UPDATE, Jan. 27: Curt Schilling did not get inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, falling 16 votes short. He posted a screed to Facebook asking to be removed from the ballot next year, his last year of eligibility.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame will be announcing its class of 2021 this evening. With no surefire first ballot electees appearing on the ballot this year, the player with the best chance of making it is Curt Schilling, who missed by just 20 votes in 2020.
All of which is a long way of saying that for the first time in my life, I will celebrate if the voters pitch a shut-out.
If you’re a regular reader of Outsports, you’re already familiar with Schilling’s transgressions against replacement-level human decency. Sharing a hideous anti-trans meme while decreeing “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves.” Then, after getting fired by ESPN, circulating another one three months later. Calling a trans blogger a “clown.” Declaring “YOU’RE the ones making it an issue” in response to being called out on his transphobia.
And that’s just the first page of our search results.
Now you can add another line to Schilling’s post-baseball shame resumé: supporter of American sedition. During the domestic terrorist attack at the US Capitol on January 6th, Schilling tweeted this:
You cowards sat on your hands, did nothing while liberal trash looted rioted and burned for air Jordan’s and big screens, sit back, stfu, and watch folks start a confrontation for shit that matters like rights, democracy and the end of govt corruption. #itshappening
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) January 7, 2021
As if livetweet cheerleading an insurrection wasn’t enough, Schilling doubled down two days later on his Parler account: “It is time folks. The Gov’t, the MSM and the Fact Checkers comprise the 3 largest groups of liars in America. We are AT the crossroads, not coming to it, or getting near, AT.”
Ye gods. I’m not sure what the verb equivalent of “to tweet” is regarding Parler. But since it’s Schilling, let’s go with “shitpost.”
In the wake of Schilling’s frightening views coming to light, baseball writers have been publicly wringing their hands about what it could mean if he were to receive baseball’s highest honor—especially in this of all years. As BBWAA president C. Trent Rosecrans worried, “We have seen what Curt Schilling does with a platform, and it has been chilling.”
Last week, there were even rumors that several writers were asking the Hall to retroactively remove Schilling from their ballots. That story has since been debunked because in an ironic twist that would definitely fly over Schilling’s head, the Hall of Fame actually supports democracy.
The writers’ fears are very understandable. But any member of the LGBTQ community could be forgiven for wondering in response, “What took you so long?” We’ve been telling you who Schilling is for a long time.
He has been attacking the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our community for years. But for some reason, frequent and unrepentant transphobia wasn’t enough to disqualify him in the minds of 70 percent of voters in 2020, putting the Hall of Fame on the precipice of a potential crisis this year.
Or worse, some writers have dismissed our concerns as Schilling being punished for his “political opinions.” As if equating trans women with a sub-Benny Hill drag caricature or deadnaming Caitlyn Jenner was the equivalent of arguing over the marginal tax rate.
Had enough baseball writers listened to the voices of the LGBTQ community, this story could’ve been reduced to “former baseball player continues to degrade self, humanity.” But because they didn’t, baseball could be on the precipice of inducting its first Hall of Famer advocating for violent overthrow of the government (Unless some researcher digs up an instance of Ty Cobb sliding spikes high into William Howard Taft).
The Hall of Fame announcement is usually one of the most joyful days on the baseball calendar. But the closest we’ll get to celebrating this year is if no one makes it in. Because the outcries from the trans and LGBTQ communities fell on deaf ears for too long, we’ll have to hold our breath.