Easy choices, based strictly on performance
For the ninth time in as many years, my Hall of Fame ballot included a check next to the name of Curt Schilling. But if he gets in, I’ll take a pass on any celebration.
- Barry Bonds
- Curt Schilling
- Roger Clemens
- Todd Helton
- Scott Rolen
- Billy Wagner
Schilling has the credentials. He finished his career with 3,116 strikeouts, 216 victories (only three fewer than Pedro Martinez) and was one of the greatest postseason performers of his generation.
Schilling has a long history of hateful comments. A player who once deservedly won the Roberto Clemente Award for community service sure devotes a lot of his time to tarnishing that legacy.
The Hall of Fame asks us to take a player’s character into account, and I can’t argue with any voter who cites that as a reason not to vote for Schilling.
But judging the character of a baseball player is like trying to hit a knuckleball. It’s a moving target. The Hall of Fame already has players suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs and others from decades ago who were unrepentant racists.
There are beloved Hall of Famers whose comments about social issues would have melted Twitter had they gone public.
I cast my ballot based only on what a player did on the field, and in that sense, Schilling is an easy choice.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Scott Rolen, and Billy Wagner were my other holdovers and remain on the ballot. If you dig into the numbers, which is our duty, Rolen and Wagner have compelling cases.
The colossally underrated Bobby Abreu got a long look, as did Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield. But I did not vote for them.
Jones, in my view, was not dominant over a long enough period of time. Sheffield was an offensive powerhouse but has to be judged in the context of his time. He’s very close but not quite there.
It was good to see Shane Victorino on the ballot. He is not likely to receive many, if any votes. But it’s impressive that a player who was twice selected in the Rule 5 Draft ended up on the ballot after a career that included two World Series rings, two All-Star selections, and four Gold Gloves.Tell @PeteAbe what you think