Welcome to Cooperstown…Or not
On Tuesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America, or the BBWAA, voted in the annual Hall of Fame voting for retired baseball players to be enshrined into Cooperstown. The greats like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Nolan Ryan, Honus Wagner, the late Tommy Lasorda and recently deceased Hank Aaron are all immortalized there for their on the field play. Since 1961, at least one player has been elected to join the hall, except this year. The BBWAA voted no players into the Hall, as most players on the ballot that are talked about like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and the person who came within 16 votes Curt Schilling.
Schilling, a 3-time MLB world series champion with the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, is on his 9th ballot this past ballot year, which ended Tuesday.
Curt Schilling, pitching during the 2004 world series
Schilling is, if looking at the stats, isn’t a sure-fire hall of famer. He never won a Cy Young award for being the best pitcher in either league, finishing second in 2001,2002, and 2004. He did win the world series MVP in 2001, when he won 22 games, started games 35 and struck out 293 batters. He followed that year with a 23-win season and struck out 316 that season. Again, finishing 2nd both seasons in the Cy Young votes. He was a very good pitcher, in a 20-year career he won 216 games with a win percentage of .597. Are these numbers good enough though to be considered a Hall of Famer though?
Schilling came out and said that he wanted to be taken off the ballot for his last year of eligibility because he feels that writers shouldn’t get to vote on players getting into the Hall. In a way he has a point, because no players gets to have a say until after the 10 years are up. The problem with Schilling’s claim to be a hall of famer is when you compare him to the lower end of hall of famers like Mike Mussina who is the most recent starting pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019. He had been on the ballot for 5 years when he was elected to the Hall. Mussina never won a Cy Young award either, but Mussina did win 270 games, and to boot he won with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. During his career, which was the same time as Schilling, Mussina pitched in the American League East division which was normally one of the toughest divisions in the Majors. Mussina had 5 all-star game appearances, while Schilling had 6, including 2 years as the starter. Mussina also won 7 Gold Glove awards as the best defensive pitcher in the league. Mussina also pitched in 3,562 compared to Schilling 3,261 innings pitched.
Schilling has a claim to the Hall of Fame, while it isn’t a strong case, it’s still a case. The complaint he has is valid because players are the ones who actually play against him and writers watch the game. In this case the writers don’t believe he is a Hall of Famer, but Schilling and most baseball fans care what players say more than what a writer has to say.
Hall of Fame voting results. MLB Network