Curt Schilling Held To Inconsistently Applied Hall Of Fame Standard
The reason Schilling isn’t going to be inducted is Schilling. His post playing career has just been mired in controversy. In the end, it’s become too much for voters as evidenced by Sean Forman of Baseball Reference.
Last year, I didn't vote for Schilling. I've decided not to again this year. Given his past comments on Muslims & the LGTBQ community, I will not support giving him a broader platform. I see his statements as being over a line I can implicitly support.
— Sean Forman (@sean_forman) December 4, 2020
Voters who feel this way are well within their rights, and there is a specific clause in play which permits them to act upon their personal objections to Schilling’s behavior and statements
What’s curious is why Schilling faces the brunt of the character clause in a way others don’t.
Yes, that clause was been weaponized against PED users. That’s a large reason why Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and others haven’t been inducted. However, Bonds and Clemens haven’t been subjected to the character clause in the same way Schilling has.
Both Bonds and Clemens were charged with perjury related to their testimony regarding steroid use. While Clemens was initially cleared, it took Bonds two appeals to have his conviction overturned.
During his first marriage, Bonds was accused of abusing his wife, and there was “at least once during the marriage.”
Clemens has never been accused of abuse. However, he has had rumors of affairs. That includes an inappropriate relationship with a minor, which both sides attest did not grow to become physical until she was of age.
Moving in terms of Schilling territory, both Bonds and Clemens have their own issues.
Former MLB player Ron Kittle accused Bonds of saying, “I don’t sign for white people.” Bonds did categorically deny he said that. It must also be noted there have no been similar allegations against Bonds during his career.
On that note, Bonds was not popular with teammates or the media. Going back to college, Bonds was actually voted off his team. Given how many had an axe to grind against Bonds, and how unapologetically outspoken he’s been, if there was more, you’d imagine more people would’ve come forward.
With Bonds, you have unconfirmed accusations. To overlook those is certainly understandable. If a writer wants something more tangible or substantial before acting upon it, it’s understandable.
Clemens doesn’t face hearsay allegations like Bonds. We have statements made by Clemens. Specifically, Clemens made a crack the dry cleaners were all closed in Japan and South Korea during the World Baseball Classic. While some may want to equate that to a misunderstanding, there are other allegations.
Clemens is also a notorious head hunter who injured many players arguably intentionally. It’s something his future Yankees teammates griped about before Clemens joined their team. We know Clemens went so far as to throw a bat at Mike Piazza during the World Series.
There’s more with Clemens as well including his throwing food at a reporter over a story he didn’t appreciate. All in all, on and off the field, Clemens has done things which should invite writers to invoke the character clause against him.
Ultimately, writers are withholding votes from Schilling due to his actions and statements. However, they’re not doing the same with Clemens.
Remember, Clemens has injured players on the field, made racially charged remarks, and has had inappropriate relationships outside of his marriage. For those writers voting for him and not Schilling, they do need to offer an explanation how they find Clemens behavior acceptable and where exactly their line is.