For fans of Baseball (still the nation’s favorite pastime,) it is that time of year when pundits on the MLB Network debate which former players are worthy of enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The discussion this year centers on Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Roger Clemens, Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, Billy Wagner, and Curt Schilling.
Bonds, Sheffield, and Clemens have faced justifiable scrutiny for their use of performance-enhancing drugs. Kent, Vizquel, Rolen, and Wagner are considered borderline Hall material by some of the more snobbish baseball journalist voters. Schilling, especially with his postseason heroics for the Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox is considered one of the favorites for Hall election this year.
That is until the fringe right-wing supporting former baseball pitcher openly voiced his support for the insurrectionists, tweeting:
“You cowards sat on your hands, did nothing while liberal trash looted rioted and burned for Air Jordan’s and big screens. Sit back [shut up] and watch folks start a confrontation for [s–t] that matters like rights, democracy and the end of [government] corruption. #itshappening.”
This is not the first time Mr. Schilling has been open with his extremist views.
He once accused ESPN of firing him as a baseball analyst because they did not approve of his conservatism. It could also be because of comments like “Hillary Clinton should be buried under a jail somewhere.”
Should Curt Schilling be elected into the Hall of Fame despite his fringe extremist political views?
In my opinion, yes but I understand the views of others who disagree.
What a ballplayer does off the field, should in most cases, not prohibit his eligibility for election to the Hall of Fame.
That includes being able to express their first amendment views as long as they do not harm anyone.
Consider some of the people in the Hall of Fame who committed questionable acts:
- Gaylord Perry admitted to throwing the illegal spitball.
- Juan Marichal charged a pitcher’s mound with a bat and tried to hit Dodger Catcher Johny Roseboro.
Other ballplayers like Ted Williams had so so relationships with the media and fans.
Jim Bunning expressed fringe views while a Senator from Kentucky. No one is throwing his Hall of Fame Plaque.
The former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey had a history of racism in the 1940s and 50’s. His team was the last to integrate in 1959 (12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.) No one is seriously suggesting to expel him from the Hall.
Schilling’s case is not the same as Shoeless Joe Jackson, an outstanding ballplayer who was involved to some extent in the Black Sox scandal during the 1919 World Series.
Or even Pete Rose (who should probably also be in the Hall for his playing career accomplishments) because of his betting on baseball.
While there are more deserving players than Schilling who have not made the Hall of Fame yet (Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Lou Whitaker, Luis Tiant, Thurman Munson, and Bernie Williams,) there should be no disagreement that, as a player, Schilling has the statistics and history of postseason heroics to earn a place in Cooperstown.
That does not mean you have to listen to his acceptance speech if health and safety rules permit this year.
That does not mean you have to like him. I personally think he is a repulsive figure with the views he has expressed.
It also does not mean his reactionary Anti Democratic extreme views would have increased credibility.
They will not and never will.