Curt Schilling's Hall of Fame meltdown

Jim Monaghan
Content Coordinator

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has never been one to shy away from making strong comments. One in particular both forever endeared him to Red Sox fans, and turned Yankees fans immediately against him.

Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe

Speaking to a reporter during the 2004 American League playoffs, Schilling stated, "I'm not sure I can think of any scenario more enjoyable than making 55,000 people from New York shut up."

Of course, he had already played a big part in taking down a piece of the Yankees dynasty a few years earlier when, as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, he and teammate Randy Johnson joined together to help beat New York in seven games in the 2001 World Series.

The "bloody sock" game against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS not only shut up all of New York, it put Schilling on a pedestal that Boston reserves for athletes like Russell, Orr, and Brady.

Schilling could rub a lot of people the wrong way, including both teammates and opponents, with his brash attitude. A friend of mine who had encountered Schilling when they were both in the minor leagues said to me after Boston had signed Schill in November 2003 that the Red Sox would never win a championship with him. And except for 2004 and 2007, he was right (sarcasm).

And of course there is the almost legendary ongoing feud with Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessey that over the years has seen both men resort to middle school insults. If nothing else, that was at times entertaining.

Schilling has not been afraid to talk politics whether on his former 38 Pitches blog or more recently on his social media accounts. He has even contemplated running for office on at least two occasions.

During a live video chat with fans that was on his Facebook page about two hours before the Hall of Fame announcement, Schilling appeared calm and relaxed, telling viewers, "I'm not getting riled over anything. The game doesn't owe me anything."

We all know what happened shortly after that.

Schilling released a statement he had sent to the Hall (oddly enough, he indicated he had sent it on Monday, more than 24 hours before he even knew whether or not he was in) calling members of the media morally decrepit and declaring, "I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player. I don’t think I’m a hall of famer as I’ve often stated but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honor."

That was just part of the long, rambling diatribe that took shots at Shaughnessey and Red Sox management, brought in his wife's battle with cancer, and talked about the humanitarian awards he and former teammate Jamie Moyer had won.

Lest anyone think that the media didn't vote him into the Hall because of Schilling's support of former President Donald Trump, it's important to note that Schilling received 71.1% of the writers' votes. He missed enshrinement by just 16 votes. 

What very well could be a factor is Schilling's journey to the far right as exhibited by some outrageous  public comments, some of which ultimately led to his dismissal from the ESPN baseball broadcast booth.

At least two journalists who covered Schilling at various points in his career - Sean McAdam and Ken Rosenthal - have both publicly stated that "this is not the Curt Schilling I knew."

So what happened? Where did the Curt Schilling who orchestrated distribution of full World Series shares to 2004 Red Sox staffers, who has fought tirelessly against ALS, who has championed military families, go? Because the version of Curt Schilling we've witnessed recently on social media is clearly not the same person.

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