Wednesday will mark the fourth time Curt Schilling has discovered exactly how many Hall of Fame votes he received. Last year it 39.2 percent. The year before it was 29.2 percent. The first go-round? It was 38.8 percent.
He knows the drill, and that’s why the waiting process leading up to the announcement hasn’t exactly turned the Schilling household inside-out.
“It’s colder and I’m worried my chickens are getting frostbite on their combs,” he said on the Bradfo Show podcast when asked how this year might be different. “Honest to God, that’s what I’m worried about.”
But when it comes to the Hall of Fame, Schilling will be a name many continue to keep a close eye on. There is a strong case to be made that the former Red Sox pitcher belongs in Cooperstown. And then there are the debates that surround his debates.
(Case in point: Will Leitch’s recent story, “Are Curt Schilling’s GOP politics keeping him out of the Hall of Fame?”
It is all why narrowing down the wide-ranging interview with Schilling to five things we learned is challenging, but we’ll give it a shot:
SCHILLING IS AT PEACE WITH POTENTIALLY NOT GETTING THE CALL
“The hard part for me is I don’t want to say the things I say and diminish what I think the Hall of Fame represents. But it is the most subjective things I’ve ever been around. I read an article the other day about a writer that didn’t vote for me, and he didn’t vote for me because I only had 216 wins. And John Smoltz he voted for because he had 214 wins. I made peace with it a long time ago.
“Ultimately, I say they can’t take away the memories and the three rings, and those are the things I was able to walk away with. If it happens it would be great. I don’t expect it to happen. I’m not going to make a mistake this year and say it’s because I’m a Republican because I joked around about that last year and it became it’s own article when I called John Smoltz a Democrat knowing full well he’s as conservative as I am if not moreso, and I took heat for that for six months.
“If I don’t have a plague in Cooperstown, nobody can take away everything I had. I think Cooperstown and getting in is a recognition of all the people that were in your life, not of you.”
HE WON’T BE QUIET FOR THE SAKE OF HIS CANDIDACY
“I don’t care. I’m not going to change who I am, do what I do, or say what I say to make people think differently of me. For better or worse, and my wife would say there’s a lot of worse ‘ and some of the GMs I played for, well, all of the GMs I played for would say the same ‘ but I’m passionate with what I believe in. If my mouth keeps me out of the Hall of Fame then it’s a flawed process, if that’s the reason people don’t vote for me. If they don’t vote for because they don’t think I belong, then that’s absolutely a valid point.”
THERE IS A FRUSTRATION WITH THE HALL OF FAME VOTING PROCESS
“Tim Raines is the second greatest leadoff hitter of all-time and he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he’s still not in. That’s a joke. I think if a guy receives 85 or 90 percent of the votes and you don’t vote for him you should lose your ballot.”
(His personal ballot is as follows: Jeff Bagwell, Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Piazza, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Fred McGriff.)
BARRY BONDS AND ROGER CLEMENS WILL NEVER BE IN SCHILLING’S HALL OF FAME
“I think Bonds and Clemens were first ballot guys before I think they started cheating. What they did ‘¦ as a player and a member of the player’s association it’s my fault as much as anybody ‘¦ but what they did to my generation, it’s labeled the steroid era forever and they’re as symbolic of the era as anything, and I don’t think they should be recognized in a good way for that.”
HE BELIEVES PED GUYS WILL GET IN (HE JUST HOPES THAT DOESN’T INCLUDE BONDS AND CLEMENS
“Listen, this is like anything else. We don’t’ have staying power. We don’t have the ability to hate forever. No matter how bad a person anybody is at some point ‘ with the exception of guys like Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson ‘ everybody kind of gets that second chance. The only guy in my lifetime who hasn’t really gotten it is Pete Rose. I love the man. I’ve known him for a long time, but he made his own bed. But these guys, I think at the end of the day they lost the one thing they could never buy which was legacy.
“Bonds and Clemens will go down as the poster children for my generation of players and they both will do so for the wrong reason. I’m not a fan of recognizing that.”
OH, AND THERE WAS A LOT OF BASEBALL TALK, INCLUDING AN INTERESTING NOTE ABOUT THE ROLE OF RED SOX OWNERSHIP
“There’s meddling and there always has been. It goes back to when I was here [in Boston] I know the [ownership] meddled with the lineup, not just the roster. The other thing is that you have some guys not just in baseball, but football, who are fantasy baseball playing rich people. It’s not a bad thing until it gets down into clubhouse, and it has and it does.”