Curt Schilling had a great career as a pitcher.
He played in six All-Star games, won three World Series (named series MVP in 2001), and finished runner-up for the Cy Young Award numerous times.
Despite his accomplishments, he may not get into the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York for one reason only.
He’s an outspoken conservative. But Schilling doesn’t care. He’s going to continue to speak his mind.
In an Esquire magazine profile by Timothy Bella, Schilling opens up about his ambivalence about the Hall of Fame (“Honestly, and I don’t know how to say this to make it sound other than it sounds, but I don’t care.”); his work as the radio host of Breitbart News’ What Ever It Takes (Breitbart is “the last bastion of actual journalism.”); a potential Senate run against Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren (“She is everything the American people despise in politics.”); his blue-collar upbringing and his lifelong fascination with strategy games and American history; and even his small farm where he raises chickens, alpacas, llamas, hogs, and goats (including a white goat he named Palin after the former Alaska governor “because she’s a badass.”)
Though the magazine reports that the percentage of baseball writers who have voted for Schilling’s Hall of Fame induction has declined sharply—from 52.3 to 45 percent over a one-year period—due to his unapologetically conservative views, Schilling remains unfazed by it all, telling Esquire he doesn’t really care. “I have zero control over it other than, as people say, ‘Well, if you just shut up.’ The thing is, I’m not going to shut up. I don’t owe anybody anything. If I have to shut up to get in the Hall of Fame, then I don’t want in,” Schilling said.
In an earlier interview with TMZ, Schilling made clear the connection between his politics and the Hall of Fame vote: “I promise you, if I had said, ‘Lynch Trump,’ I’d be getting in with about 90 percent of the vote.”
Despite his detractors among the left-wing sports media, Schilling’s place in baseball history can never be erased. No one will forget the famous “Bloody Sock Game” of the 2004 American League Championship series, as Schilling pitched with a torn tendon that bled right through his sock. Nor will they forget his win in game two of the World Series that year, which helped Boston win the series and end the 86-year “Curse of the Bambino.”
Schilling doesn’t let politics get in the way of his friendships from his professionalbaseball days. He still speaks fondly of former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Esquire notes that Epstein once joined Schilling’s family for Thanksgiving dinner in 2003 when he was trying to sign Schilling for the Red Sox.
Former Red Sox teammate Dave McCarty also had kind words to say about the ace. “Curt being Curt, was always outspoken and said what was on his mind, and wasn’t worried about what other people thought about it,” McCarty told Esquire. “I found that to be very refreshing.”
It is that very quality which landed Schilling in hot water with his former employer ESPN, a network which has faced increased criticism and a sharp decline in viewership due to its unmistakable lurch to the left. When ESPN fired Schilling for Tweeting a meme mocking the absurdity of the transgender bathroom debate, he found a new home at Breitbart News thanks to Breitbart’s former executive chairman—and President Trump’s current chief strategist—Steve Bannon.
In the meantime, Schilling acknowledged that his Breitbart radio show is the perfect vehicle to test the persuasion skills necessary to sway liberal Massachusetts voters to give him a chance. That’s why he relishes speaking to radio callers who disagree with him.
After one such exchange, Schilling told Esquire, “Those are the callers I want.” He explained, “The show will be a way for me to figure out if I can be an elected official. If my message resonates with people, then I know I’m right.”
It would be a shame if Schilling weren’t able to get into the Hall. He deserves it on merit.
If anyone still questions his credentials, CBS Sports did a deeper breakdown:
Throughout his career, Schilling established himself as one of the best command pitchers in baseball history. In fact, his career 4.38 K/BB ratio is the second best all-time amongpitchers with 1,000 career innings, trailing only Tommy Bond (5.04), who pitched from 1874-84.
Schilling led the league in K/BB ratio five times in a six-season span from 2001-06, including posting a 9.58 K/BB ratio in 2002. That was the fourth-best single-season K/BB ratio in history at the time and second only to Brett Saberhagen (11.00 in 1994) among pitchers who started their careers after 1900. It’s currently the sixth-best mark all-timeand fourth-best number among pitchers who started their careers after 1900.
That level of precision — not just strikes, but quality strikes that limit walks and induce strikeouts — is unheard of among starting pitchers. Schilling was arguably the greatest command pitcher in baseball history.
Schilling’s postseason record is as good as it gets. He went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP in 19 starts and 133 1/3 career playoff innings. Schilling won three World Series rings (2001 D-Backs, 2004 and 2007 Red Sox) and was named MVP of the 1993 NLCS and co-MVP of the 2001 World Series with Randy Johnson.
If Schilling doesn’t get into the Hall of Fame, everybody will know why.
But luckily for Schilling, his beliefs are more important than any baseball accolades. True fans will remember how good he was.