Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez, and Tim Raines won election to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Curt Schilling didn’t.
What’s wrong with this podium picture?
Schilling enjoys select company in the 3,000 strikeout club. None of the three honorees made the 3,000 hit club. Though Bagwell (.297 BA, 1,529 RBI, 449 HR), Rodriguez (311 HR, 1,332 RBI, .296 BA), and Raines (.303 BA 1,571 R, 808 SB) can make a solid if not strong case for Cooperstown credentials, Schilling, in helping to carry three different clubs to the World Series, seems if not a shoo-in at least a bloody sock-in for the Hall.
In baseball, a game of statistics, three rings plus 3,000 strikeouts equals Cooperstown (at least it did for everyone untarnished by steroids not named Curt Schilling). But in politics, a game that relies on fuzzy math, 2 + 2 = 5. Politics trumped baseball on Wednesday.
Don’t believe Curt Schilling when he says, “I promise you, if I had said, ‘Lynch Trump,’ I’d be getting in with about 90 percent of the vote this year”? Read the words of the voters.
“I had Schilling on my ballot in 2013 and 2014, the first two years he was eligible,” Randy Miller writes. “I rarely change my mind after deciding on a candidate. But I changed my mind on Schilling. His recent antics forced me to reevaluate about his character as a player, which ultimately turned Schilling to a ‘no’ vote for 2016, 2017 … forever.”
“I have voted for Schilling in the past, based on his superior career WAR (80.7, higher than that of Tom Glavine, Don Sutton, Jim Palmer, Bob Feller, and yes, even Sandy Koufax) and his outstanding post-season numbers,” Wallace Matthews tells his New York Sportsday readers. “His personal views have often troubled and at times offended me — he is an unabashed collector of Nazi memorabilia — but I have kept that out of my thought process. Until, that is, about a month ago, when he retweeted a photo of a man wearing a T-shirt advocating the lynching of journalists, with the comment, “OK, so much awesome here . . .”
Even one of the more famous baseball writers in Schilling’s adopted hometown voted Boston Globe instead of Boston Red Sox here.
“Count me out on Curt Schilling,” Red Sox beat writer Dan Shaughnessy divulged. “I have held my nose and voted for the Big Blowhard in recent years (11-2 in postseason, ridiculous walk/strikeout ratio), and he was up to 52.3 percent (75 percent required) last year, but I shall invoke the ‘character’ clause this year. Schill has transitioned from a mere nuisance to an actual menace to society. His tweet supporting the lynching of journalists was the last straw for this voter.”
Requiring 75 percent of ballots, Schilling received just 45 percent. The Trump taint apparently serves as a greater hindrance than the steroids stigma. Both Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds received more votes than Schilling. As a player, Schilling won the Branch Rickey Award given to the single major-leaguer who exemplifies community service and the Roberto Clemente Award given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” But voting for Donald Trump tends to overshadow one’s good deeds, at least in the jaundiced eyes of sportswriters, frustrated political pundits almost to a man.
Nobody judges a writer based on how hard he throws a baseball. That’s called a category mistake. Voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame based on what one tweets, who one casts a presidential ballot for, or where one comes down on controversial questions involving bathrooms similarly strikes as a non sequitur.
Say it ain’t so, Joe Schmos.