Curt Schilling had some real momentum toward induction into the Hall of Fame. From 29.2 percent of the vote in his second year, he went to 39.2 percent the following year and then 52.3 percent last year. That was a trend likely to lead to enshrinement in, say, his seventh year.
Instead, Schilling's vote total dropped to 45 percent this season.
One of the best postseason pitchers in history, Schilling ranks 15th in career strikeouts, third in strikeout-to-walk rate, 46th in ERA+ and 26th in WAR among pitchers during his 20-year career with the Orioles, Astros, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Red Sox. It's a Hall of Fame resume in several ways, but he faces a significant uphill climb if he's ever to get in.
We can't know why every voter who stopped voting for Schilling did so, but many voluntarily post columns on the internet. From what we've seen, his tweet saying that a shirt suggesting to lynch journalists was "so much awesome" has been a problem in the minds of some voters.
Several have gone to the trouble to point out it's not "political" to say supporting a lynching is bad and they are correct. That's not political. It's common decency.
I just don't like it impacting Hall of Fame voting when we're talking about the post-playing career of a guy who played a game. He said he was kidding. It's just words, not actions. It's a problem, in my opinion, that some are using the character clause to justify non-Schilling votes. Slippery slope and all that.
But it appears that is exactly what is happening.
It sounds a bit ridiculous, but the fact of the matter is that Schilling's tweet might have been the difference in him getting into the Hall of Fame or being left out. He had some very positive momentum going last year and now it's going in the opposite direction.