Since the announcement that baseball will not have a single Hall of Fame inductee for the 2021 class, former pitcher Curt Schilling has spoken on his denial. It’s even gotten to the point that he requested to be removed from the next ballot, opting to be voted in by the Veterans Committee somewhere down the road (a request that was ultimately denied).
Various fans have taken to social media to call out the writers for not pushing him past the necessary 75% that he needs to be inducted. Fans are citing that Schilling’s political beliefs should not impede his induction and that his on the field performance should only be considered.
That would be a fair point, if Schilling’s political beliefs were only a minor roadblock.
Being named a member of the Hall of Fame in any sport doesn’t just mean that you were one of the best at the sport, but it also means you become an ambassador for the game. You become someone that represents the game off the field, as well on it. Schilling does not fit that description.
Yes, he’s done a lot of work to raise over $10,000 million in his career to fight Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). However, that work is overshadowed by his conduct on social media. For all the goodwill he’s done, his comments and posts have caused stirs.
When you share pictures about how awesome a shirt saying “Rope. Tree. Journalist….some assembly required” is, there’s a red flag. When you post support of the riot/insurrection at the United States Capitol building, that’s a red flag. The transphobic post he shared that got him fired from ESPN is a red flag.
If it was just one, it would show he’s not a good human being, but all three show he’s not an ambassador of the game. He’s allowed to have his political and social opinions, nobody is taking that away from him. It’s the fact that he consistently has put it out on his social media feeds, depicting some extremism that does tend to lessen him as an ambassador.
It’s not simply because he’s a Republican or a conservative, and proof of that came in the 2019 when Mariano Rivera was inducted. Prior to his induction, the former New York Yankees’ closer admitted he supporter President Donald Trump while on Fox News. The reason Rivera is seen as an ambassador is because he didn’t go to the lengths Schilling has.
What buries his case even harder is his collection of World War II memorabilia, which contains several pieces of Nazi-Germany memorabilia. It’s impossible not to see Nazi symbolism and uniforms while talking about Word War II. However, in 200 pictures Schilling has posted on Facebook, there’s more than three dozen swastikas featured. That’s highly concerning.
With how heavy restrictions are to buy that type of stuff on auction websites due to their “offensive material policy,” it means that he went too out of the way to satisfy an urge to have this kind of memorabilia. Add to it that some on the more liberal and social side of the political spectrum equate former President Trump and Nazis and it’s an even worse look, especially since he is a Trump supporter.
The bottom line is, Curt Schilling was an unbelievable pitcher, definitely Hall of Fame worthy. However, him getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame just doesn’t sit right. He was a great player but a highly questionable ambassador of the game.