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Curt Schilling falls 16 votes short of Baseball Hall of Fame induction

Curt Schilling pitched for the Red Sox from 2004 to 2008.
Curt Schilling pitched for the Red Sox from 2004 to 2008.Bohn, John Globe Staff

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America pitched a shutout in its voting for the Hall of Fame as no candidate reached the required 75 percent.

Former Red Sox righthander Curt Schilling came the closest, drawing 285 of the 401 votes cast, 71.1 percent, when the announcement was made Tuesday. He fell 16 votes short of election.

Barry Bonds (61.8 percent) and Roger Clemens (61.6) were next.

All three would be on the ballot for the 10th and final time next year.

In a rambling 1,200-word post to his Facebook account, Schilling wrote, “I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot.”

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Players do not participate in any aspect of the voting and traditionally have no say in the composition of the ballot. But Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the Hall of Fame’s board of directors, said the group would consider Schilling’s request at its next meeting.

Players who fall off the BBWAA ballot can be considered by oversight committees that meet semi-annually.

Schilling climbed from 60.9 percent to 70 percent last year. But this time made only a small gain.

The 54-year-old Schilling has strong on-field credentials. He won 216 games and earned three World Series rings during a 20-year career. He is 15th all time with 3,116 strikeouts.

Curt Schilling was a key part of the 2004 Red Sox.
Curt Schilling was a key part of the 2004 Red Sox.Jim Davis

Schilling has a prominent place in Red Sox lore. He was acquired in a trade from Arizona before the 2004 season and helped lead the team to its first World Series championship since 1918.

Schilling won three of his four postseason starts, including the famed “Bloody Sock” Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees to keep the season alive.

In 2016, his fourth year on the ballot, Schilling reached 52.3 percent of the votes and seemed to be steadily rising toward 75 percent.

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But a series of hostile comments on social media damaged his candidacy, dropping his total to 45 percent as some writers invoked the rule instructing voters to consider “integrity, sportsmanship, [and] character” along with accomplishments on the field.

Schilling has used his platforms to attack various groups, including Muslims and the transgendered. He also has promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory and earlier this month supported the attack on the Capitol.

In 2016, Schilling commented: “Ok, so much awesome here” on a Twitter photo of a Donald Trump supporter wearing a T-shirt with the words “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.”

“As I’ve stated often over the past years to those I’ve spoken with in my heart I am at peace,” Schilling wrote on Facebook. “Nothing, zero, none of the claims being made by any of the writers hold merit.

“In my 22 years playing professional baseball in the most culturally diverse locker rooms in sports I’ve never said or acted in any capacity other than being a good teammate.”

Schilling also referred to writers as “cowards” and “morally decrepit.”

Schilling called Bonds and Clemens “cheaters” for their ties to performance-enhancing drugs and said he would prefer to represent the Diamondbacks and Phillies if he is chosen for the Hall of Fame instead of the Red Sox.

“What [Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner] did to my family and I in my final year has been forgiven but will never be forgotten,” Schilling wrote.

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Schilling did not pitch because of a shoulder injury in 2008 and retired after the season having been paid the full $8 million he was due. He quarreled with the team over his medical treatment that season.

“Having said all that, the media has created a Curt Schilling that does not and has never existed. It’s one of the things that has allowed me to sleep at night,” Schilling wrote.

Five of the six Globe writers with a ballot voted for Schilling. The vote was taken before Schilling’s comments on the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.

It was the first time since 2013 that the BBWAA did not vote in any players. Prior to that it was 1996. There were a record 14 blank ballots submitted.

Seven-time All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen was fourth with 52.9 percent, a considerable jump from 35.3 percent last year.

But the Cooperstown stage will not be empty this summer. The Hall of Fame class of 2019 — Derek Jeter, the late Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons, and Larry Walker — are scheduled to be inducted on July 25. Their ceremony last year was postponed by the pandemic.


Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.