ESPN.com polled more than 50 Hall of Fame voters on the following two questions: (1) Do you vote for Curt Schilling; and (2) do his political views, outspokenness or activity on social media have any impact on how you view his candidacy?
Here are some of their responses.
Yes on Schilling
Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle
I have voted for Schilling every year, including this one, since he first came onto the ballot in 2013.
Nothing he could do -- short of, perhaps, murder -- would affect my vote. I never consider the "character clause'' because I think it's a farce and should be eliminated, given all the roguish behavior within the Hall. Beliefs, comments, PED use or suspicions, none of that ever comes into play for me. I simply vote for those I feel were the best of their era.
Buster Olney, ESPN
I think Curt is absolutely Hall of Fame worthy, but I did not vote for him in the past because of ballot logjam -- the Rule of 10. I would've voted for him with an open ballot, or if the voting dynamic was different. Curt is one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time and he should be honored at Cooperstown one day.
I stopped voting a few years ago, but if I still submitted ballots, his political views have no bearing on whether I would vote for him. The question of his eligibility is the purview of the Hall of Fame, and because the Hall places him on the ballot, I think it's the job of the writers to assess his worthiness for induction based on his baseball record -- and he is beyond worthy.
Jayson Stark, ESPN
I've voted for Curt in the past. I plan to continue voting for him.
I've thought a lot about the character and integrity clause and how it affects the way we vote. It seems to me that just because any player on the ballot might say things that we disagree with as voters, that shouldn't be enough to change a yes vote to a no. I'm not just talking about Curt here. I'm talking about anyone on the ballot. It's America. I know the founding fathers weren't thinking about baseball Hall of Fame voting when they drew up the First Amendment, but I'm pretty sure it applies. So I'll evaluate Curt Schilling, the Hall of Fame candidate, the way I always have.
Jeff Passan, Yahoo.com
A Hall of Fame voter's job is to assess what a player did over the course of his career, weigh it and render an opinion based on performance. Personally, I disregard the character clause because I think it's presumptuous to believe we truly know these men well enough to render judgment on them personally -- and because the number of reprehensible human beings already in the Hall of Fame renders the clause's existence positively inert.
As for Schilling, plenty of middling players have gone on to do great things in their post-playing career and don't receive greater Hall of Fame consideration on account of that. Why, then, should players be dinged for what may be considered socially troublesome? My politics are as different as possible from Curt Schilling's, and I think that gives my vote even more gravitas. He has said he worries about people holding his views against him. I'd like to tell him: Not all of us, not by a long shot.
Ken Davidoff, New York Post
I have voted for Schilling every year he has been on the ballot. His views have no impact on my view of his candidacy moving forward. Just last week, I wrote that, with Bud Selig's election, I am ignoring the "integrity, sportsmanship, character" criteria moving forward. Even before that change, though, I wouldn't have counted this against Schilling. While it's obviously reprehensible, it's too outside the voting parameters for my tastes. Although I do look forward to including the phrase "... even though he wants me dead" every time I support his candidacy.
Tim Kurkjian, ESPN
Yes, I have voted for Schilling in certain years, but not all years, in the past. He was a dominant pitcher for roughly 10 years. I am uncomfortable, at times, with some of the things he has said, but I have not changed my stance on voting for him. I think he was kidding with the tweet about lynching journalists.
C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer
I think we all must make some concessions on how we vote for the Hall of Fame, and mine has been that I consider what I can measure on the field of play. The fact that Schilling has advocated for my murder and the murders of my friends and colleagues has not changed his performance on the field. He was an outstanding pitcher who may be the best postseason pitcher in the history of the game. To me, he deserves a spot in Cooperstown but not at my dinner table. I will vote for him for the Hall of Fame, but I will veto any attempt by anyone in my family to invite him for Thanksgiving.
