The news that Curt Schilling’s candidacy for the National Baseball Hall of Fame was unsuccessful was a great relief to me. It may sound strange, considering that I voted for him.

The man whose pitcher helped the Boston Red Sox win two World Series titles lost 16 votes from the 75% required to enter Cooperstown. This year, in fact, no player has been elected, which means that the 2020 class (led by Derek Jeter), whose induction was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic, will have the 2021 stage on their own. .

The reason I’m one of the country’s 414 Hall of Fame voters is simple: I worked for him. I covered Schilling’s entire career with the Red Sox and got involved in baseball while he played on other teams. The media are a popular target, and a lot of people think that the wrong people have power. But, if you expect a half-hearted apology for my own qualifications, I’m afraid I will disappoint you.

I don’t see any evidence that Schilling really wants to be in Cooperstown, anyway. What he really wants is martyrdom, and if the Hall of Fame accepts his unprecedented request to be taken off the ballot in 2022 – his last year of eligibility – I guess he will claim some form of it. .

I voted for him. Even I couldn’t have predicted until the December 31 vote deadline that we would have a riot and attempted insurgency at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, and that Schilling would respond quickly. . by becoming one of her most prominent cheerleaders.

On baseball’s merit alone, Schilling’s candidacy has been described as “borderline.” A survey of former players (who probably know more than the hated media) showed he was well below 75% support. Still, I cannot accept the easy escape hatch as his performance was not worthy.

Without boring readers with stats, let’s just say he’s won 51 more games than Sandy Koufax, and his pressured playoff resume might be the best the sport has seen.

That leaves the Hall of Fame “character clause” that voters are supposed to heed. It is well documented that many fools, social misfits and racists have plaques in Cooperstown. But I didn’t vote for these people, and like every other Hall of Fame voter I know, I take my ballot seriously.

Schilling blames liberalism in the media for his failure to get elected, which means he hasn’t spoken seriously with too many sports journalists. Some are liberal, some are conservative, some are still hard to label. But he did everything he could to make it a political issue, and let’s face it: Many fans support him so passionately because they agree with his policies, and not just because he has defeated the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series in 2004.

Schilling’s candidacy was the most difficult I have ever encountered. I have asked several people whose opinion I respect. Gradually and with great reluctance, I switched to “yes” for two reasons, beyond his baseball record.

I have decided that words, even poisonous words, are just words. The First Amendment is an often troubling but necessary American principle. And, although Schilling’s most venomous and meanest remarks came in retirement, he was a distracting presence but not off the rails during his playing career.

After its approval for actions considered seditious by myself and many others – including many Tories and Republicans – that caused the deaths of five people, some voters are said to have asked the Hall of Fame to withdraw their votes in schilling after the deposit deadline. This option hadn’t even occurred to me, and I didn’t see any reports of the votes that were actually changed.

On the contrary, I struggled to know that he could win a close vote with my help. Craig Biggio was ultimately elected to Cooperstown, but in 2014 he missed out on two votes. A script whereby Schilling did it through a voice – my voice – was by no means impossible.

If that had happened, I would have resigned as a voter effective next year. It wasn’t because I was ashamed, since I couldn’t predict the events from January to December, but because I tried to rationalize this result by saying that it was just a reward anyway. sporty, and not something really important.

I didn’t have the first base in my own heart on that one. Cooperstown retains an intrinsic value that most American institutions have lost. This is why his election debates – and the debate about his soul – are so passionate. Anyone who thinks it doesn’t really matter has nothing to do with the process.

Deciding where to draw a line is subjective, a dilemma many voters (and fans) solve by saying don’t draw a line. Just look at the numbers and ignore any attempt to distinguish right from wrong, the acceptable from the unacceptable, and with steroids cheating versus not cheating.

Schilling has spent the past few years defying voters not to choose him. An infamous example was his suggestion to lynch journalists. Still, 71.1% of voters took the high road, ignored that and all the other flaming tweets and slurs, and said parents should bring their kids to Cooperstown and admire the baseball greats, including Curt Schilling.

The January 6 riot was a defining moment in this country, a moment that prompted many Americans (including those who dislike Liberals and Democrats) to say, “Enough. Too far. ”I hope Schilling’s name will be removed from future ballots as that would eliminate the risk he could win.

But if he’s on the ballot again, he won’t be missing 16 votes. He will be 17 because he will not have mine. I’m a Hall of Fame voter, but first and foremost an American. I make a lot of mistakes, but I won’t repeat this one.