Schilling's letter to HOF causes a stir

Former Phillies ace falls 16 votes shy; Rolen gains a lot of ground

January 27th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- fell short again on Tuesday, and he has no interest in returning to the Hall of Fame ballot next year in his 10th and final year of eligibility.

The former Phillies ace received more votes than any other player on the 2021 ballot, appearing on 285 of the 401 ballots cast (71.1 percent) by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, meaning he fell just 16 votes shy entering Cooperstown this July. This is the ninth time in 77 years that no player crossed the 75 percent mark required to earn induction.

Schilling had a storied career with the Phillies, D-backs and Red Sox, but he also has a history of offensive, intolerant comments, most recently in the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Schilling feels he has been judged unfairly and slighted by voters, and he posted on Facebook a letter he wrote to the Hall of Fame, asking for his removal from the 2022 ballot.

“I will not participate in the final year of voting,” Schilling said in the letter. “I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player. I don’t think I’m a Hall of Famer, as I’ve often stated, but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honor.”

It is unclear whether Schilling will get his wish, as the Hall of Fame released a statement saying its board would consider his request at its next meeting.

Though Schilling’s case certainly got the most attention on Tuesday, two other former Phillies made strides toward possible enshrinement in Cooperstown.

Third baseman saw his vote percentage jump to 52.9 percent from 35.3 percent in his fourth year on the ballot. Closer saw his vote percentage increase to 46.4 percent from 31.7 percent in his sixth year of eligibility. Both are trending in the right direction with a few years on the ballot remaining.

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Former Phillies outfielder once again surpassed the 5 percent threshold needed to return to the ballot next year, but he has a way to go. His name appeared on 8.7 percent of ballots cast, up from 5.5 percent of the vote in his debut on the ballot last year.

, who helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series, and , who pitched for the Phillies in 2013, received no votes and will not return to the ballot next year.