terms of football accomplishments only). He shouldn’t have gotten away with murder in part because of his celebrity (I’m aware that there were other factors, but that was certainly one of them). But his crimes also should not impact whether or not he is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  12. invitro says:

    One of the funniest things about this debate is that Schilling has won four, count ’em, FOUR awards for character:
    – Branch Rickey Award
    – Hutch Award
    – Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
    – Roberto Clemente Award
    I’m curious which other HoF candidates have been as honored for their exemplary character.

    • ajnrules says:

      Trevor Hoffman won the Branch Rickey, Hutch, and Lou Gehrig awards. Tim Wakefield and Edgar have won the Roberto Clemente Award.

      Vote Wakefield!

    • Rob Smith says:

      It just reinforces how arbitrary awards can be.

      • invitro says:

        So you think Schilling did nothing to deserve those awards? What about other recipients of the awards?

        • DJ Mc says:

          It’s easy to do a lot of good for charity when the government is giving you $75 million for nothing.

          • invitro says:

            It’s not so easy to spend that money to get awards, when the money won’t be loaned for 10 (& 16) more years. I know that if Schilling did indeed travel far into the future to get those millions of dollars, we should probably stop debating his HoF case, and just bow down to him, for he is obviously our Lord and Master.

    • SDG says:

      Even better. When the HoF opened the character exhibit, with permanent statues of Gehrig, Jackie, and Clemente, Schilling was invited to speak on behalf of Gehrig.

      That said, Schilling is going into the Hall, zero voters are holding his beliefs against him, and his comments have nothing to do with his vote totals. Spreading that narrative is irresponsible.

  13. Stewart McMullan says:

    PED guys should be in the HOF. If a hitter accumulated HOF elite numbers, he accumulated them while facing a large number of pitchers who were also on steroids, and vice versa. To say they benefitted from steroids ignores they were hurt by facing guys on steroids. Players from that era have to hit three markers to be in the HOF… 1) HOF elite numbers; and 2) absence of irrefutable evidence of steroid use, and 3) a reputation as somewhat a decent guy. Clemens, Bonds, Sosa don’t pass #3, and aren’t in, whereas others who we suspect cheated but said the right things are.

    • Rob Smith says:

      I’m confused. You first state that PED guys should be in. Then you disqualify them with marker #2 by saying that they are disqualified if there is irrefutable evidence (whatever that is) that they used PEDs. Which is it? BTW: Clemens and Bonds both continue to deny using, despite a lot of evidence to the contrary. And both ended up being cleared in their “lying to Congress” cases. So, is that evidence irrefutable?

      I think the best way to judge is to look at their career and make appropriate subtractions for PED usage. If that means throwing out much of their career, or half of their career, or whatever, so be it.

    • SDG says:

      There is no evidence voters care about (3). CobbYawkeyLandisAnsonDurocherPerry.

      The thing that keeps you our are gambling and steroids. The voters have never punished anyone for other stuff as far as I’m aware of and if you cam point to a specific example, I’m willing to listen.

      • invitro says:

        You aren’t aware of Dick Allen? Also, Yawkey had a reputation as not only a decent guy, but one of the best, highest-character men to ever work in baseball.

        • SDG says:

          Not only am I aware of Dick Allen, but I referred to him in a previous post on this page. That you replied to. It’s flattering that you follow me around.

          Allen wasn’t kept out of the Hall for character reasons. His stats were borderline, because he didn’t get as much playing time as he might have, for (arguably) character reasons. He has since been placed on plenty of VC-type ballots, where he got far closer than saints like Gil Hodges. He has a better chance of getting in than most players with similar profiles. But his case has always relied on context, something voters have been historically loath to look at, regardless of character. He has a .292 BA and 351 HR. Historically, BBWAA voters rejected people with those numbers.

          • NevadaMark says:

            Being traded 3 times in 3 years in his prime didn’t help. Nor did he have a particularly long career (done at 35).

  14. bartap74 says:

    The lawyer in me feels compelled to point out that O.J. Simpson was never convicted of murder. He was, in fact, acquitted of all charges.

    • invitro says:

      The human in me wants to point out that your comment is rather offensive to anyone who sympathizes with O.J.’s murder victims. And I’m sure the lawyer in you is familiar with the details of the case and that it is a proven fact that O.J. murdered those people (although the lawyer in you probably also feels that truth is meaningless compared to a jury verdict).

    • Rob Smith says:

      He was convicted in the civil case. While not technically a murder trial, the result was that he was found to be responsible for two deaths. However you want to spin that, it’s still morally equivalent to having been found guilty of murder.

      • Oilcan23 says:

        Also, he totally did it.

        Juries make mistakes.

      • Pat says:

        @Rob Smith,

        A) O.J. totally did it. But B), in a civil case, one isn’t “convicted” but instead “found liable.” The burden of proof is lower, so it’s easier to be found liable than found guilty. It’s not “morally equivalent” at all—even if, as established, O.J. totally did it.

        Try to think of it this way—if a civil trial were morally equivalent to a criminal trial, then the civil trial against O.J. would have been unconstitutional double jeopardy. I trust you wouldn’t agree with that conclusion?

        @bartap74, dammit, while everything you say is factually correct, don’t you get how it’s “offensive”? This is the internet!

        • John G says:

          Mostly agree with your comment, Pat, though I would point out that there is a difference between moral and legal. Suppose OJ was never found liable in civil court either. The evidence still very strongly suggests (to put it mildly) that he did it. Thus, he is still morally responsible for the murders he committed, even if he escapes legal justice. Or even if there legitimately wasn’t enough evidence to convict (and therefore no way to hold him criminally responsible), he’s still morally responsible if he in fact did it.

          • Pat says:

            Yes, entirely. (And let it not go unsaid: He totally did it.)

            I’d perhaps go a step further: His moral responsibility attaches because he did it, even if he had been found not liable at the civil trial.

  15. ajnrules says:

    So true. I struggled with this dilemma while compiling my (non-existent) ballot three years ago. I was ready to drop Schilling because of all of the off-color things he was saying or posting on social media at that time. Then I realize that it was hypocritical of me to know he has Hall of Fame numbers but chose to withhold my vote anyways. And since then I have been “voting” for him proudly.

  16. David Buck says:

    Dammit, Joe. You infuriate me with your logic.

  17. birtelcom says:

    25 guys have finished their MLB careers with at least 1,000 IP and averaging at least 8 Ks per 9 IP. Of those 25 guys, only one averaged fewer than 2 BBs per 9 IP. That was Curt Schilling. Lowest career BB per 9 IP among pitchers with 8 or more Ks per 9 IP (min. 1,000 IP):
    Curt Schilling 1.96 BB per 9 IP
    Mariano Rivera 2.01 BB per IP
    Pedro Martinez and Javier Vasquez 2.42 BB per 9 IP
    Johan Santana 2.52 BB per IP
    Trevor Hoffman 2.54 BB per 9 IP

  18. Brad says:

    Just for a comparison, last time I checked, spouting off about politics never kept any band or performer (Springsteen comes to mind) out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It shouldn’t in baseball either.

    • invitro says:

      Rock n’ rollers aren’t expected to have high, or even medium, character. Indeed, having a low character is probably considered by most to be an essential part of rock n’ roll.

      • Brad says:

        Good point. It’s obvious the Rock and Roll HOF has much lower standards. Madonna is inducted, which pretty much wipes out the term rock and roll. Many of the inductees of the R&R HOF have:
        a. Had contentious relationships with the media and some probably have blatant contempt for their fans.
        b. Been accused or convicted of a serious felony (rape, assault, drugs).
        c. Been an abuser of drugs and/or alcohol.
        d. Ran their pie hole to the press about something they possibly know little about, usually politics, while quite probably never even voted.
        In the baseball hall, some of that criteria is keeping guys like Schilling, McGuire and Bonds out. If it’s b or c, I’m fine with that. If it’s because of a or d, that’s a different ballgame. That smacks more of media vindictiveness. What’s your thought?

        • invitro says:

          If I had a HoF vote, “character” would be a extremely important criterion. But the way I would use “character” is to ask whether this man had a general good or bad effect on the state of baseball and MLB. I think the men who would score highest on this measure for me are JRobinson, Ruth, and the pre-gambling Rose. The PED guys had an overall very bad effect on MLB, as they tarnished its reputation. An extreme contempt for fans would certainly be a negative, but contempt for journalists would be a non-issue. Using recreational drugs would be a non-issue, but selling or distributing them within the game would be a automatic “no” vote. I don’t know if one felony of violence would be a big no, but a pattern of violent behavior would. And political statements would be a non-issue, too.

