This time period represents the apex of the discussion centered around the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Some parts of the discussion are louder than others, while some merit only a few passing remarks before we move on to the next topic. Derek Jeter’s defensive flaws quickly gave way to Larry Walker’s merits on what is his final year on the ballot. Recent discussions have centered around Curt Schilling, the litmus test for whether or not you have a shred of human decency.
I’m not about to sit here and argue about Schilling’s results as they appear on a stats page. If those were the only numbers that matter when it comes to a player’s legacy then Schilling would be a shoo-in for Hall of Fame induction. Unfortunately for Schilling we don’t live in a world where who you are as a person can be divorced from who you were as a player. It’s just as easy to search out Schilling’s instances of transphobia, sexism, Islamophobia, racism, fraudulent activities, endorsements of Nazis, and call for reporters to be killed as it his career ERA and WHIP.
That hasn’t stopped numerous Baseball Writer’s Association of America members to vote for Schilling to join the Hall of Fame. Nor has it meant that there aren’t Schilling truthers just waiting to jump into any discussion with a hearty, “All that matter is what he did on the field, stupid liberal.” That last part may seem easy to ignore, it should be the standard in life to attempt to ignore moronic statements. However, the “all that matters is what he did on the field” crowd are vitally important to the reasons why Schilling can’t be given the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
It would be for the best; for me, for you, for every baseball fan and living being on this planet if Curt Schilling were ignored for the rest of his existence. Instead, I’m being forced to write about him now and if not this year sometime soon the Hall of Fame will give Schilling a platform that normalizes his hate. That’s truly the crux of a vote for Schilling and why anyone who gives him a vote is saying, “it’s okay that he’s a racist, that he said all reporters should be lynched, and that he propagates hatred towards Muslims.” Schilling should become a footnote in baseball history, someone whose chance at being remembered were dashed by his hatred and vitriol towards large swaths of the human populace.
There’s no argument to include Schilling in the Hall of Fame that passes muster. I don’t care how great he was on the field, how many other racists are in the Hall already, or even that the Hall of Fame isn’t all that important. What will be important is the speech Schilling gives on the day of his induction when every hateful action he has undertaken will be declared to be perfectly acceptable because of how he threw a baseball. I love baseball more than I probably should, and it is that love for the game that lets me realize there’s no place for someone of Schilling’s ilk to be honored as one of its greats. I refuse to endorse Schilling’s racism, to say his Islamohobgia is normal, or to look a young transgender youth in the eyes and tell them, “His ability to throw a baseball is more important than your right to exist.” If you can do that, well, then maybe you’re not that far removed from Schilling himself.
Lead photo courtesy of Jennifer Stewart – Getty Images