ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Curt Schilling’s request to be left off Hall of Fame ballot denied by BBWAA

Jan 27, 2021, 9:23 AM
Curt Schilling, former member of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks World Series team walks in the dugou...
Curt Schilling, former member of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks World Series team walks in the dugout before the Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on September 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

A day after former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling missed making baseball’s Hall of Fame and asked to be left off the 2022 list of eligible candidates, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America said such an omission would violate the rules of the voting process.

BBWAA secretary and treasurer Jack O’Connell said in a statement that it is required by written rule that players who received at least 5% of the vote on the previous election or were eligible for the first time and nominated by “any two of the six members” of the screening committee will appear on the ballot.

“Mr. Schilling has fulfilled both of those requirements,” O’Connell’s statement said.

Schilling has one more year of eligibility to make the Hall of Fame.

Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were the closest in voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America released Tuesday, and the trio will have one more chance at election next year. It’s the first time the BBWAA didn’t choose anyone since 2013.

On Tuesday, Schilling shared a letter to Facebook that he initially sent to the BBWAA before the results of the 2021 Hall of Fame voting were announced.

“I will not participate in the final year of voting,” he wrote. “I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player.”

That panel — comprised of former players, managers and others in the game, along with some writers — is tasked with evaluating players who don’t get elected via the BBWAA vote.

Schilling received the most support among all the Hall of Fame candidates to enter in the 2021 class, but the right-hander fell 16 votes short of the 75% needed for induction.

There are signs that the 2021 shutout could be repeated next year — and perhaps the year after that as well. Next year’s ballot is expected to include Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz for the first time, and Carlos Beltrán arrives for 2023. All three have concerns they’ll need to overcome to get in.

BBWAA members are instructed to elect Hall members “based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

At a time when social justice movements are pushing for a broader reckoning on sexual misconduct and racial inequality, character evaluation took on an outsized role in this election cycle. While the Hall’s inductees already include racists, cheaters, philanderers and criminals, the current voting bloc has — narrowly, in many cases — taken a stand against candidates they think have insufficient integrity.

Schilling — a six-time All-Star over 20 seasons with Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia, Arizona and Boston — has been embroiled in controversy throughout his retirement.

He launched a video game company, 38 Studios, that went bankrupt shortly after receiving a $75 million loan guarantee from Rhode Island, then was fired as an ESPN analyst after he sent a tweet comparing Muslim extremists to Nazi-era Germans and posted a derogatory Facebook comment about transgender people.

Months later, Schilling was again criticized after using social media to applaud a T-shirt calling for journalists to be lynched.

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