          But I find these moral judgements to be very difficult. I’ve changed my mind on them many times and I’m sure I will some more. On Schilling… his purely political views wouldn’t matter to me. But he’s made a bunch of really horrible tweets/retweets about Muslims that I think are not political, but just rotten on their own. But I can’t see that these things negatively affected baseball in general at all, while his on-field exploits obviously had an extremely positive effect on MLB, so he’d still be a first-ballot, no-question HoF selection for me, as he is for Joe. Even if my opinion of him as a human has significantly soured in the last couple of days.

          Finally, I don’t feel comfortable with judging someone else’s HoF picks. It’s enough for me to say who I would pick… I’m learning lessons that it’s quite likely that someone’s opinion, which I don’t understand, may have been made based on something that I am thinking incorrectly about, or may not be aware of. So I’m fine with any reason that anyone has for voting for or against any player. (This isn’t to say that I’m fine with people making factual judgements of players’ skill or value on the field that are clearly wrong based on sabermetrics. It’s that I think HoF-worthiness seems to me to be much more of an opinion, than a factual judgement. Sorry for the probably too-long reply. I didn’t even get to talk about rock n’ rollers, which is one of my favorite pastimes. 🙂 )

          • Brad says:

            I was quite impressed with the Rock & Roll HOF. I actually enjoyed it more than the Football HOF. The rock HOF seems to take a big hall approach, breaching into country (Bill Monroe, Bob Wills and Brenda Lee among others) Rap (Tupac, Run DMC) and pop/Disco (Madonna and Donna Summer). All of those are deserving of some HOF but I’m not sure they should be in the rock HOF. Like I said, they take a big hall approach compared to baseball. Looking at the rock hall, I wonder if someone like Ted Nugent is denied entry due to his political beliefs. Ted puts on a fantastic concert, has sold more than a few records and seems every bit as deserving as some other recipients such as Steve Miller band. He might be a good comparable to Schilling. Personally, I don’t think a performer or athlete should be excluded for spouting their political beliefs, however misguided most of them may be. Like they say, social media is a megaphone for stupidity. HOF Voters will have to adapt to this new normal.

          • invitro says:

            Ouch, that’s a serious insult to Schilling. Nugent is essentially a one-hit wonder with the Cat Scratch Fever album. He has zero top ten albums and one top 40 single in his solo career; I’m not going to say anything about the godawful Damn Yankees. With such little record sales, you have to be a critical favorite, and though Nugent seems fairly liked by allmusic, it’s not enough. I’m not too hip to who the rock HoF is letting in these days… it’s seemed to weigh sales far more than acclaim, which is a turn-off for me. I don’t think it yet has the Replacements, Pixies, or Husker Du, which I think is just embarrassing but oh well, whatever.

          • invitro says:

            And Steve Miller has probably a fair amount more critical acclaim than Nugent, but he also has four top-three albums, a 13-million-selling greatest hits album, and three number one singles. Really, there’s no comparison… c’mon, you knew these things… 🙂

          • Brad says:

            True about Steve Miller, he had a big hit run through the early to late 70’s and I enjoyed every one of them. Ted never really translated to radio. I probably should have used Kid Rock as a comparison, who I believe is the musical genius of this generation. I’ll pause here for the derisive laughter. My case is this: he’s had big hits in four genres – rap, rock, pop and country. Who else has crossed over like that? He plays guitar and writes a lot of his own music and lyrics (which is rare among most of the posers calling themselves musicians today). He knows by heart and can play EVERY Hank Williams Jr. song. That’s a library of 700+’songs.
            He’s also a very outspoken conservative. But how can you justify letting in a band like Green Day, who in my opinion, plays basically catchy jr. High type music and leave out the Kid? And I don’t mean that as a Green Day dis. If I were fourteen, I’d probably love them. Will people listen to Green Day when they’re sixty? God I hope not.

          • invitro says:

            I’ve never listened to Kid Rock, so no opinion on him, but there probably hasn’t been anyone to hit all those major genres. Taylor Swift probably will one day ;). I listened to a little Green Day when they first hit in 1994 or about then, but there were so much great music then that was miles ahead of Green Day, so I mostly ignored them.

            It sounds like you’re focused on outspoken conservative artists? Well, I actually don’t know who’s in the HoF, but probably Hank Williams Jr. and Lynyrd are, and they’re both super-conservative (in a way that’s very different from how I’m super-conservative… we need new political labels lol). I think Elvis was very conservative, in kind of a third way, really having an extreme love for family, home, friends, religion, and history, at least when he was younger. Oh heck, the internet has lots of lists of things like this… mentions:
            – Johnny Ramone
            – Alice Cooper
            – Prince (! I’m not sure about that)
            – Gloria Estefan
            – Gene Simmons
            – Meat Loaf
            – Dave Mustaine
            – Beach Boys (I think that’s just Mike Love?)
            – Neil Peart
            – Michale Graves (never heard of this fine young man)

          • invitro says:

            Here is a much longer list: And it’s really a much better list, as it has Elvis and Hank Jr. and Lynryd… anyway, I think dozens of these are in the HoF, so I’m not sure if there’s much evidence for any political discrimination on their part.

        • NevadaMark says:

          Joan Baez never sang a rock and roll song in her life.

          • invitro says:

            “Rock and roll” is a very wide tent, especially the way the HoF uses it. I think it means “any popular musical style that first became popular after World War II”, but also includes blues and early country music. (Maybe bluegrass, too.)

    • SDG says:

      To be fail, Springsteen has fairly middle-of-the-road political beliefs and has never called for journalists to be murdered. I think Schilling should be in the Hall but let’s not create a false equivalency.

      Most baseball players are conservatives. Nolan Ryan is good friends with George W. Bush. ZERO candidates have been affected in any way whatsoever by an allegedly liberal BBWAA. Roger Clemens is a conservative Republican and I’ve seen no one suggesting that’s why he hasn’t been voted in yet. Why are we pretending Schilling is some kind of victim here?

      • invitro says:

        “Springsteen has fairly middle-of-the-road political beliefs” — Springsteen is more of an ultra-hard-core loyalist Democrat, a man that can be counted on to support and often campaign for major Democratic candidates, than a very far leftist.

        “Why are we pretending Schilling is some kind of victim here?” — I don’t think too many people are. (I probably did in the past, but not now.) But there’s a huge difference between calling Schilling a “victim”, and making the factual, and pretty obviously correct, claim that he’s lost votes in the HoF from his social-media posts.

        • SDG says:

          I have yet to see evidence that he lost votes due to his social media posts.

          There are several possibilities:
          1) Schilling, despite significantly increasing his vote total every year so far, despite his long history of offensive public statements about Muslims, Ukraine, etc. But this one is the one that hurts him with the writers. He will never get into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA as a result.
          2) The writers are doing that silly thing they do where they “send a message” similar to how they made Alomar wait a year for spitting on an umpire. Or made Piazza wait 4 years because of bacne. His vote totals will proceed as normal next year and, at worst, had to wait one more year than he otherwise would. It’s why there have been no unanimous votes. Dumb but harmless and no evidence that he’s “lost” votes unless you are willing to apply the same outrage on behalf of Alomar and Piazza (and Williams, Musial, Aaron, Mays, Griffey, etc for not being unanimous).
          3) Schilling’s vote went down because Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell etc went up. The writers can only vote for 10 people so some are going to be left off (as you know) and if this is the year they decided to break the seal on the steroid guys there will be some people who will have to wait.

          The evidence points to (3) being the most likely explanation, with maybe a bit of (2). (1) is not happening. There is no evidence he will not be voted in because of his social media posts. He’s made far more extreme and far more offensive ones over the years that his vote totals have risen.

      • Brad says:

        If Springsteen is “middle of the road” I’d like to see someone you consider far left. If the Boss were any further left, he’d be the dictator of some Central American backwater.

  19. invitro says:

    I wish this place had a poll. I’d love to know how people would rank the offenses committed by Anson, Cobb, Simpson, and Schilling. Which one’s are worst?

    • Karyn says:

      I would say (in order of worst offender to least):


      And I may have Schilling and Cobb backward–I may be overestimating Cobb’s actual misdeeds.

