Curt Schilling is staying on an even keel.
Schilling was not elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday in his second year of eligibility. Only Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas earned induction into Cooperstown, and Schilling received just 29.2 percent of the vote — well below the necessary 75 percent. Schilling said on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan on Thursday that he isn’t upset by the Hall of Fame snub, as it’s something that’s out of his hands.
“I certainly didn’t expect to be one of the guys this year given the class that was out there and given the voting rules and stuff,” Schilling said. “It has become such a politically charged process. Unless you’re on the ballot by yourself and all the cases can be made for and against, it’s hard. But the good thing is you saw three guys that I think had legitimate first-ballot Hall of Fame careers go in yesterday, which was nice.”
One could certainly make an argument that Schilling deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He won 20 games twice, earned six All-Star selections and finished as a Cy Young runner-up on three occasions. Schilling also was masterful in the playoffs, posting an 11-2 record and 2.23 ERA in 19 career postseason starts. He won three World Series titles.
But Schilling has been retired since 2007, and life has since thrown him some curveballs, including his failed 38 Studios business endeavor and a heart attack in 2011. The 47-year-old said he isn’t too concerned about the Hall of Fame, even though it is a prestigious honor.
“Given the way life has gone for me the last couple of years, you start to get perspective — I think a little bit better perspective,” Schilling said Thursday. “I might not be here tomorrow, much less next January 8th. So I can’t worry about it. It’s completely out of my control. I keep referring back to the fact that when you talk about things like this and you look at what they mean, ultimately it comes down to respect. And I think the 24 guys that I suited up with for the years that I played, if they had to win a game, I think a lot of them would have given me the ball. And there’s not much more I could ask for out of my career than that. If this happens, awesome.”
Schilling received 38.8 percent of the vote last year, so things certainly are trending in the wrong direction for the former big league hurler. But the absence of Tim Raines, Dale Murphy and other great players in Cooperstown reminds Schilling that a Hall of Fame plaque isn’t the only symbol of an excellent career.
“I don’t get frustrated with this — at all,” Schilling said. “Because that would indicate a significant amount of energy being expended at it. I can’t. There’s nothing in this that I have any control over. Again, once I threw my last pitch, I was done. So, I hold under my hat that stuff that I was able to be a part of — the World Series and all the things that happened. I’m all right with that.
“If this happens — I work with Barry Larkin, who went in on the second ballot. I played with Hall of Famers. So, it means something to have that plaque. But it can’t mean everything.”
Schilling will be joined by the likes of Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz on next year’s ballot. It’s possible that his wait is far from over.