MLB Writers Won’t Take Curt Schilling Off the Hall-of-Fame Ballot — Or Vote Him In

Schilling is asking off the ballot heading into his final year of voting eligibility

MLB Writers Won't Take Curt Schilling Off Hall-of-Fame Ballot — Or Vote Him Into Cooperstown
Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling looks on prior to a game.
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

After retiring from the United States Army in 1884, General William Sherman was rumored to be thinking about making a run at the presidency. Sherman, who had no problem with shooting, wasted little time in blasting down reports of his candidacy. “If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve,” he famously said.

Sherman’s sentiments are similar to those shared by retired Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling on Tuesday after he fell 16 votes short of being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In a lengthy Facebook post he published after the results of the vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) became public, Schilling requested to be removed from the HOF ballot in 2022, his last year of eligibility to be voted into the Hall.

“I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot,” he wrote. “I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player. I don’t think I’m a hall of famer as I’ve often stated but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honor.”

In a way, the BBWAA’s response to Schilling was also somewhat reminiscent of Sherman.

“It is the position of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America that Mr. Schilling’s request to remove himself from the ballot is a violation of the rules set forth by the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors, who have commissioned the BBWAA to conduct the annual elections, specifically the following: ‘The duty of the Screening Committee shall be to prepare a ballot listing in alphabetical order eligible candidates who (1) received a vote on a minimum of five percent (5%) of the ballots cast in the preceding election or (2) are eligible for the first time and are nominated by any two of the six members of the BBWAA Screening Committee.’ Mr. Schilling has fulfilled both of those requirements and should remain on the ballot for consideration by the voting body for what would be his final year on the BBWAA ballot in 2022. The Hall of Fame assigned the BBWAA to be the electorate in 1936. This association has abided by the rules for 85 years and shall continue to do so. The BBWAA urges the board to reject Mr. Schilling’s request,” BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O’Connell said in a statement.

The entire thing is a ridiculous pissing match between two sides who are effectively arguing about nominating a man for an honor he doesn’t want to receive even though the same people who are forcing the nomination won’t award it to him.

In addition to the situation being sad — since it regards a person who supported an insurrection at the Capitol that resulted in five deaths earlier this month — it is also a bit pathetic. The civil war between Schilling and the BBWAA shouldn’t be the biggest baseball news of the day during what should be the sport’s hot-stove season, but here we are. It’s yet another example of old-school seamheads refusing to let go of tradition and failing to recognize what’s in the best interests of baseball moving forward.

In this case, those interests would mean listening to Schilling and honoring his request to not be on the ballot for an honor he doesn’t deserve anyway. But as history shows (Marvin Miller requested to be removed from consideration in 2008 but was elected to the Hall in 2020), Schilling will probably be ignored and remain on the ’22 HOF ballot.

He, along with deserving candidates like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, still won’t get in.

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