      • invitro says:

        That’s the same as me, except that I don’t know the details of what Cobb did. I don’t use Twitter, so I don’t know much about what Schilling has done there… but I just read a post that documented a pattern of disgusting “jokes” about Muslims (not only Islamists or Jihadists, and I think the distinction is quite important) that he’s “retweeted”. If Cobb “only” went around saying racist things, I think Schilling and he might be about equal in the bad character department.

        • Karyn says:

          There was the time he went into the stands and beat up a guy who turned out to be disabled. I mean, it was wrong and Cobb ought not to have done that but there are a few mitigating factors: the guy had been riding Cobb hard all game, his disability was not immediately apparent from the field, and there wasn’t the same antipathy toward the fistfight level of violence then as now.

          I think that much of what we commonly believe about Cobb is overblown, the result of a less-than-scrupulously honest biographer. But I’m hazy on the details. My overall impression is that Cobb was no more racist than most Southern white men of his time, and less so than many.

          • nightfly says:

            Notably, Cobb’s teammates were all supportive of him in the wake of that incident, and when he was suspended Detroit refused to take the field for their next game.

            The Tigers were forced to hold open tryouts in Philadelphia to field a lineup, and that went about as well as you’d imagine it would. A college student named Al Travers gave up 24 runs (10 unearned), a Tigers coach played and hit two triples, and the whole incident proved so embarrassing that Cobb went to his teammates and told them to forget it, there was no sense pushing the issue.

            Ban Johnson reduced Cobb’s suspension from “indefinite” to “ten days” and the Tigers took the field on Monday. (Back then, there were no Sunday games… so the pitcher, Al Travers, became the only one of the players to work Sundays regularly once he was ordained a priest.)

            (SABR has a terrific article about it, which I have oversimplified for the purposes of the combox.)

          • invitro says:

            Great recap. I’d forgotten about the Tigers fielding that replacement-player team.

        • NevadaMark says:

          He assaulted a black man over an elevator(!), pulling a knife on him, and had a warrant placed for his arrest. With the Tigers playing the Pirates in the WS, he had to travel himself to the games in Pittsburgh, avoiding Ohio and the risk of arrest. After the Series was over, he hired eminent Cleveland counsel and was able to get the charges reduced to a fine. But it was sticky (no pun intended) there for awhile.

          • invitro says:

            C’mon… everybody knows they didn’t have elevators then…

          • TWolf says:

            About a year ago I read a more up-to date biography of Ty Cobb called Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, written by Charles Leerhsen. The author does not try to make Cobb into a nice guy, but he disputes some of the worst said about him in books written by Al Stump and Charles Alexander, the Ken Burns televised feature called BASEBALL, and the movie Cobb based on the Stump book.

            On the issue of race, he states that while Cobb was born in the deep South during the time of rigid segregation, his father was an educated man and a progressive for his time. His grandfather and great-grandfather were staunchly antislavery. Leerhsen acknowledges that Cobb had violent confrontations with both blacks and whites, but some of those with blacks that were described in prior books could not be documented. For what its worth, after baseball integration took place, Cobb was quoted making favorable comments about blacks in baseball, particularly with respect to Willie Mays and Roy Campanella. Cobb was also seen attending Negro League games.

            Cobb was clearly a temperamental SOB and didn’t suffer fools easily. He had bad relations with his former wives and children. However, much of what has been said or written about him likely never took place. The Burns TV documentary said that very few individuals attended his funeral. it did not say that that this was because the funeral was planned as a private affair. Much of the Cobb movie was pure fiction and played to his image from what was previously put in print after Cobb’s death .If sports fans read this biography, it may temper at least some of the bad things said about Cobb that are taken as gospel.

  20. Alejo says:

    Let’s play with the “Journalist, rope, some assembly required” T-shirt:

    Substitute the word “journalist” with “jew”. Would a celebration of such a T-shirt be acceptable? Would it be acceptable for a future HoFer to advocate for the lynching of jews?

    Let’s try another one, “black man”. The most important moment in baseball history, one may ague, is the Integration of the game in 1947. Lets imagine a prospective HoFer advocated the lynching of black men, Jim Crow style.

    Would people vote for him? I don’t think so (I least, I hope not, you never know in this day and age of America).

    Now, do journalists have the same human rights and dignity jews and black people have? Of course they do. Do they deserve lynching in any circumstance? no, come on, lynching is a crime, you can’t lynch someone just because he or she is reporting about something you dislike!

    Journalists uphold one of our most fundamental freedoms, the freedom of speech.

    Schilling approved of that T-shirt, the T-shirt that supports the lynching of journalists, because in the political place he inhabits freedom of speech is equivalent to lies and manipulation. Reporting uncomfortable truths is the modern equivalent of looking at a white woman in the deep south, a cause for lynching.

    It is important to note that atrocities usually begin with words. The holocaust was preceded by antisemite propaganda. Racial segregation was supported by a body of pseudoscientific literature establishing white supremacy. The Rwandan genocide was spurred by a radio campaign of fake news (sound familiar?)

    So, this “oh, it’s only a joke, you know Curt”, this normalisation of the idea of lynching journalists is dangerous. And offensive. And anti-american, by the way.

    Whether the writer votes for him or not is his problem.

    But for a moment imagine that ceremony, with Bonds, Clemens and Schilling standing there together… wow, that would be something to behold. That would really send a message to the child in all of us: honesty, true merit, humaneness, tolerance… can all be damned. All that matters is the numbers. A good SO:BB ratio matters more than anything man.

    • Karyn says:

      Schilling made a terrible, tasteless joke. Let’s not compare it to racism. People are journalists by choice.

      • Alejo says:

        Oh, if you do something by choice, you can be discriminated upon.

        Are you a professor of ethics somewhere?

      • SDG says:

        Murdering journalists is one of the hallmarks of a fascist, anti-democratic, authoritarian society. I believe Schilling should be in the HoF, like I believe OJ should be in the football Hall. But Schilling said something dangerous and utterly beyond the pale and it’s sick that a bunch of writers are being forced to laugh it off like it’s no big deal just so they don’t look like PC scolds.

        I’m sick of the double standard that lets people on the right get away with calling for groups of citizens to be tortured and murdered but a liberal is the one who is always criticised for curtailing free speech.

    • Chaz says:

      So much for lawyer jokes.

    • invitro says:

      “Now, do journalists have the same human rights and dignity jews and black people have?” — After reading how certain journalists made up, out of thin air, lies about Schilling, and got them printed or aired, I’d have to say that these particular journalists most definitely do not have the dignity of the average Jew or black person.

      • Alejo says:

        So lynching a journalist is politically correct then?

        • invitro says:

          I was merely answering your question. And the answer to this question is: no, except maybe among pro athletes. Have you read many biographies of them? It’s not rare for a pro athlete to hate journalists.

          • Alejo says:

            True. Bonds absolutely hated journalists.
            Jim Rice.
            Ted Williams.
            etc, etc,etc
            None advocated lynching.
            What is permissible to say, acceptable socially, has changed. For the worse.
            Remember Erasmus about the Reformation: the war of words will end in blows.
            Better to measure one’s words then, and be decent.

        • invitro says:

          Alejo, I’m curious. When you see a young man wearing a Black Sabbath or Slayer T-shirt, do you assume that the guy must be a Satanist? (I’m old… I’m sure there are modern heavy metal bands, who enjoy the images of Satanism, and would be more likely to be found on a current T-shirt.)

          • Alejo says:

            I actually like Black Sabbath, they were a great band.

            But no, I dont think someone with a Slayer T-shirt is a satanist, I just think they have poor dress sense.

            But Satanism is something of a joke, isn’t it? lynching in the US is very much a historical reality. In fact, journalist lynching IS reality in much of the world (not in America, yet).

            So it isn’t a joke for me, no. People should think about what they say, dont you think?

          • invitro says:

            Of course people should think about what they say, especially when they’re famous and in public, and super-especially when they’re trying to get attention for what they’re saying, as Schilling has done.

            I brought up Satanism just to try to show that maybe we shouldn’t think that an image on a T-shirt accurately reflects the sentiments of its wearer. Satanism is a joke now, sure, but it sure wasn’t in the “Satanic ritual abuse” moral panic of the 1980’s (see, which was quite evil and resulted in seriously harming many innocent lives. And supposedly the famous West Memphis Three were convicted in part because of which T-shirts they wore. It’s not much of a point I’m making, but I think saying Schilling is/was actually advocating the lynching of journalists (and I know this still happens a lot in the world) is a bridge too far. (I think a much stronger case could be made that Schilling has advocated the persecution of Muslims, repeatedly.)

