Curt Schilling wants off the 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. The Baseball Writers' Association of America opposes the move. The Hall of Fame, which has the final say, says it will consider Schilling’s request.
The aftermath of the Hall of Fame announcement from Tuesday night — no players were elected and Schilling fell short for the ninth consecutive year — led to a barrage of statements from all of the interested parties.
Schilling, the three-time World Series champion and unapologetically polarizing social media presence, missed election to the Hall by 16 votes. He received 71.1% of the 401 ballots cast, and 75% is needed for election
Schilling is supposed to have one more year on the BBWAA ballot before his candidacy passes to one of the Hall’s era committees, which include former players.
Schilling, in a 1,100-word social media post that veered from gracious to vicious to paranoid to self-aggrandizing to self-pitying in the space of a few sentences, said he no longer wants his Hall fate decided by what he called the "morally decrepit" voters from the BBWAA.
"I will not participate in the final year of voting," Schilling wrote. "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."
It’s not up to Schilling, however, and it doesn’t appear to be up to the BBWAA.
Jane Forbes Clark, the Hall's board chairman, released a statement on Schilling’s request Tuesday night.
"As you know, the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame sets the rules and procedures for the BBWAA balloting process," the statement read. "The Board has received Curt Schilling's request for removal from the 2022 ballot, and will consider the request at our next meeting."
The statement did not say when the board’s next meeting would take place.
The BBWAA made its position clear on Wednesday in a statement from secretary-treasurer Jack O'Connell:
"It is the position of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America that Mr. Schilling’s request to remove himself from the ballot is a violation of the rules set forth by the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors, who have commissioned the BBWAA to conduct the annual elections, specifically the following:
'The duty of the Screening Committee shall be to prepare a ballot listing in alphabetical order eligible candidates who (1) received a vote on a minimum of five percent (5%) of the ballots cast in the preceding election or (2) are eligible for the first time and are nominated by any two of the six members of the BBWAA Screening Committee.'
"Mr. Schilling has fulfilled both of those requirements and should remain on the ballot for consideration by the voting body for what would be his final year on the BBWAA ballot in 2022.
"The Hall of Fame assigned the BBWAA to be the electorate in 1936. This association has abided by the rules for 85 years and shall continue to do so. The BBWAA urges the board to reject Mr. Schilling’s request."
The Hall has the right to amend its rules at any time, as it did when it kept Pete Rose off the BBWAA ballot. So the Hall can avoid a repeat of the ugliness surrounding Schilling’s candidacy if it wants to let him off the BBWAA ballot.
The 2022 voting is poised to be ugly enough with steroid-scarred Alex Rodriguez joining the ballot for the first time along with holdovers Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, who both will be in their final year of BBWAA ballot eligibility. Also joining the fray as a first-timer will be David Ortiz, who has been linked to steroids but denied those allegations.
Schilling referenced Clemens and Bonds — though not by name — in a part of his Tuesday statement in which he was defending himself against various charges of boorish behavior:
"I’ve certainly been exposed to racism and sexism and homophobia as it’s part of who human beings are. I’ve played with and talked with gay teammates. I’ve played with wife beaters, adulterers . . . drug addicts and alcoholics. I’ve never hit a woman, driven drunk, done drugs, PEDs or otherwise, assaulted anyone or committed any sort of crime.
But I’m now somehow in a conversation with two men who cheated, and instead of being accountable they chose to destroy others’ lives to protect their lie."
The only other candidate who is known to have requested to no longer be considered is the late union chief Marvin Miller. The Hall denied his request, and Miller was posthumously elected by an era committee as part of the Class of 2020. He will be inducted into Cooperstown along with Derek Jeter, Larry Walker and Ted Simmons in a ceremony currently scheduled for July 25.