Curt Schilling, who fell about 35 percentage points short of being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, suggested Wednesday that his total would have been higher if not for his vocal conservative political views.
Appearing on Boston sports radio WEEI, Schilling was asked why he thought John Smoltz received 240 move votes than he did in the Hall of Fame balloting results announced Tuesday. Smoltz was elected to the Hall in his first year on the ballot with 455 votes, or 82.9 percent. Schilling, who currently works as a baseball analyst for ESPN, received 215 votes (39.2 percent).
“I think he got in because of [Greg] Maddux and [Tom] Glavine. I think the fact that they won 14 straight pennants. I think ‘Swiss Army knife versatility,’ which somebody said yesterday, I think he got a lot of accolades for that, I think he got a lot of recognitions for that. He’s a Hall of Famer,” Schilling said. “And I think the other big thing is that I think he’s a Democrat and so I know that, as a Republican, that there’s some people that really don’t like that.”
While there was some laughter after the comment, host Kirk Minehane followed up by asking Schilling if he thought he would have gotten more votes if he was not outspoken politically.
“Absolutely,” Schilling said. “Listen, when human beings do something, anything, there’s bias and prejudice. Listen, 9 percent of the voters did not vote for Pedro [Martinez]. There’s something wrong with the process and some of the people in the process when that happens. I don’t think that it kept me [out] or anything like that, but I do know that there are guys who probably won’t ever vote for me because of the things that I said or did. That’s the way it works.”
Later on Wednesday, Schilling said on Twitter that the comments were said “in jest.”
Schilling was in his third year of eligibility. Martinez was selected on 91.1 percent of ballots in his first year of eligibility.
Smoltz, the 1996 NL Cy Young winner, was 213-155 with 154 saves, the only pitcher with 200 wins and 150 saves. He had a career 3.33 ERA with 3,084 strikeouts and a 1.176 WHIP. He also went 15-4 with a 2.67 ERA in the postseason.
In 2013, in his first year on the ballot, Schilling received 38.8 percent of the vote. Last year, that total dropped to 29.2 percent. Schilling had a 216-146 career record with a 3.46 ERA, 3,116 strikeouts and a 1.137 WHIP. He went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in the postseason.