Curt Schilling: ‘If I Have to Shut Up to Get in the Hall of Fame, Then I Don’t Want In’

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Though his conservative politics might keep legendary ace pitcher Curt Schilling from being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, that won’t stop the man regarded as one of the greatest Boston Red Sox heroes of all time from fearlessly speaking 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 professional baseball 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.

Schilling gave his first post-ESPN interview to Bannon on Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM; and after the show, Bannon took him to lunch and offered him a job. Breitbart’s Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow told Esquire that Bannon deserves “a lot of credit” for Schilling’s latest career turn as a prominent “right-of-center speaker.” As the host for Breitbart radio’s Whatever It Takes, Schilling has found a perfect outlet for his love of politics and the rough and tumble of political debate.

Marlow told Esquire Schilling is “a big presence” at Breitbart, explaining, “We have someone in Curt Schilling who is a hero to a lot of people and is willing to fight for their values. We’re excited and we’re going to amplify him however we can.”

The former baseball star is a firm believer in the power of his perch at Breitbart. “Look, Obama blames talk radio for losing the election. If that’s even part of the case, then God bless ’em. I think I played a little, small piece in that.”

Schilling is also eager to grow his megaphone. He told Esquire, “I want to be bigger than [Sean] Hannity and all the other guys. Why would that not be a goal? I’m not afraid of stumbling. I don’t like being wrong, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to be.”

But radio might not be the final career turn for the 50-year-old Schilling. There is still a chance he might pursue a Senate run against Elizabeth Warren. He told Esquire that even being able to say that he could run is “badass cool.”

“My thought was, I could run for [the] Senate next year and then I would run for president after Trump’s second term,” he said. “I live in a country where I can say that. That’s pretty fucking cool.”

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.”


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