Former star pitcher Curt Schilling claims he was snubbed from the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year due to his support for former U.S. president Donald Trump, including conspiratorial posts about the election result and other controversial comments from his past.
Schilling fell 16 votes short of induction in this year’s Hall of Fame voting, which is decided by a panel of reporters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
The voters opted not to induct anyone into Cooperstown this year, though Schilling, slugger Barry Bonds and pitcher Roger Clemens were the closest in voting. It was Schilling’s ninth time on the ballot after a career in which he won three World Series championships and posted one of the best post-season pitching records ever.
Schilling has also become a toxic figure in his retirement, after directing hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, journalists and others. He is also a vocal Trump supporter who backed the rally that turned into a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“Watch folks start a confrontation for s— that matters like rights, democracy and the end of (government) corruption,” Schilling tweeted, before the mob tried to overturn a democratic election result.
The tweet was issued after all ballots had been submitted in this year’s Hall of Fame voting, the Associated Press reports.
Schilling accused the BBWAA of reading too deeply into his tweets in an open letter to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. He also railed against the decision to not induct him, insulted BBWAA’s writers as “spineless cowards” and accepted that he will likely never be part of Cooperstown.
“I will not participate in the final year of voting,” he wrote, referring to the 10-year window in which players can be voted in. “I am requesting to be removed from the ballot.”
Hall of Fame Board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark said in a statement that the board “will consider the request at our next meeting.”
BBWAA members are instructed to elect Hall members “based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”
Schilling wasn’t the only candidate who faced questions of integrity and character in this year’s vote. Bonds and Clemens are suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs at the height of baseball’s steroid era, though Clemens has denied it and Bonds insists he never knowingly did so.
Bonds has also been accused of domestic violence and Clemens of maintaining a decade-long relationship with a singer who was 15 when they met.
C. Trent Rosencrans, president of the BBWAA, said he voted against Schilling out of concern for what he might say at a Hall of Fame induction.
“We have seen what Curt Schilling does with a platform, and it has been chilling,” he told the Associated Press.
It’s the ninth time the BBWAA didn’t elect anyone and just the third time since 1971.
—With files from The Associated Press