        • Chaz says:

          Do you take all shirts literally?

    • BobDD says:

      taking the “lynch journo’s” literally is really stupid – either that or you’re just lying

      • Alejo says:

        Stupid is to make the “joke”.

      • SDG says:

        Oh come on. If Lena Dunham wore that shirt no one would ever stop screaming about it. But a famous right-wing guy does it and it’s a joke as we should laugh it off.

        Liberals are regularly accused of being anti-free-speech and seeking to oppress conservative voices. But here is an outspoken rightwing conservative who tweeted that journalists should be murdered. Something fascist authoritarians like Putin believe. Something incredibly anti-free-speech. And no one is calling Schilling anti-free-speech at all. They’re saying, basically, he was being impolite. No one is concluding that right-wingers want to murder journalists.

        The hypocrisy is terrifying.

    • Brent says:

      As a lawyer, pretty sure I have heard that joke used with my profession on a number of occasions, and I wouldn’t think all those people are as bad as racists.

      Of course, I am pretty sure lawyers have thicker skins than journalists

    • MikeN says:

      “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

      We need to throw Shakespeare out of the Literature Hall of Fame

  21. Dano says:

    Mike Mussina has better stats during the regular season. Won 54 more games in 2 less seasons. Schilling has a slightly better ERA but pretty comparable. Mussina has less complete games but a few more shutouts. Schilling averages 33 more strikeouts per season, 2 less walks. Schilling has 2 less WAR than Mussina, despite pitching 2 more seasons. I’d vote Mussina first and I don’t think he is in yet, is he?

    • Karyn says:

      I agree that Mussina doesn’t get his due as a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher, but he doesn’t have the same peak that Schilling does.

      • Otistaylor89 says:

        Probably because he was playing in the toughest division in MLB in the AL with DHs for his whole career.

        • Oilcan23 says:

          True story.

          Voters aren’t good at adjusting for circumstances, which is why Jim Rice is in the Hall of Fame and Jose Cruz isn’t.

    • nightfly says:

      Schlling was only a September callup his first two years, and a reliever his next two, which suppresses his counting stats somewhat, especially wins and WAR. He also pitched for lousy teams in Philly (except for 1993), so you wouldn’t expect him to be loading up on wins. But both deserve to go.

      Fun fact – they missed being teammates by just a few months. Baltimore traded Schilling as part of the package to get Glenn Davis from the Astros in January 1991; Mussina debuted for the Orioles in August of that year.

    • SDG says:

      Exactly. So let’s drop the narrative about how Schilling is a persecuted victim punished by jackbooted liberal thugs for exercising his right to free speech.

  22. Scott says:

    Schilling was overshadowed by four of the best pitchers of all-time (Johnson, Clemens, Maddux, and Pedro). But this is a really bad argument. It’s the equivalent of saying that Al Kaline shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame because he wasn’t as good as Hank Aaron, or Frank Robinson, or Roberto Clemente.

    • Jeff says:

      You mean kind of like those who say Tim Raines was no Rickey Henderson?

      • invitro says:

        And that Kenny Lofton was no Rickey…

      • Scott says:

        Yes, but the writers in Kaline’s case were able to recognize his proper place in baseball history on the first ballot.

        Schilling is harder to appreciate because he didn’t have the same flashly number (3000 K’s isn’t the same as 3000 hits), but he did have an amazing post-season record while pitching in large markets (Boston and Philly)

        Raines is harder to appreciate because he played in Montreal and lacked the post-season record. I think that has more to do with it than Henderson per say.

    • SDG says:

      It’s a bad argument, but one that writers have been making ever since the Hall existed. It’s far from unique to Schilling. Foxx and Greenberg got that.

  23. KHAZAD says:

    The ironic thing about the mention of the character clause in relation to Curt Schilling is that if you take his character into account, it would actually only add to his Hall of Fame case, indeed probably more than any other candidate this year. Schilling won more awards based on character than anyone else in this class, and more than he ever won for his skill.

    No, it is not his character that we don’t like, it is his (largely political) opinions. I understand being taken aback by his opinions. His more controversial views and statements as he has gotten older are diametrically opposed to my own. But anyone who mentions the character clause as their “excuse” for not voting for him is a complete hypocrite. His play on the field was definitely Hall of Fame worthy, his off the field contributions when he played should be in the rulebook under the character clause to show what we should aspire to. He deserves to be in the Hall.

    Leaving him out because you don’t like his views is ridiculous. There are many people who have lived a fine example in their life who have extreme political views, (this includes all extremes) and there is a tendency for those people to get more extreme later in life (or when they have too much time on their hands.)

    I have an Uncle who is one the best people I have ever known. In so many ways, he is the person I would want my son to aspire to be. He has done more selflessly for others than anyone I have ever known personally. He is also someone who has put 100% of himself into every task that has ever needed to be done. He never quits, or makes excuses, or complains, or slacks off a little when things become difficult. His quiet strength and kindness, and his ability to be counted on are inspirations to anyone who knows him.

    He has also become politically extreme in a Schilling like way as he has gotten older. I have to avoid political conversations with him, and had to ask him to stop sending me political Emails. In some ways his views seem to belie the way he actually lives his life. This doesn’t change my admiration for him in any way, and the idea that this great man wouldn’t make a baseball Hall of Fame (If he were a player) because lesser people who didn’t like his views would malign his character is anathema to me.

    • Alejo says:

      “Lesser people”.
      Who is “lesser people” than Curt Schilling?

      • invitro says:

        O.J. Simpson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Cap Anson, for three. A lot of NFL players have beat up their wives and girlfriends… to me, that is a lot worse than Schilling’s loudmouth and often bigoted spiels. Communists. Cop killers. Any killers. Any assaulters. Drug dealers. The thousand criminals that President Obama has pardoned. Schilling has big-time flaws, but he doesn’t really get too close to the bottom of the well, in my opinion…

        • Alejo says:

          Sure, I am just pointing out: careful with the words you use, the ideas you support.
          They may end up becoming reality.
          Is a world where lynching is permitted, desirable?
          I am sure you agree with me.

          • invitro says:

            Of course. A world where “joke” T-shirts about lynching is permitted? I don’t know… we take freedom of speech pretty seriously. Legal but shameful, probably.

        • Darrel says:

          In your opinion is key there Invitro. From reading your comments here over the course of time my guess is that your political views and Schillings very closely align. Hardcore right wing guy who thinks Trump is amazing and Obama is a Kenyan socialist. Your views on the things that Schilling says may not be the same as others. Also you missed the point on the “lesser people” reference that was originally made by KHAZAD. Might want to give that a re-read.

          • Karyn says:

            Eh, invitro has a lot of right-wing views, but I don’t see him as a conspiracy theorist. I disagree with a lot of his takes, but he’s too evidence based to go for the ‘Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Communist!’ line.

          • invitro says:

            Well, I’m definitely hardcore right-wing, but only because I define “right-wing” as being against Marxist-Leninist communism. I don’t think Trump is amazing. Obama is probably too much of a tyrant to be a true socialist. He’s only half Kenyan. Does that clear things up?

        • SDG says:

          Schilling called for journalists to be summarily executed. (In addition to all his other extreme and bigoted comments). This is anti-democratic and the beliefs of authoritarian, fascist states.
          I think Schilling should be in the Hall. But be honest with yourself. If a liberal called for journalists to be summarily executed, you would judge them far more harshly.

          • invitro says:

            “If a liberal called for journalists to be summarily executed, you would judge them far more harshly.” — Why do you say that? If a liberal wore a T-shirt with what is obviously intended to be a joke about killing journalists, AND several journalists were known to have made up quotes and other things that put the liberal in a bad light, and published them as fact, I would most likely just ignore it. I sure as shoot wouldn’t go around ranting about “summarily executed”, “fascist”, and other such nonsense.

      • KHAZAD says:

        Actually, I was referring to my Uncle. However, it could still be a valid point. Most of the writers sitting in judgement against Schilling because of his politics or in some cases because of a joke tweet that was admittedly in extremely poor taste and a bit shocking haven’t done nearly as many good things for others in their lives as Curt Schilling has.

        That doesn’t necessarily make them lesser people, and that was a decidedly poor choice of phrasing by me. But to me it does make them unworthy of casting stones about character. I actually think it makes them petty and small and speaks volumes about their own character or lack thereof.

