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Former D-backs pitcher Curt Schilling left out of Hall of Fame for 9th straight year

Schilling wrote a letter to the Hall of Fame saying he is requesting his name be removed on next year's ballot, his final year to be voted in by the writers.
Credit: AP IMAGES

PHOENIX — Former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher and 2001 World Series MVP Curt Schilling has been left out of the Baseball Hall of Fame for a ninth-straight year.

In fact, no players on the ballot this year received the 75% of votes necessary to be inducted. It's the first time since 2013 that baseball writers have not voted a player into the Hall.

Schilling received the most votes of any player on the ballot, with 71.1% of the votes, 16 votes short. Last year, Schilling had 70.0% of the vote.

Schilling says he wrote a letter to the Hall of Fame on Monday saying he is requesting his name be removed on next year's ballot, his final year to be voted in by the writers.

"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. 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."

After ten years of eligibility on Hall of Fame ballots, the Veterans Committee decide how to consider players who have not yet been voted in.

Leading up to the vote, there were questions about whether Schilling should be voted in after he tweeted support for the rioters at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

Five people, including a U.S. Capitol police officer, died after a pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, endangering legislators and damaging the Capitol building. Dozens have been arrested since.

"You cowards sat on your hands, did nothing while liberal trash looted rioted and burned for air Jordan’s and big screens," Schilling tweeted in part at 11:52 p.m. the night of the insurrection. "sit back [shut up] and watch folks start a confrontation for [expletive] that matters like rights, democracy and the end of [government] corruption. #itshappening."

Schilling was a three-time World Series Champion when it was all said and done, a six-time All-Star and runner-up for the Cy Young three times, twice in Arizona. His postseason stats were something to marvel at, 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 133.1 innings over 19 career postseason starts.

Unfortunately for Schilling, there is a character clause in the Baseball Hall of Fame voting criteria, something that has been there since writers began voting for inductees in the 1930s.

Some writers have been vocal in recent weeks saying this was a reason to leave Schilling out of the Hall of Fame once again, with reports that some voters even asked for their ballots back to amend them after Schilling's tweet. 

For many years now, and especially during his time on the Hall of Fame ballot, Schilling been vocal with a far-right political outlook and commentary. He received criticism from some people for his views.

After his baseball career, he appeared on ESPN as a color analyst and commentator. 

In August 2015, ESPN suspended Schilling's coverage of the Little League World Series and Sunday Night Baseball after he posted a Twitter meme that compared Muslim Jihadism and German Nazis, a post he apologized for on the same day. ESPN fired Schilling in April of 2016 for “unacceptable conduct” for an insensitive Facebook post regarding transgender bathroom laws. 

Schilling in 2016 tweeted a picture of a man wearing a shirt that said “Rope, tree, journalist. Some assembly required.” “OK, so much awesome here…” Schilling’s post read. 

Some writers say that journalists shouldn’t be required to determine which parts of a person’s character matter to be inducted or not, which also follows the constant debate on whether writers should help Hall of Fame selections at all.

As for the voting criteria given by the Hall of Fame, it’s this: “Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

The character clause isn’t new. Players getting left out because of this clause is not new, either.

Schilling received 38.8% of the vote back in 2013 and it dropped to 29.2% in 2014, before the Trump era of American politics began.

The biggest issue for baseball writers this year is Schilling’s desire to perpetuate misinformation and support violence in the name of unfounded widespread voting fraud claims and whether that invalidates him for the Hall of Fame as he approaches the end of his 10-year consideration limit.

The character clause is subjective, up to the individual voting. The way voters look at statistics and accomplishments on the field is subjective. And there’s been enough doubt among enough voters that Curt Schilling has been left out of the Hall of Fame.

You also need 75% of the voters to get in. It's not easy to get 75% of voters to agree and it's not supposed to be.