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Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling has publicly been a longtime supporter of President Donald Trump, so it was probably only a matter of time until we had tangible confirmation that the reverse was true.
Still mired in the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, Trump took the time to tweet his support for Schilling’s Hall of Fame bid on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Schilling’s candidacy, that endorsement won’t be very helpful this year even in the unlikely event of Trump’s support being able to sway the opinions of enough Hall of Fame voters to “do what everyone in baseball knows is right.”
The simple reason why: BBWAA law dictates that ballots for the election were due on Dec. 31, three weeks before Trump’s tweet.
Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy
Needing the support of 75 percent of BBWAA voters to receive enshrinement in the Hall, Schilling received 38.8 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot in 2013. While that number was high enough to believe that Schilling would eventually pass the threshold, gains in the vote have been somewhat slow.
Schilling received just 51.2 percent among voters last year, his sixth year on the ballot, and has actually seen his number drop twice from year to year, a somewhat uncommon occurrence.
In his 20-year career with the Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, Schilling posted a 216-146 record, a 3.46 ERA and a 4.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the latter mark currently being the fourth-best in modern baseball history and behind only three active players. He was also known for impressive postseason success, winning co-World Series MVP in 2001 with Randy Johnson and gutting through the Bloody Sock Game in 2004 with the Red Sox.
Schilling’s JAWS, a popular formula used to size up the Hall of Fame worthiness in a player, has him currently ranked as the 27th-best starting pitcher in MLB history, and ahead of 66 current of Hall of Famers.
So why has Schilling’s support seemed light given that resume? There’s a solid chance it has something to do with post-retirement actions that have caused many organizations to distance themselves from him.
Schilling has pushed conspiracy theories about school shootings, invited (and agreed with) a congressional candidate with ties to white supremacists on his podcast, accused a black MLB player of lying about racial taunts, been fired from a job with ESPN for sharing an anti-transgender meme and tweeted (then deleted) a graphic equating Muslims to Nazis. Oh, and he once shared a photo of a t-shirt that called for the lynching of journalists, calling it “awesome,” which might not be an advisable step when you require the support of journalists to receive baseball’s highest honor.
That activity might have been why the Red Sox declined to invite him to a World Series first pitch ceremony featuring members of the 2004 team. It also might be why some writers refuse to vote for Schilling, which is allowed under the Hall’s character clause. Then again, Schilling could also be the victim of a larger ballot crunch caused by a surplus of solid candidates in recent years and a 10-vote limit on the BBWAA ballot. It’s a complex process.
Odds are good that Schilling will eventually receive enshrinement, but his penchant for sparking outrage probably hasn’t been a net benefit for his run at the Hall.
Curt Schilling reacts to Trump’s support
In case you were wondering, Schilling was quite happy to receive support from his favorite president.
And then he proceeded to lash out at another Twitter account for mocking the pair as “heads of companies that went into bankruptcy,” a shot at the pitcher’s failed video game developer 38 Studios that cost the state of Rhode Island $112.6 million.
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