    • SDG says:

      Why are we taking it as faith that Schilling is being punished for his political views? He’ll get in in a few years. It hasn’t taken him any longer than anyone else with his win totals, ERA, CY Young votes, postseason, and steroid rumors.

      Character has never mattered to the voters. Gambling and steroids (although weirdly not greenies and spitters) have, because those directly impact the field of play. But I have never heard of any writer saying “Of course he should get in! He won the Branch Rickey award!” Or “Mickey Mantle was a drinker who cheated on his wife. He doesn’t deserve it!” All this stuff about Schilling’s tweets is irrelevant because I have yet to hear anyone argue that they have affected his or her ballot. If anything, Schilling calling for journalists to be murdered has helped him, because now we aren’t talking about his low win totals.

  24. steve says:

    Supposedly former Phillies general manager Ed Wade said something like, “Schilling is a horse every fourth day, and a horse’s ass the other three.” That was early in Schill’s career, and seems to pretty much sum up who he is. I have not yet been to the HoF, and am not exactly sure what information is included about the players. If all that is posted is stats and awards, I can skip my future visit. If fans at the HoF get a well rounded picture of who the members actually are/were (for example, by including comments like Ed Wade’s along with Schilling’s statistically earned plaque), then I’ll keep the visit on my bucket list.

    • Karyn says:

      The plaques themselves feature very brief encapsulations of the players’ careers. More than stats, but not a real attempt to depict the whole of the player in context. They don’t have the space for that, for one thing.

      That said, I would still encourage a trip to the Hall, if your circumstances permit. It’s worth it.

  25. Kyle says:

    I think how you view the Hall of Fame is very important to this. If you view the Hall as something for the best players and not an award or honor, as Joe does (and as I do, for the record), Schilling should be in for sure. If you view it was an honor, its very hard to honor someone who has been as rotten as Schilling has to a lot of people in recent times, and it doesn’t send a very good message.

    So I get the argument against. I even agree with it from the “The Hall is an honor” perspective, it’s just not a perspective I really subscribe to, and so I do think Curt should be in (as should, in my opinion, Rose, Bonds, and Clemens).

    • Rob Smith says:

      I agree. Schilling didn’t kill anyone or steal from anyone. The main issue is that he was a jack wagon. And not just any jack wagon, but a Grade A jack wagon. AND, he’d still have been OK, but some of the biggest targets of his jack wagonish behavior are the people voting on his induction. That also makes Schilling a moron. Biting the hand that feeds you is never a wise choice. It might seem like fun. It might get you a lot of attention. It might even win you some friends at parties or on social media. But, in the end, it’s going to bite you in the ass. That’s what’s happening here. It’s a life 101 lesson. Go out with a smile on your face. Pat everyone on the back and say “we may have had some disagreements, but I enjoyed it”. Grit you teeth while doing it, if you must. But do it. This is what I tell my boys… and my wife… and myself… and it’s harder than it sounds. But if you don’t do it, there’s always a price to pay. In Schilling’s case, the price is that the writers are going to make him sweat it out.

      • moviegoer74 says:

        Well, he sort of stole from Rhode Island taxpayers in that his business venture took a large loan from the state, most of which was not paid back.

        • Karyn says:

          I don’t think they ever showed fraud or malfeasance on anyone’s part, at least not on Schilling’s part. Just being really bad at business.

          There might be an argument about someone on the right wing taking loans from the government at all–aren’t they against Big Government, picking winners and losers, etc.–but it seems way off the path and kind of picayune at this point.

  26. TWolf says:

    I do not believe that Schilling should have ever been considered a lock for the hall of fame, as it seems that many commentators on this post do believe. I agree that his post-season performance has been fantastic, but his regular season year-to year performance was spotty until he joined Arizona at age 33 in the year 2000. At that point in time I bet no one thought he was a potential hall of famer. Although modern day analysts like to diminish the value of yearly won and loss records, I think his numerous unimpressive won and loss records in the prime of his career make his HOF worthiness a difficult decision for many voters. Just like the case of Bert Blyleven it will take smart baseball writers like Posnanski to make lawyerly arguments in favor of Schillings entry int the HOF.

    • Jaunty Rockefeller says:

      His 96-99 seasons in Philly were strong to very strong (~4.5 to 6+ bWAR), and his strike shortened 94 & 95 were on pace to be in line with that. Plus he had a very strong ~6 WAR debut with Philly, which is when he got a full-time rotation spot. He had a mediocre 93, and his 88-91 weren’t impressive. But his pre-AZ performance, while perhaps not HOF-worthy, was strong.

  27. Alejo says:

    Schilling wants to be in the Hall of Fame.
    Journalists vote who gets into the Hall of Fame.
    Schilling advocates journalist lynching.
    I think this reveals a lot about the intelligence and character of Schilling, and nothing about the journalists.

    • SDG says:

      Actually, it makes Schilling look smart. Now every time he has to wait to get in, he gets to argue that he’s a victim being punished for his political ideals, just like Malala or Gandhi (I bet that’s how he sees himself). The journalists look like biased, power-mad prigs, he looks like a free speech hero. This really doesn’t work out better from his perspective.

  28. Herbert Smith says:

    Who was the greatest post-season pitcher of all-time?
    I actually don’t know the answer, but I think Joe should do an article on the subject.
    But obviously the same names are usually brought up:
    Bob Gibson
    Christy Mathewson Sandy Koufax
    Curt Schilling… am I missing anybody?
    But that’s pretty rarified air, as even an anti-Schilling BW would have to admit.

    • invitro says:

      The previous article has a post from @birtelcom that lists the top six pitchers in postseason WPA. This is since 1930, I’m pretty sure, and it’s total and not per-game, but here they are:
      Most career pitching WPA in post-season history:
      1. Mariano Rivera 11.7
      2. Curt Schilling 4.1
      3. John Smoltz 3.6
      4. Andy Pettitte 3.5
      T5. Madison Bumgarner and Orel Hershiser 2.8
      I’d like to make a list of these by WPA/IP.

      Here are the top hitters, while we’re here:
      1. David Ortiz 3.2
      2. Albert Pujols 2.9
      3. Lance Berkman 2.7
      4. Pete Rose 2.6
      5. Carlos Beltran 2.5
      6. Lou Gehrig 2.3

      • birtelcom says:

        The post-season WPA numbers go back all the way to the first World Series in 1904, not just to 1930. Unlike the regular season numbers, which go back only to 1930. Retrosheet, and therefore Baseball-Reference, have play-by-play records for all post-Eason games, and therefore the data to,prepare WPA numbers. For the regular season, however, play-b-play information is still too incomplete before 1930 to do reliable WPA numbers.

        Note, though, that even though we have WPA records for the post-season all the way back to 1903, there have been more and more post-season games each year, so more modern players on the top teams will tend to have an advantage over earlier players in compiling high post-season WAR numbers simply by having more post-season games in which to participate. Players who are consistently good in post-season play will compile higher total post-season WPA numbers today than they could in the World Series-only era, just as consistently bad post-season performers will post uglier negative total WPA numbers today than they did in the WS-only era.

    • JaLaBar says:

      “the greatest post-season pitcher of all-time?” The answer to the question AS ASKED should include Mariano Rivera. If you want to change the wording of the question to ‘starter’, that’s different. But considering how many post-season innings Rivera pitched and his numbers in those innings, any discussion of best post-season ‘pitcher’ has to include him.

    • Steve Ryan says:

      Mickey Lolich? Or is he too fat for the HoF?

  29. Alejo says:

    Again, imagine, Bonds, Clemens and Schilling inducted the same day… It would be as sad as that damned 73 HR chase.

    I really couldn’t explain that to my kid: yep kiddo, the moral is, you can cheat, discriminate, disparage and wish people hanged, and you still can be honoured because of your excellent stats.

    Every fan has an ideal Hall of Fame. I wouldn’t like to meet the guy who dreamed this…

    • nightfly says:

      It’s simple enough to explain:

      When the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,
      He writes – not that you won or lost – but how you played the game.

      Some horrible people are really amazing at sports. Remember that when we cheer for a team or a player to play well, that it doesn’t mean we approve of how they live or behave elsewhere. The sorts of things that are very important aren’t always popular, and doing the right thing doesn’t usually sell tickets or earn millions. Do those things anyway. Be as amazing at being good as they were at playing.

  30. Alejo says:

    There is the character clause. You may not like it, but it is there.

    So, apply it.

  31. E.H. says:

    Thanks Joe, I was trying to get over Grown-Ups 2.

