BOSTON -- Of all the players on the Hall of Fame ballot who didn't gain election on Tuesday, former Red Sox greats Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens came the closest.Schilling, whose postseason excellence helped vault three franchises (including the Red Sox) to the World Series, appeared on 259 of the
BOSTON -- Of all the players on the Hall of Fame ballot who didn't gain election on Tuesday, former Red Sox greats Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens came the closest.
Schilling, whose postseason excellence helped vault three franchises (including the Red Sox) to the World Series, appeared on 259 of the 425 ballots, good for 60.9 percent of the vote. This represents a considerable spike for Schilling, who was at 51.2 percent last year.
• Complete 2019 Hall of Fame voting results
With three years of eligibility left on the BBWAA ballot, Schilling is gaining the type of momentum that could lead to his eventual induction. A candidate needs 75 percent of the ballots to be elected into the Hall of Fame.
Clemens, who spent the first 13 years of his illustrious career with the Red Sox, made incremental progress on the ballot with 59.5 percent of the votes compared to 57.3 last year.
Four players who played in the same era as Schilling and Clemens (Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina and the late Roy Halladay) were all voted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
• Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Schilling took to Twitter to praise his contemporaries, saying: "4 men who absolutely deserved it. They were better men than they were players and their [SIC] HOF players. Congrats Mo, Doc, Moose and Edgar. You all are deserving! #HOF2019."
Without question, Clemens would already be in the Hall of Fame if not for the suspicion he used performance-enhancing drugs. "The Rocket" won a record-setting seven Cy Young Awards in his career, the first three with Boston. Like Schilling, Clemens has three more years on the ballot.
Manny Ramirez, another Red Sox great linked to PEDs, received 22.8 percent of the votes, which is nearly identical to his total in his first two years on the ballot.
Ramirez was suspended twice for failing PED tests, which explains why a hitter with such impressive statistics (slash line of .312/.411/.585 with 555 homers and 1,831 RBIs) hasn't seen his voting tally increase much.
With the iconic David Ortiz not eligible for the ballot until 2022, Clemens and Schilling are the players with Red Sox ties to keep an eye on in their quest to reach Cooperstown the next two years.
A first-round Draft pick out of the University of Texas, Clemens flourished in his 13-year career with the Red Sox. He set a single-game strikeout record with 20 against the Mariners on April 29, 1986, and he tied his own record 10 years later while earning what proved to be his final win in a Boston uniform against the Tigers.
With 192 wins for the Red Sox, Clemens remains tied with Cy Young for the franchise record. The righty went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts over his career.
If you want the definition of a big-game pitcher, look no further than Schilling. His postseason numbers (11-2, 2.23 ERA in 19 starts) are some of the best ever. Schilling teamed with Randy Johnson for the D-backs in 2001 to prevent the Yankees from winning a fourth straight World Series, and he started Game 7 of that Fall Classic against Clemens in one of the most memorable games ever.
In 2004, Schilling was traded from the D-backs to the Red Sox, giving him another chance to come up big when it counted the most against the Yankees. This time, pitching with a bloodied sock due to a mangled right ankle, Schilling won Game 6 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium, which allowed the Red Sox to become the first team in history to bounce back from an 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven postseason series. And in the World Series, Schilling had another victory with a bloodied sock in Game 2 of the World Series against the Cardinals. The Red Sox swept St. Louis to win the franchise's first World Series in 86 years.
It turns out Schilling had more championship greatness in him in 2007, even though his velocity was greatly diminished by that time. With the Red Sox down 3-2 in the ALCS against the Indians, Schilling won Game 6. He then stifled the Rockies in Game 2 of the World Series, with Boston again sweeping its way to a championship.
Schilling also pitched for the 1993 Phillies, who lost the World Series in six games to the Blue Jays.
Though best known for his October heroics, Schilling also thrived in the regular season, going 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.