In Major League Baseball, the World Series is the big stage and getting there is an incredible feat. Many baseball players have made it, both winning and losing it. While legends have been made by their performances in the Fall Classic, others have been in the events leading up to it.
New England and New York sports fans will never forget the 2004 American League Championship series when the Boston Red Sox came back from a 3-0 series deficit to win against the New York Yankees. An unprecedented baseball feat, it has only been accomplished three times in all of the major North American sports.
Among the notable performances was by pitcher Curt Schilling, who pitched with an injured ankle. His critical Game Six victory to tie the series was notable for his bloody sock, as his injury was visible to all watching. As Schilling pitched seven strong innings allowing only one run, his bloody sock performance would forever become a memorable moment in postseason and sports history.
He would later retire from baseball with a 216-146 career record and a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts. He is a six-time All-Star and three time World Championship, even being named Most Valuable Player of the 2001 World Series.
Enough to be considered for Cooperstown, right?
In his retirement, Schilling has redefined his image. Going from a fierce competitor on he diamond, he became a conservative firebrand and outspoken critic of the left. His unabashed stances and uncensored vocal style cost him his job at ESPN.
He has also established himself as a loud conservative voice on social media, consistently using Twitter as a platform to advance rightwing principles and oppose the Democratic Party. Like President Trump, Schilling’s style is often seen as too blunt and unrestrained. For many, this is uncomfortable, including ESPN.
Schilling’s first year of Hall of Fame eligibility was 2013. He failed to enter, getting only 221 votes. He dropped to 167 in 2014, the same year where he had a fierce Twitter debate with ESPN writer Keith Law over creationism and evolution. The numbers would then climb through 2016, where he would hit his high at 230 votes, but still falling short.
2017 saw a drop to 199 votes.
It’s interesting that his numbers continue on like a rollercoaster, dropping and rising each year. While some may dismiss it as varying based on the strength of the year’s Hall of Fame class, drops seem to coincide with controversies.
In 2016, Schilling became a louder critic of the left, while getting his own radio show and being a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump. The response from the baseball writers, who often seem to believe they bear a moral responsibility to judge players beyond baseball, is always punishment.
Is retired baseball player Curt Schilling being punished by the baseball writers for his conservative views? The facts seem to suggest that the louder his voice gets, the smaller his numbers become. The more the tweets roll out, the less the votes turnout. Should an individual’s conservative views be enough to keep them out of the baseball Hall of Fame?
Schilling is forever apart of postseason history, winning World Series MVP one year and pitching injured to history in another. He has made the All-Star Team multiple times and posts a solid career statistics. It would appear the only thing keeping him out of Cooperstown is having a voice.