The results of the 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame election were revealed Tuesday evening, and it was a shutout. There will be no members in the 2021 Hall of Fame class. The closest former player to the 75-percent threshold was Curt Schilling, who got 71.1 percent of the vote -- a personal high. Schilling fell just 16 votes shy of enshrinement.
Players can stay on the ballot 10 years before falling off. Next voting cycle is set be Schilling's 10th, but to hear it from him, he doesn't want that chance. Schilling, in a Facebook post published shortly after the Hall of Fame vote was revealed on Tuesday, asked the Hall of Fame to leave him off next year's ballot.
Schilling says that he wrote a letter to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday, which he shared on social media. Schilling says he doesn't hold any ill will toward the Hall itself, noting that they have "been otherworldly kind and gracious in every way possible and I'll be forever grateful to them and for that." But Schilling, claiming that media members "have lined up" to destroy his career, says he does not want to be part of the BBWAA balloting process in 2022.
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"I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot," he wrote. "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."
Here's his full post:
He added this on Twitter:
It's worth reiterating here that Schilling got 71.1 percent of the vote. There were 333 returned ballots, and 285 of those voters deemed Schilling's career worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Schilling lost his job at ESPN in 2016 for offensive social media posts.
As far as we can find, there is no precedent for a player asking off the BBWAA ballot for the Hall of Fame. Former union boss Marvin Miller once said he didn't want to be voted into the Hall of Fame, but he wasn't a player and it wasn't the BBWAA.
BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O'Connell issued the following statement on Wednesday, saying the association will "urge" the Hall of Fame to keep Schilling on the ballot.
"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."
All the same, if Schilling really, strongly doesn't want to even be on the ballot next year, the Hall could simply accommodate him and take him off. In this case, the slippery slope theory doesn't seem to me something that should deter the Hall of Fame. How many players will actually say to the Hall to leave them off the ballot moving forward? And if there are those who don't want to be in the Hall, why force them?
Other notable sections from Schilling's letter:
- He mentioned that he's 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." This is obviously Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. They were the next two highest vote-getters after Schilling in this voting cycle.
- His overall beef with the media is touched upon and he says a version of himself is being portrayed "that does not and has never existed." He acknowledges that he has committed sins in his life and is 100 percent accountable. He offers up, "Even the thought of responding to claims of 'nazi' or 'racist' or any other term so watered down and rendered meaningless by spineless cowards who have never met me makes me ill."
A final note that needs stressing: Schilling isn't in any way saying he doesn't want to be in the Hall of Fame. He says he doesn't look at himself as a Hall of Fame player, but he wants his Hall of Fame fate to be decided by a veterans committee, which in general includes former players and executives.