  32. EnzoHernandez11 says:

    I’ve never liked the character clause for a simple reason: except in the most extreme cases, we have no idea what ballplayers are really like. Their teammates may have a better idea, and maybe the journalists who cover them on a daily basis, but even then, nobody *really* knows. I doubt that any of the Ravens or the Baltimore writers who traveled with them would have guessed that Ray Rice was capable of punching out a woman on an elevator. Hell, until it happened, Rice himself may not have realized that his anger was so far out of control. If I recall, prior to the incident, he was considered one of the “character” guys in the NFL.

    It’s no shock, therefore, that Curt Schilling received several character awards from Major League Baseball (and, no, I’m not comparing Schilling to Rice; stay with me). It’s easy to put together a foundation, visit a few hospitals, and convince the world that your generosity and selflessness are boundless. And, sure, it’s a nice thing to do, but almost all the big stars do it, many at the recommendation of their accountant, agent, or team publicist. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not denigrating these efforts. I’m just saying that as windows on character, they are hopelessly opaque.

    So what do we actually know about Curt Schilling’s “character”? Well, he shares the political views of roughly half the population, perhaps at a more extreme level, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Now, he often seems compelled to share these views in the most obnoxious way possible, which I guess kind of makes him a jackass. But if we want to apply the Hall of Fame’s character clause to jackasses, well, let’s just say that there’s a lot of room under that particular tent.

    What about that whole affair in Rhode Island? As far as I can tell, it was little more than the case of some guy with limited non-physical gifts who thought he was capable of operating a multi-million dollar business because he used to make a lot of money throwing a baseball. It was a silly idea, but, in this case, the state made the same ridiculous assumption, giving Schilling a $75 million loan guarantee based on the fact that he had once bled into hosiery (Massachusetts was smarter than that and turned him down, which is why Curt made his way down I-95 to Providence). The R.I. attorney general’s office could find no evidence of fraud or any other illegal activity, so that’s pretty much that. Schilling, of course, tried to blame the Rhode Island governor for his shortcomings, but he’s hardly the first champion of personal responsibility to refuse to embrace his own.

    Anyway, this guy really doesn’t belong in the same conversation with Cap Anson or Ray Rice or O.J. And aside from the fact that he’s an unlettered political blowhard and a talentless businessman, we don’t actually know anything about his “character”. However, sportswriters who wish to deny Schilling his plaque because they hate his politics may be proving something about their own.

  33. ShowertoShowerJames says:

    Few things here: I am all for Buck being in the Hall. Wonderful guy and career. But, if you are for a ‘contributer’ going in, then lets go all the way, and put in Charlie Grimm, Jimmy Dykes, Lou Piniella, you name it. Joe Poz is also really squishy when it comes to who he wants in vs who he doesn’t. Jack Morris is a no, but he’s good with Dan Quisenberry? Dale Murphy? Are you shitting me? Seriously young man? Lee Smith is a no but the Quiz yeah yeah sure sure? Its like the idiocy written against Trevor Hoffman. Just please. Shaddap on this. You don’t like relievers going in, well fine, don’t vote for them. That includes Quis.

    As for Curt–he’s a douchebag. He’s a great player. OF course he belongs. I would be happy to see the man go in. I won’t pretend that he’s better than Jim Bunning or Kevin Brown, and if you see any great daylight between Schil and Smoltz, you are inhaling your own publicity too much.

    • moviegoer74 says:

      Can you post a link to Joe advocating for Quisenberry to get in the Hall? I feel like I read most of what Joe writes and I don’t recall him making that argument. I do recall him comparing Quiz favorably to relievers who are already in the hall, but that’s not the same thing.

      Also, you dismiss the notion of Quiz being better than Lee Smith like it’s ridiculous, but it is not. Quiz had the better career ERA+, the better career WHIP and a significantly better peak than Smith. Quiz had 5 seasons in which he threw more innings than Smith’s highest total.

    • Karyn says:

      You seem to be trying to write like a jerk.

  34. Rick Rodstrom says:

    If people think about baseball history at all 100 years from now, they will remember the bloody sock and forget that Schilling was an asshole. He deserves to go into the Hall, though I don’t think he has a slam-dunk case and wouldn’t mind seeing him wait awhile.

    With the caveat that I disagree with practically everything he says now (except for comments on baseball, which are intelligent and illuminating), there was a time when Schilling’s candor and outspokenness had a heroic tinge. He was one of the few superstars during the steroid era to call for a ban on performance enhancing drugs. This couldn’t have been an easy stance to take, when he was surely teammates with players whose livelihoods depended on it. But for a time, Curt Schilling, Tony Gwynn and Frank Thomas were the biggest stars who were advocating for strict drug testing in baseball. Not even their union was in favor of that. Give credit where credit is due, he is a man who stands up for his principles, no matter how unpopular.

    BTW, I should also note that at the time Schilling and Gwynn were condemning steroid use for the dangers it posed to an athlete’s health, they were both dipping tobacco, which ended up giving them cancer. So even when he was right, Schilling was still missing the big picture.

    • SDG says:

      Even though Schilling and I disagree on everything politically, I’ve always liked him. Not just his baseball, but as a public figure. I wouldn’t want to hang out with him in real life but he was always entertaining and wasn’t some media android. (That’s one of the reasons his comments about calling for journalists to be lynched are so inexcusable. He’s like a spoiled starlet who acts a brat in public and doesn’t care about the little people he hurts).

      I disagree with the “baseball history” argument. Should Joe Carter be in the Hall? Kirk Gibson? Jose Canseco? That’s where that leads. Schilling has great postseason performances, which should obviously be considered, but only in the context of their entire career.

      And the argument against steroids isn’t that they destroy your health. It’s that they upset the idea that we are watching a fair competition. If it’s about destroying your health, we may as well condemn both Schilling and Gwynn for getting fat.

      • invitro says:

        The best argument against steroids/PEDs isn’t often clearly stated, so I’ll give you a pass on this one. It’s not about a player’s destroying their OWN health. We don’t care if they do that. It’s helping to create an environment where OTHER players MUST use steroids/PEDs if they want to stay in the league. (Please note I am not claiming this is true… I think there are a lot of medical and baseball facts that have to enter into a big ol’ calculus before that can be determined. But I think it’s at least *probably* true, and also a good argument.)

  35. Crazy Diamond says:

    Schilling’s comments about the NC “bathroom bill” were spot-on. Between these comments about Schilling and his attending Hamilton, I think Joe’s lefty-leanings are showing.

    • Jamie says:

      The whole NC bathroom issue seemed like a no-brainer to me, as a parent. Personally, I could care less how you identify yourself, but that bill opened the door (literally) for anyone to abuse it. How long before a horny teenage boy wanders into the ladies room hoping to catch a peak? 5 minutes? I’m not comfortable with that possibility if my 8 year old daughter or my wife is in there.

      • invitro says:

        I sympathize with this, but what do your daughter and wife think about it? Isn’t their opinions what really matters (instead of yours)?

      • Karyn says:

        Dude, this is ridiculous. The ‘horny teenage boy’ isn’t gonna dress up like a girl to do it. And nothing at all is keeping pervs from going into the ladies’ room now–there’s no armed guards at public restroom doors.

        And have you ever been in a public ladies’ room? There’s doors on the stalls. Nothing to see here. Move along.

        • MikeN says:

          There are very few armed guards anywhere. That doesn’t mean you make it legal for people to do what they want.

          • Karyn says:

            Possibly you missed my point: there’s not much keeping pervs from going in the ladies’ room now. Any dude who would go in a ladies’ room to perv isn’t being held back by laws like that in NC, nor or they emboldened by laws/policies allowing trans folks to use the restroom.

            You hypothetical teenage boy who would sneak into a ladies’ room to get a peek (of what? a tampon dispenser?) would have to dress like a girl to do so. How many teenage boys would do that, really? When they can hit the internet to see all they want?

            This is a bogus issue, and a cheap scare tactic. Don’t fall for it.

      • Brett Alan says:

        And precisely how many transgender women do you think should be raped or assaulted so that you don’t have to worry about a non-existent teenager trying to peek into a stall? Because that kind of abuse is a very real thing, and the people who write these bills know it.

        Sorry to be so blunt, but people need to be aware of what these bills really entail.

