Former Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling, was the closest player to the 75% threshold needed to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was 16 votes away and was understandably frustrated. Minutes after the announcement, he shared a letter he wrote to the Hall of Fame requesting they remove him from the ballot for his tenth and final year of eligibility.
“I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot,” Schilling continued. “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 initially didn’t believe his statement was true about the writers’ opinions not mattering. After all, they are the ones that have analyzed his performance for years. They’ve earned the right to determine whether he will have a plaque at the Hall of Fame or not. But, after some consideration, Schilling is actually correct in his statement.
To be clear, baseball writers’ opinions certainly matter. They watch games every day during the season and are the ones that are covering these players that they’re voting or not voting for. But, would you believe me if I told you that there are actually people casting votes on who should get into the National Baseball Hall of Fame who don’t even cover baseball. Well, there are.
Here are a few examples just from the New York Post. They are just one newspaper publication and they had 13 different writers voting for the Hall of Fame in 2021. Larry Brooks–who did not vote for Schilling–covers the New York Rangers in the NHL. Brian Lewis voted for five players and he is a beat writer for the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA. Brian Costello is the Post’s New York Jets beat writer and he voted for ten players (yes, ten players in a year that nobody got in).
No disrespect to those three writers’ careers, but why do they deserve to vote for the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Why should someone whose job is not covering baseball have the right to play a part in deciding the fate of Curt Schilling? Do you think they fully appreciate how rare it is to see a pitcher go 5-0 with a 1.73 ERA in elimination games in the postseason (two wins against the New York Yankees)? Probably not, because their job is to cover other professional sports.
That would be like the Post’s Joel Sherman–who also works for MLB Network–voting for the NBA Hall of Fame. He himself would tell you he isn’t fit to vote for that league.
Schilling isn’t lying about those writers that haven’t covered the sport in years and/or their jobs are covering other sports. Their opinions shouldn’t matter when it comes to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
(Photo: Charles Krupa/AP Photo)