Curt Schilling: Being a Republican Hurt My Chances for Hall of Fame

Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling AP Photo David Phillip
David Phillip/Associated Press

Curt Schilling, whose stock rose in the Hall of Fame vote this year as his percentage of the vote increased from 29% in 2013 to 39% this year, asserted that he hurt his chances for enshrinement by his outspoken support for the Republican Party.

“I know as a Republican,” the three-time World Series winner held, “there’s some people that really don’t like that.”

Speaking on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan in Boston, Schilling noted of the voting process of the Baseball Writers Association of America: “Stupid people do stupid things. I’ve seen so many in the past: voters making their vote into a news article, protesting this, or protesting that–except voting the player on his playing merits. That’s normal, I guess. We’re human. We all have bias. We all have prejudice. When Pedro gets 91%, that tells you something’s wrong.”

Forty-nine voters completely left Pedro Martinez off their ballot.

“If you had just said, ‘Vote Kerry,’ you might be in the Hall of Fame now, Curt,” host Gerry Callahan, referencing the World Series MVP’s support for George W. Bush, theorized. Schilling responded in agreement.

A host, who pointed out that Schilling surpassed John Smoltz in WHIP, ERA-plus, winning percentage, and postseason winning percentage, asked why the Braves pitcher won induction into the Hall with 240 more votes than Schilling.

Schilling responded, “Well, I think he got them because of Maddux and Glavine. I think the fact that they won 14 straight pennants. I think his quote-unquote, Swiss Army-knife versatility, as somebody said yesterday–I think he got a lot of accolades from that. I think he got a lot of recognition for that. He’s a Hall of Famer.” He joked, “I think the other big thing is that I think he’s a Democrat, and so …”

Asked if his political outspokenness cost him votes, he continued, “Absolutely. Listen, when human beings do something, anything, there’s bias and prejudice. There are guys who, listen, 9% of the voters did not vote for Pedro. There’s something wrong with the process and some of the people in the process when that happens. I don’t think that it kept me…out, but I do know that there are guys who probably won’t ever vote for me because of the things that I’ve said or did. That’s the way it works.”

Later in the broadcast, host John Dennis opined that it wasn’t Schilling’s GOP leanings that hurt his chances, but his simple blunt openness: “It wasn’t specific to ‘vote Bush.’ It was that he had an opinion about everything, he was not shy about expressing it, and that rubs some people the wrong way.”

Schilling compiled a 216-146 record, with a 3.46 ERA, and 127 ERA+ over twenty seasons. He ranks second all-time in his strikeout-to-walk ratio. Schilling also fanned 300 batters in a season three times and made the All-Star team six times.

His postseason record really sets him apart. He boasted an 11-2 record in 133 1/3 innings, 2.23 ERA, with a sterling 120 strikeouts, and only 25 walks. During the legendary 2004 Red Sox postseason, when bloody sock and all, Schilling heroically pitched on a torn tendon sheath in his ankle to win Game Six of the ALCS in Boston’s historic comeback victory over the New York Yankees.

Schilling says Cooperstown’s snub doesn’t bother him much because he knows that Fred McGriff, Jeff Bagwell, Dale Murphy, and other Hall of Fame-caliber players remain on the outside, too.