Curt Schilling, who fell 16 votes shy of being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, has asked to be removed from the ballot in 2022, his final year of eligibility.
In a letter to the Hall of Fame, Schilling said the organization has been “otherworldly kind and gracious in every way possible and I’ll be forever grateful.”
“As I’ve stated often over the past years to those I’ve spoken with in my heart I am at peace. Nothing, zero, none of the claims being made by any of the writers hold merit,” Schilling wrote. “In my 22 years playing professional baseball in the most culturally diverse locker rooms in sports, I’ve never said or acted in any capacity other than being a good teammate.
“I will not participate in the final year of voting. 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,” Schilling wrote.” I don’t think I’m a Hall of Famer as I’ve often stated, but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honor.”
Schilling was one of the few major leaguers to speak out against steroid use. Schilling was embroiled in controversy for some of his shoot-from-the-hip remarks, particularly on social media. In 2015, he was suspended from broadcasting the Little League World Series for ESPN after he posted a tweet comparing radical Muslims to Nazis.
Schilling was fired from ESPN in April 2016 after sharing a Facebook post that appeared to be a reaction to a North Carolina law that barred transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that did not match the gender on their birth certificates.
Ballots for the Hall of Fame were cast before Schilling’s tweet on Jan. 6, which showed apparent support for people who stormed the U.S. Capitol. According to the tweet, Schilling said that the crowd started “confrontation for (stuff) that matters.”
“The media has created a Curt Schilling that does not and has never existed,” Schilling wrote to the Hall. “It’s one of the things that has allowed me to sleep at night. Not an ounce of that is to absolve myself of sin; Lord knows I’ve committed my share and will do so again. Never malicious, never to willfully or intentionally hurt another person. I was 100% accountable and still am. Even the thought of responding to claims of “nazi” or “racist” or any other term so watered down and rendered meaningless by spineless cowards who have never met me makes me ill. In modern times responding to such drivel somehow validates the claim.”
A staunch Republican, Schilling was an enthusiastic supporter of President Donald Trump, who tweeted his support for Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy in 2019.
Born in Anchorage, Alaska, on Nov. 14, 1966, Schilling debuted in 1988 with the Baltimore Orioles, becoming the first Alaska native to become a major league pitcher. He followed catcher Tom Sullivan (1925), second baseman Steve Staggs (1977), and outfielders Scott Loucks (1980) and Randy Kutcher (1986) from the 49th state. Schilling compiled a 216-146 record with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts and over 20 seasons.
A six-time all-star, Schilling led the National League in wins with 22 for the Diamondbacks in 2001 and led the American League in 2004 with 21 for the Red Sox. Has been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2013.
Here are some things to know about Schilling.
Schilling was the National League Championship Series MVP in 1993, when he pitched the Philadelphia Phillies into the World Series. In 2001, he was named co-MVP with Randy Johnson as the two pitchers led the Arizona Diamondbacks to victory in the 2001 World Series against the New York Yankees. He was a three-time runner-up for the Cy Young Award, losing to Arizona teammate Randy Johnson in 2001 and 2002, and to Minnesota’s Johan Santana in 2004.
Schilling was one of baseball’s clutch pitchers in the postseason, going 11-2. He was 4-1 in World Series decisions.
During the 2004 American League Divisional Series, Schilling tore the tendon sheath in his right ankle. Pitching in pain and with blood soaking through his sock, Schilling came back to win Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, pitching seven strong innings as the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 4-2 to force a decisive seventh game. The Red Sox would win that game, becoming the first team in major league history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a postseason series.
In 2009, Schilling and his wife, Shonda Schilling, were the first inductees into the ALS Association’s Hall of Fame. The Schillings have been longtime supporters in the fight against the disorder more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Curt Schilling has been involved in the fight against ALS since 1992, and his Twitter handle is @gehrig38.
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