Schilling weighs in on Hall of Fame ballot

ESPN baseball analyst -- and former Red Sox pitcher -- Curt Schilling is one of 24 players who became eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time Wednesday on what he dubbed “the first steroid ballot.”

Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa -- all players whose numbers were tainted by performance-enhancing drug allegations -- headline the list of first-timers. Players need 75 percent of the vote from more than 600 longtime members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to get in.

For Schilling, the decision on those three should be easy.

"I wouldn't vote for them, ever,” he said in an interview on SportsCenter (embedded above). “It generally tends to go this way with people that get caught doing stuff. You generally never catch somebody on the first go-round. These guys I think to some degree or another in different cases cheated and in some cases cheated for a lengthy period of time. I think that had an impact on who they are and what they did. I would be someone who wouldn’t vote for anyone that cheated in that manner. ...

“At the end of the day, I just feel like what guys did with performance-enhancing drugs gave them such an immense advantage over the competition."

As for his own candidacy, Schilling wasn’t making any guesses. He’s considered a borderline candidate by many and said it’s too hard to predict a process Schill called “schizophrenic.”

"I honestly have no idea,” he said. “I haven’t won a game or struck out a hitter in five years. I did what I did. I had a chance and I interacted with a lot of guys over the years in the media that voted for the Hall of Fame and it's schizophrenic in many ways.

“Unfortunately there are people that take this process as a personal platform to write an article. I know a writer who did not vote for Nolan Ryan to protest Don Sutton not getting in the first time. I know of writers that have intentionally not voted for players they didn’t like.

“Knowing that, that has made it very easy for me to not give this a second thought in the sense that it's completely out of my hands and it's completely in the writers' hands. They're human. They have different opinions about different people and like me I'm sure they're going to look at some guys and say 'character matters for me when I vote for this guy and it doesn’t matter to me when I vote for this guy.’ That’s just the way it is."

Schilling’s career numbers make him an interesting candidate for many reasons. He pitched for 20 years and won 20 games times, but never won a Cy Young (he finished second three times). A six-time All-Star, he finished with 216 career wins, 3,116 strikeouts and a 3.46 ERA.

In the postseason, he was even better. In 19 career postseason starts, he was an incredible 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and helped three teams win World Series (the 2001 Diamondbacks and 2004 and 2007 Red Sox).

Schilling said the fact that the best players of his generation “have all for the most part have been involved in discussions of cheating” makes his performance look even better.

"That's why when I look at my numbers I know I did them against guys that were cheating,” he said. "So I'm proud of that."

Your turn: Do you think Schilling is a Hall of Famer? What about Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds? Vote in the polls above and sound off in the comments section.