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After falling 16 votes shy of the necessary 75% voting threshold to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2021, former MLB star Curt Schilling revealed that he would have represented the Arizona Diamondbacks, not the Boston Red Sox or Philadelphia Phillies, were he to be inducted.
He recently reiterated that stance in an interview.
Appearing on the Faith On The Field radio show, Schilling again said that he wanted to represent the Diamondbacks in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"If you take Boston out of the picture, you look at where I probably made the ascension if you believe I’m a Hall of Famer, it was in Arizona," he said, via FanSided. "I grew up there … I spent most of my life there … and I think that for two years, what Randy [Johnson] and I were and did has never, ever been equaled in the game. So that was home. It was obviously Philadelphia or Arizona, if Boston is out. I don’t think I was nearly as good in Philadelphia consistently — I was hurt a lot. The fans in Philadelphia were sooo good to me, and so good to my family. I’ll be forever indebted to them. But Arizona just felt like the right thing."
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Schilling’s on-field accomplishments face little dispute, but he has ostracized himself in retirement by directing hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, journalists and others.
Schilling helped the Diamondbacks win the 2001 World Series and the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004.
He spent four seasons in Arizona and four seasons in Boston. He spent nine seasons in Philadelphia before going to Arizona.
He opened his career with three seasons with the Baltimore Orioles before spending one season with the Houston Astros.
Schilling hasn't been afraid to speak publicly about his disdain for the ownership of the Red Sox, and he talked about it again on the Faith On The Field Show.
“The ownership in Boston is comprised of some very, very bad human beings who on my way out of baseball did things to myself and my family that I’ll never forget,” Schilling said on the show. “I forgave them, but I’ll never forget it. Unfortunately, it severely tainted my experience. My experience ending here should have been one of immense joy given what we were able to accomplish in the four or five years I spent here… and it didn’t because of what they did.”
After missing out on the Hall of Fame last season, Schilling first revealed his preference to represent Arizona should he be inducted someday.
"I’ve chosen Arizona as the team I would have represented if I had been inducted and even though I heard someone there is calling for the DBacks front office to “meet” should the induction happen I’ll stand with that decision as I know Mr Kendrick to be an honorable and kind man," Schilling wrote on Facebook. "Should that change it most certainly would be the Phillies. What Mr Henry and Mr Werner did to my family and I in my final year has been forgiven but will never be forgotten."
Last year, Arizona Republic columnist Kent Somers wrote that Schilling being elected to the Hall of Fame could put the Diamondbacks in a tough spot, especially if he were to go in representing Arizona.
He wrote: "I suspect the Diamondbacks and Red Sox, his most likely choices, aren’t anxious for Schilling to replace his MAGA hat with theirs. Nor would I think the Diamondbacks would be excited getting the 2001 championship team together for a 20-year reunion this summer, if that is even in the works. Schilling would be a party killer, but how could you invite everyone else and not him? Their worries would be over, at least for a year, if Schilling isn’t elected this year. But I don't like the odds."
He continued: "For the Diamondbacks, the lurking Schilling decision isn’t just about what is right. Business and politics likely will make it a close call for them. A good percentage of their fans lean conservative politically. A strong statement against Schilling’s view risks alienating some of them. Granted, such a statement isn't likely to come because owner Ken Kendrick and his wife Randy are conservatives, too, and have donated to conservative causes and candidates. But the Diamondbacks can’t afford to embrace Schilling, either, because even more people might decide to spend their entertainment dollars with a business that doesn't endorse intolerance. Patting Schilling on the back will be seen as that by some. The Diamondbacks’ silence seems a tacit acknowledgement that the organization is trying to walk a fine line to avoid offending anyone."
This is Schilling's last season on the ballot for voting done by the writers in the Baseball Writers Association of America.
He could still get in the Hall in the future if voted in by a group of former players that make up the Veterans' Committee.
In his Facebook post last season Schilling requested he be removed from Hall of Fame consideration in his final year of eligibility, writing that he would like to later have the chance to be selected by the Veterans' Committee.
"I wanted to reiterate this final point," he wrote. "I will not participate in the final year of voting. 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."
The Hall of Fame did not honor his request, putting him on the ballot again.
Which team Schilling represents in the Hall of Fame could end up being a moot point, however, at least for now.
With 49.2% of ballots known, Schilling is tracking on 61.1% of ballots, according to bbhoftracker.com.
David Ortiz, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are the only players currently tracking above the 75% threshold for induction, with Scott Rolen also ahead of Schilling at 69.4%.
The Hall of Fame is scheduled to announce its next class on Jan. 25, with inductions set for July 24.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Curt Schilling reiterates Baseball Hall of Fame team preference