On the mound, Curt Schilling was an undeniably great pitcher and one of the best postseason performers in baseball history. At a minimum, his playing career deserves serious consideration from Hall of Fame voters.
And yet, according to Ryan Thibodaux's public ballot tracker, Schilling has received only 55.1 percent of the vote as of this writing this year, well below the 75 percent needed for induction. He has also lost 19 votes among returning voters.
In a recent TMZ video, Schilling said he believes his support of President-elect Donald Trump is one reason he's losing Hall of Fame support. Also, several weeks ago he shared an image on Twitter that supported lynching journalists. Last year Schilling lost his television job as a baseball analyst, partly because he was sharing offensive posts on social media.
Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post provided a transcript of the video:
"If I had said, 'Lynch Trump,' I'd be getting in with about 90 percent of the vote this year," Schilling, a 50-year-old Breitbart talk show host and professional meme-sharer, told TMZ in a video published Monday.
"[Voters are] not hiding the fact they stopped voting for me because of the things I've said on social media," Schilling said. "That's their prerogative as voters. ... They're not gonna vote for me because of the character clause. There are some of the worst human beings I've ever known voting. There are scumbags."
Several Hall of Fame voters have made it clear Schilling's support of lynching journalists cost him their support. (Never mind that supporting the lynching of anyone is despicable.) For reference, here is the character clause on the Hall of Fame ballot, via the Hall of Fame's website:
5. Voting: 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.
That's all. That's all it is. There's no direction with regards to performance-enhancing drugs and certainly nothing that says politics should be considered. That would be ridiculous. And yet, Schilling has lost 19 votes from returning voters this year. Nineteen!
Here's the thing though: Based on the public ballots, Schilling's overall support is actually up slightly this year. He received 52.3 percent of the vote last year, the most of his four years on the ballot, and he's currently at 55.1 percent. That number will change -- fewer than 40 percent of all Hall of Fame ballots are known -- but right now, Schilling is actually trending up.