Alan Greenwood, Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph
Schilling's overall numbers are not Hall of Fame worthy, but his postseason work pushes him across the line for me. The fact that he is a right-wing blowhard and is addicted to the spotlight won't change my vote. How many blank spots would appear on the walls in the Hall if all the jerks were evicted?
Pat Caputo, Oakland (Mich.) Press
I respect Dan Shaughnessy's opinion, and it's good to have the discussion, but I disagree with his decision [to not vote for Schilling]. Schilling isn't exactly the first player to slam the media. Schilling, according to the baseball-reference.com version of WAR, is the 26th best pitcher, and 63rd best player of all time. His postseason record was incredible. He belongs in. He is on my ballot every year. Schilling's tweet was deplorable, but not, in my opinion, over the line where the morals clause should be invoked. First of all, it wasn't done while he was playing. Also, Hall of Fame induction is not a Good Guy Award. If it were, many great players would have never been inducted. Far and above all else, it's about achievement in the sport.
Rob Biertempfel, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
I am aware of Schilling's tweet. I follow him on Twitter and saw it the day he posted it. It did make me grimace, but it did not prevent me from voting for him again on my HOF ballot. In fact, I never gave that a thought when I reviewed his resume for the Hall this year.
I don't care much about any celebrity's personal or political views when I cast my ballot for president, so I don't let them affect how I vote for the Hall of Fame, either. Schilling's comments had nothing to do with baseball or his performance on the field years ago. Would I think twice about electing him mayor? Maybe. That would be a position where his values and temperament would matter. As for the HOF, I'm focused on whether he performed at a superior level and respected the game as a player.
All of us in this business use Twitter. We know it's built for hot takes and half-formed thoughts. We've all tweeted something, then regretted it two minutes later. I follow a lot of folks on Twitter whose political views are 180 degrees from mine. I interact with them. Many of them are friends. Do I really believe Schilling wants to lynch me because I'm a journalist? No. Yeah, he tweeted that; perhaps I should just be the bigger person and move on.
Dom Amore, Hartford Courant
Yes, I have voted for Schilling in the past and, yes, I intend to continue voting for him. While I don't necessarily agree with his views, he has the right to express them. The T-shirt, tweet and his retweet regarding journalists and lynching was juvenile and unfunny. I doubt if you took out "journalists" and plugged in any other group, that group would think it was funny. We all have the same right that he does -- to express our views, including views about him and his views.
However, as journalists and, in this case Hall of Fame voters, we don't have the luxury of hurt feelings or the right to use a Hall of Fame vote for this purpose. So I can't change. He is not a slam dunk for the Hall, and there could come a year where the ballot is too crowded to include him among 10 -- especially as attitudes change on Bonds, Clemens, et al. If you shift on them, you may have to leave someone off you voted for the year before. But I would feel hypocritical and unfaithful to what a Hall of Fame voter is supposed to be if I switched on Schilling for this reason, so I have no intention of doing that.
John Tomase, WEEI.com
I have voted for Schilling and will continue to vote for Schilling. He's called me every name in the alt-right book during radio interviews, and we may reside at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but bottom line is he's the best postseason pitcher in history, he's got the best strikeout-to-walk in history, and the other stats some see as falling short I see as good enough. The Steroids Era has also convinced me the character clause has got to go. Either put a player on the ballot or don't; stop demanding we legislate the game's morality. In any event, to bring this back to the Big Schill, I'll vote for him until he's not on the ballot anymore, no matter how many memes he posts or delicate sensibilities he offends.
No on Schilling
Jon Heyman, MLB Network (changed his vote on Schilling this year)
It was the lynching comment that put me over the top. I wouldn't vote on anybody's politics. It's silly to make it about politics. There's no Republican or Democrat who's in favor of lynching. I certainly knew his politics. He doesn't make it a secret. I voted for him early when he was getting 30 percent of the vote. He wears his politics on his sleeve, which is fine. This isn't a political issue.
