Curt Schilling Hall of Fame chatter has started up again with the release of 2017 ballot. Thirty-four players are on the 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot, with each eligible to get invited to Cooperstown following their careers in Major League Baseball. A report by the Baseball Writers Association of America reveals that there are 19 newcomers who will join 15 holdovers from the 2016 HOF ballot. The BBWAA voters must return their ballots by a December 31 postmark to be counted this year.
Among the 15 holdovers is former Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling. From the 2016 ballot, only Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Several players got more than 50 percent of the vote, but didn’t quite make the cut. They were Jeff Bagwell (71.6), Tim Raines (69.8), Trevor Hoffman (67.3), and Schilling (52.3). Catcher Ivan Rodriguez and outfielders Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez now join the four hopefuls as the likely top vote-getters this time around.
This is the fifth time that Curt Schilling has appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot. He first appeared on it in 2013, receiving just 38.8 percent of the vote from the BBWAA. In successive years, he has received 29.2 percent, 39.2 percent, and 52.3 percent of the votes. Can Schilling pick up more support in the latest vote?
Schilling had a 20-year career in Major League Baseball, spending time with the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Boston Red Sox. Schilling finished his career with a 216-146 record, a 3.46 ERA, a 1.137 WHIP, and 3,116 total strikeouts. Schilling won 21 or more games three times, was named to six All-Star teams, and finished second in the Cy Young voting three different times.
Curt Schilling also made a name for himself in the postseason, winning a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 and then with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and again in 2007. Schilling was also named the 2001 World Series MVP, going 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his three starts for the Diamondbacks. Combined, Schilling has a postseason record of 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 0.968 WHIP that ranks among the best pitchers in MLB history.
Schilling has a career WAR (wins above replacement) of 79.9 that ranks 63rd of all time. His pitching WAR is at 80.7, which ranks 26th all time for players who took the mound. He also ranks 15th all time with 3,116 strikeouts, pitched 20 shutouts, and had five full seasons where he led the league in fielding percentage.
A lot of attention has gone to the time that Curt Schilling spent with the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, but he has taken a number of hits in his goal to make the Hall of Fame due to actions and comments after he retired. A report by the New York Times addressed how Schilling was fired by ESPN over an offensive post he made on social media. Claims of intolerance and racism have been made against him both on social media as well as on sports programs, possibly causing some members of the BBWAA to not vote for him on the Hall of Fame ballots.
There are just six chances left for Schilling to be elected to and inducted into Cooperstown by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Several other starting pitchers on the ballot are also trying to garner support and they include Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, and now Tim Wakefield. While a lot of attention will be on Tim Raines and Lee Smith, as they are on the ballot for the final time, there is a lot of debate about Schilling, his career, and his character. So should Curt Schilling be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017?
[Featured Image by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]