        • invitro says:

          I’m going to assume you’re using “transgender women” to mean “man who thinks he is a woman.” So… just how many cases are there of these men being raped or assaulted in the men’s room? Is there any reason to believe there are more of these cases, than there would be of men using the women’s restroom to rape and assault women? (Also, in the cases of men using the women’s restroom to assault women or girls that I can recall reading about, the men weren’t teenagers… they’re typically in their 20’s. I don’t think there are many of these cases, but they do exist, and obviously there would be more if it were accepted for men to use the women’s restroom.)

          • Karyn says:

            If you’re refusing to recognize that trans people exist, there’s not much point in having this conversation.

            I have no idea why you think you know more than do doctors, psychologists, researchers, etc., about the topic.

          • invitro says:

            I’m not at all refusing to acknowledge that trans people exist, and don’t know why you’re suggesting that I am. On your second comment… I have as much science education as any psychologist, and more than most doctors. The entire idea of “expert” is an anathema to science, anyway. If you know how to find and understand original science research, that’s all it takes.

          • Karyn says:

            When you refer to a transwoman as a “man who thinks he is a woman,” you are effectively arguing that trans people don’t exist. This flies in the face of current research and knowledge in the field, and is frankly stupid and willfully ignorant. Plus, it’s a jerk move

            If you meant something else by your earlier remark, please, by all means educate me.

          • invitro says:

            A transgendered person is someone who thinks they are or are supposed to be the opposite sex. This is a definition and so cannot “fly in the face” of any research. I feel certain that I’ve read far more original research on transgenderism than you have, and you’re pulling a massive “jerk move” by throwing out your silly insults. If you can resist your urge to insult and stick to science and research, I’ll listen to you; otherwise, I’m through with this particular subject for now.

          • Brett Alan says:

            No, I’m using “transgender women” to mean “transgender women”.

            Here’s a survey showing that 70% of transgender people in the Washington area had experienced some form of harassment related to using the bathroom, with about 10% having been physically assaulted.

            Some direct testimony on the topic:

          • Karyn says:

            You’re confusing sex and gender, which is a rookie mistake. If you want to cite original research, great–link the studies. I’m going with the AMA, the APA, and most modern medical/psychology groups.

            And even if you don’t buy that, here’s the thing: what’s it to you? How are you harmed by transfolks living their lives?

          • Knuckles says:

            I’m bothered by “trans folks” living their lives with they become a victim group and pretend going to the bathroom like an adult means everyone else is a transaphobe, anti LGBT or homophobe.

            The medial gloms on then oh no we have to move the all star game or not do business in North Carolina because they risk being labeled bigoted by agreeing people need to act like grown ups when taking a dump.

            That’s what bugs me.

          • Karyn says:

            Yes, I too agree that ‘people need to act like grown ups when taking a dump.’ That means don’t get all scared when someone who doesn’t look like you expect a man to look uses the men’s room. Or when a transwoman uses the ladies’ room. Keep it together, people. We can handle this.

            If someone’s being a creep, deal with that. We have laws and rules to deal with these situations. Bashing trans people who just need to pee isn’t a good look.

  36. Michael C Lorah says:

    I always thought Schilling was kind of a jerk (as much as I can tell, since I never met the man) since the towel over the head stuff in the ’93 playoffs, but damn, the guy could dominate a baseball game. Hall of Famer, no question.

  37. Ross says:

    His Buck response answers a similar question I had for him. He once said that if the HOF had only 5 spots, Jackie Robinson should be in it. Most of what Joe had said previously suggested HOF should be all about on the field performance. I suppose Jackie would be on the contributors side, with maybe 1 foot on the players side.

    • SDG says:

      It would be interesting if Jackie were a borderline player based on stats, but even the most rigorous look at his career shows him to be one of the best second basemen ever, especially at the time of his induction (ie/ before Morgan, Alomar, Sandberg).

      Larry Doby, on the other hand, is borderline based on performance and you have to give him WW2 credit (and maybe NeL credit) to push him over the top. Some of that is, granted, his short career. But still. He received 7 votes his one year from the BBWAA and as far as I know, no one saw that as a huge tragedy. Then he was picked by the VC and no one saw that as either righting a wrong, or as PC committee members putting social stuff above stats and gameplay.

      • invitro says:

        Jackie was not one of the five best players in baseball history. That’s what Ross is saying; if Joe puts Jackie in a HoF of five, he *must* support giving players credit for something other than baseball playing ability. (Now, we know that Joe is kind of an everybody-tied-for-first-place kind of guy, and I think Joe probably does give players some HoF bonus points for good character. He just doesn’t subtract them for bad character.)

  38. "Brilliant Reader" John Leavy says:

    Wow- I’ve been dissed by Joe in a major way. Should I be offended or flattered? Both? Neither? So hard to decide!

    I don’t believe my challenge was either illogical or mean-spirited. Joe apparently believes it was both. Regardless, I appreciate him taking me seriously enough to address my points.

    For what it’s worth, I would have a hard time indicting more than a handful of “contributors” to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Most Commissioners, even the good ones, aren’t worthy. No owner strikes me as notably more deserving than any other. I shrug at arguments that Marvin Miller is more deserving than Bowie Kuhn or Tom Yawkey because I never would have voted for Kuhn or Yawkey to begin with.

    Almost everyone who knew Buck O’Neill seems to have felt the way Joe does about him. He inspired love, admiration and awe in practically everyone he met. If he ever had been elected to the Hall of Fame, it wouldn’t have hurt my feelings. But his qualifications as a “contributor” are as borderline as his contributions on the field. We’re stuck with “Well, he’s no LESS deserving than Ford Frick or Bill Veeck.” Which I deem insufficient.

    Point being, it’s fine to argue that election is all about the numbers and that only moralistic old farts like me care about character. But it’s obvious that character DOES matter tremendously to Joe. Well, of COURSE it does! He’s a highly decent human being!

    So are MOST of us, or so I’d like to think. So we ALL have to struggle, at least a bit. Sometimes, we get a Stan Musial who has both stellar numbers AND stellar character. Sometimes we get a Barry Bonds, who has elite numbers but who seems like a creep. Sometimes we get a Dale Murphy, whose character is impeccable but whose numbers are just shy of greatness. Other times, we THINK we know a player’s character but we’re wrong (Joe DiMaggio and Kirby Puckett may not have been the heroes many thought, and Ty Cobb probably wasn’t as evil as he widely believed to be).

    So, some people decide “Screw character, and stick to the numbers.” Which is understandable! If I were a writer, I wouldn’t want the responsibility of monitoring players’ private lives or checking their urine samples. But then, if it’s all about numbers, why have voters at all? Just induct everyone above a certain career WAR.

    If we’re going to have voters at all, those voters will be human and will have different principles and standards, including moral standards.

    • invitro says:

      “But then, if it’s all about numbers, why have voters at all? Just induct everyone above a certain career WAR.” — Even if WAR was 100% correct at doing what it claims to do, there’s still tons of things that there is (as yet!) no objective formula for: How much should career length count? Peak value? Postseason performance? Clutch performance? Highly-leveraged performance? Playing a position like catcher, relief pitcher, or designated hitter, which seem to have have different HoF standards?

    • Karyn says:

      Your original post was so disingenuous as to border on insulting. Joe rarely delves in and replies to individual posts, but yours was something special.

      • "Brilliant Reader" John Leavy says:

        It’s certainly possible that I’m just a rude, snotty jerk who had legitimate point and who deserved to get taken down a leg. If I WERE such a jerk, I probably wouldn’t know it. I’ll let others decide. You, Karyn, have made your opinion clear.

        Naturally, I see things differently. I see a rare issue (steroids), on which Joe has been demonstrably, consistently, almost obsessively wrong for decades. It troubles me enough to raise some hard questions.

        • Lo says:

          Joe makes sensible points. Maybe he can push for Jerry S. to make the NCAA FB hall of fame based on his being Def. Coord. on two title-winning teams. No need to take personal conduct into consideration.

        • invitro says:

          “Joe has been demonstrably, consistently, almost obsessively wrong for decades.” — How has he been wrong, and how is this demonstrable?

        • Karyn says:

          He may be wrong–he may even be demonstrably wrong. He may be inconsistent on the subject.

          You can make those claims without acting like a jerk.

          • "Brilliant Reader" John Leavy says:

            Karyn, if you know a nice way to say that Joe was, at best, asleep at the switch while baseball was awash steroids, I’m all ears.

            If you know a nice way to say “Ever since the steroid scandal broke,Joe has consistently downplayed the extent and the effectiveness of steroid use,” please share it.