Chris De Luca, Chicago Sun-Times
I've never voted for Schilling before and he won't be on my ballot this year. He was a great pitcher, but just not quite a Hall of Famer, in my mind. My decision is based solely on his performance on the field.
Frankly, I'm embarrassed for Dan [Shaughnessy], a writer I respect, for taking his stance because Curt said something bad about the media. That's ridiculous. Our votes should be based on performance. Period. If we voted for the most likable, media-friendly players, Shawn Abner would have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Media-friendliness should never factor into a Hall vote.
Roch Kubatko, MASN Sports
I haven't voted for him up to this point. He's always been a bubble guy and I kept pushing for candidates, like Dale Murphy and Lee Smith. I think he needs to get as far away from social media as humanly possible, even if it means taking him for a ride in the country, pushing him out the door and speeding away, but that wouldn't be a reason for me to deny him my vote if I felt he truly deserved it.
Pedro Gomez, ESPN
I have never voted for Schilling because I always viewed him as a borderline candidate who was just a shade below the Hall of Fame. Even though he might not believe me on this, his political views and my personal relationship with him -- which was rocky, at the very best of times, from my time covering him in Arizona -- has never played into my thinking on his candidacy. I can honestly say that it doesn't matter to me what he thinks politically. A player's individual personality has never mattered to me when it comes to what I consider to be one of the most important things I do every year.
Hal McCoy, Dayton Daily News
I have not voted for him for the Hall of Fame. But it is strictly based on baseball, although there is a character clause to consider. I can't not vote for him because of what he says because of his First Amendment rights, whether I agree with him or not. And I don't agree, of course. He has always been an outspoken guy and more power to him for having the guts to say what he believes, right or wrong. That shouldn't count against him in Hall of Fame voting. I just don't feel he is a strong Hall of Fame contender, although he is borderline.
David Ammenheuser, Nashville Tennessean (dropped Schilling from his ballot this year)
Dropping Curt had nothing to do with his post-career comments and antics. Last year, I voted for 10 players. Curt was No. 10 on my list, just a nudge above Lee Smith. When Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero became eligible this year, I rated them higher than Schilling. The final decision came down to Lee Smith and Schilling for the No. 10 spot. With Smith in his final year of eligibility, I chose to make Smith No. 10.
Kevin Kernan, New York Post
No, I have not voted for Schilling. But I consider him borderline and, considering the beasts he had to pitch against, could change my opinion.
As for question No. 2, that has zero impact on my voting process. If we start judging by political views or Twitter comments, we are all in trouble.
Dick Scanlon, Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger
Curt Schilling was a very good major league pitcher for a long time. I never considered him a great pitcher, although he had some great moments.
Therefore I would classify him as a borderline Hall of Fame candidate, and my philosophy is not to vote for candidates I regard as borderline. My standards for the Hall of Fame are very high; I'm sure some would say too high. I have not voted for Schilling.
As to whether his social-media ranting and his post-career behavior and attitude would influence my vote, I acknowledge that, yes, of course it does. I am honored to have a vote. I take it very seriously, and I am not inclined to vote to honor someone who comes off as insane and degrades the sport by association. I have too much respect for the game and its institutions, including the Hall of Fame.
To advocate the murder of any group of people is appalling and dangerous, and if that is Schilling's idea of funny, then he is not my idea of a Hall of Famer.
On the fence
Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News
I am torn on whether to vote for him or not and have yet to finalize my ballot. I lean against. I do take the character clause into consideration because it is part of the very broad criteria we're given. Yes, there are some unsavory characters in the Hall, but that doesn't mean that we should then issue a pass to all.
When Ty Cobb went into the Hall of Fame, the sport and the country were in a different place than we are now. Baseball aims to be a sport of inclusion and diversity. Schilling's radio show and social-media commentary seem to be in direct contradiction to what MLB seems to set as its standards at this time. Performance-wise, I think he is on the cusp of Hall of Fame-worthiness. I gave him the benefit of the doubt last year. Not sure I feel comfortable doing it again.