          • Karyn says:

            You just did. You didn’t need my help to do it.
            “Ever since the steroid scandal broke,Joe has consistently downplayed the extent and the effectiveness of steroid use,” is perfectly polite and still gets your point across.

    • SDG says:

      It’s more subtle than that. Joe said he wouldn’t care if Buck gets into the Hall of Fame now, after he’s dead. It’s a perfectly human thing to want your friend, whom everyone agrees was a great guy who made significant contributions to baseball, mostly in obscurity, mostly being screwed over by a white baseball establishment, to be formally recognized. Especially since “contributor” IS an option, whether you think it should be or not.

      You know, of all the managers in the Hall of Fame, only one is from the Negro Leagues, Rube Foster, and he’s really in more as the creator of the modern Negro Leagues. There are plenty of Negro League players, plenty of Negro League GM/execs, but no managers. Isn’t that a strange omission? Doesn’t it make sense that the manager of one of the dynastic teams could be honored as well?

  39. JaLaBar says:

    It absolutely boggled my mind that Schmoltz was elected first ballot. Yes, I agree that Schilling was the better pitcher. I think Schmoltz gets too much credit for a trip to the bullpen that was made necessary because he was breaking down. Just because that didn’t happen to Schilling and he never needed to become a closer, he shouldn’t be docked in comparison to Schmoltz. And while I DO find Schilling a reprehensible POS, I don’t think things he has said AFTER his career should affect his HoF chances. My resistance to Schilling actually has to do with other players. I think Schilling deserves it, but not more than Raines. I have said and continue to say that Mussina is AS deserving of election as Schilling or Schmoltz, and not a jackass so I’d pick him first. But I have no resistance in general to Schilling, and when there aren’t folks I think are more deserving waiting, I’d be glad to welcome him in.

    • MikeN says:

      I was surprised too. I wonder if it had to do with wanting to speak out against steroid users. Or maybe people just had “He’s a Hall of Famer” in their mind for decades. The closest comp for me was when Ivan Rodriguez won MVP, after early season chatter that boosted him up as a 20-20 catcher. He was barely a top 10 guy that year.

  40. MikeN says:

    Taking away titles isn’t as egregious as those Russian figure skaters who were fixed by the mob. The 2nd place finishers were given gold medals, AND the Russians kept their golds.

  41. Pat says:

    I’ve been pretty lousy at predicting stuff this year (hello, my undefeated Denver Broncos…), so I may as well double-down and say I think there is a non-zero chance Schilling gets in this year.

    • invitro says:

      Well, your claim is factually true, but I don’t know if you’re saying all that much. What odds would you need to bet on Curt? 5:1? 100:1?

  42. Rower41 says:

    Schilling, in my opinion, gets the vote. No doubt. About the other stuff:

    Using the “old $#^! happens” argument to point at all historical events is just another way to question differences between public and personal morality but I have read Machiavelli and recognize the slippery slope. If Bonds in in, so is Clemens; both were just awesome displays of power*. This cannot be denied*. It’s a tough call but I enjoy the debate and especially like reading about it here. I feel that my position is shifting ever so slightly (FWIW).

    Here’s the thing, or rub, or caveat or alternative universal move. If I were to walk toward the slippery slope I might first satisfy the debate that takes place at least once a week when I speak to my brother or father in Ohio. In the rural town where I grew up, I dreamed of replacing Joe Morgan at 2d base one day. There, Pete Rose is the Hit King. Once I had voted for him, I could also vote for others who were deserving of HOF recognition for baseball play despite other issues that governing bodies deem performance-enhancing, illegal or wrong. Sometimes I say I would but it is easy to say it when I don’t really have the responsibility for doing it.

  43. shagster says:

    What we need now is a misplaced Hitler analogy*. If Hitler HAD won the war, his totalitarian world elevating living standards and eliminated world hunger, AND THEN the greatness of feats been detracted for the means at which he did it — should he be recognized for his accomplishments or the genocide which permitted him to accomplish it? In all seriousness, quite little has been done in your previous writing to criticize the means of our chemically enhanced and well compensated players that chose to go about achieving their fame at their teammates and our expense. Instead so far your writing has been to celebrate their numeric achievements. Your blog. Go ahead. Doesn’t change the facts. These players know what they want, they know what the HoF recognition means — even if you don’t seem to. The only beneficiary of making the Hall is them. They know that too. Buck has passed now, so at this point you’ve probably already DQ’d yourself from the whole HoF ballot process. I get it, ethically it frees you up. Then — like writers for some obscure newspaper or a Marx brother — you can blast away at the absurdity of it all.

    • invitro says:

      “analogy*.” — Did you and the previous poster forget something for your *asterisk*? Or maybe my computer is randomly adding *’s because it knows how much I like them in this particular font?

      • shagster says:

        *am sure there already is a misplaced Hitler analogy somewhere in this string. That said, when the next sentence is constructed this poorly why not throw in an extra asterisk? BTW. Schilling belongs in the Hall. Based on what he’s said few may be able to stand the guy. That said, he seems to own his credentials. Which is more than can be said for others championed on the blog.

      • Rower41 says:

        The * may stand for omitted material. Beside some names, for example, Bonds* or Clemens* or Aroid* -or I’ll admit it: Rose*- it says that there is an exception being made. It resonates.

        It also stands with statistical reasoning, for example, when 4 out of 5 proctologists* recommend the same kind of hemorrhoids cream and when you look for the material represented by the asterisk you seek that 100 proctologists had been offered the cream as a free sample but only 5 replied with the postage paid response card and out of them 1 said he would not respond favorably unless he was provided another tube of free cream.

        Strangely, I am pulled toward this argument* for selfish reasons. Consider, for instance, a future that sees tremendous advancement in limb repair and some young Marine veteran, a Sergeant amputee with a mechanical limb, decides that he can try out for a professional team. Would a MLB rule be added that allowed a mechanical arm to pitch and would limiting devices be used to prevent him from reaching top speeds that may be unhittable? And what happens when he wins 40 games? Change is constant, inevitable.

  44. Off the subject of Curt Schilling (whose numbers suggest he should be in the Hall of Fame, and whose personality suggests no one should want to be within 20 miles of him the day he is inducted) … and even off the subject of how much I love this blog ….

    Joe, Bill Veeck brought a lot of innovations to how major league baseball is presented to the fan. He also helped build a World Series winner in 1948 and set the table for the Indians teams of the 1950s, and helped push baseball into moving teams into cities where they belonged. Just a “showman”?

    Larry MacPhail build the Cincinnati franchise that won the World Series in 1940 (and lost to the Yankees in 1939). By then he was in Brooklyn, where he built the team that won in 1941 and helped start the Dodgers on the road to greatness in the 1940s and 1950s. He made the deal that brought Allie Reynolds to the Yankees. He broke the radio ban in New York. He put the first major league game on television. He’s not there only because he started night baseball–and he didn’t get in during his lifetime because Warren Giles was on the Veterans Committee and couldn’t stand him.

    Now, we can debate having “contributors” in the Hall of Fame (and I think Yawkey’s presence in there is ridiculous, but so is Jacob Ruppert’s–he built a big ballpark and gave Ed Barrow the money to build a dynasty). But let’s be a little more careful about what those who are in there really contributed, ok?

  45. Knuckles says:

    His opinions only offend liberals and people who love being offended.

    He wasn’t a cheater.

    No doubt hall of gamer.

    Once again those not filling all 10,spots or blowing several of their spots on Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Mcgwire… this is why players like Edgar and Schilling don’t get in.

    Joe bemoans the process then doubles down on stupid by including ped users nobody knows what do with and aren’t getting 75%. Stop wasting votes on them and consistently vote for the back logged players

    I respect Joe for voting for Schilling and not letting msnbc dictate his vote, but he is too smart to not realize torching 3 or 4 spots on cheaterst is part of the reason so many guys like Raines, Trammell, Edgar and schilling don’t gethink in.

  46. Ben Westhoff says:

    You know there’s a podcast where two guys from New Zealand watched Grown-Ups 2 every week for a year, right? It’s called “Worst Idea of All Time” and it’s really good.

  47. Rower41 says:

    I came back because it looks like Schilling’s support has dropped. Bastards.
    It’s not the Hall of Special Sensitivities.

    More strikeouts than Christy Mathewson, Sandy Koufax or Cy Freakin’ Young!
    1,000 more than Catfish Hunter.
    He broke the “Ruth Curse.”

    Still, good for Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez.
    Good picks.

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