The clock on Curt Schilling's Baseball Hall of Fame candidacy ticked closer to midnight Tuesday.
While Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina all made the cut for 2019, Schilling received 60.9 percent of votes, well short of the 75 percent threshold needed to reach the Hall.
It's Schilling's seventh year on the ballot, which means he has just three more years of eligibility. But Tuesday's results suggest the former Boston Red Sox pitcher should make it as soon as next year.
That's what Bob Costas believes. The MLB Network analyst long has supported Schilling's candidacy and made this definitive statement Tuesday night, via Boston.com:
"Curt Schilling took a significant jump. He should have been in on the first ballot. The other considerations are not relevant. Curt Schilling is on his way to the Hall of Fame."
Schilling's politics and poor business decisions have earned him plenty of criticism. But his baseball résumé holds up: six All-Star appearances, three World Series titles and a career 3.46 ERA over 20 MLB seasons spent mostly with the Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Red Sox.
If you compare those numbers with Mussina's -- five All-Star nods, zero World Series titles and a 3.68 career ERA over 18 MLB seasons -- Schilling certainly seems worthy.
But let's forget stats for a second to look at Hall of Fame voter trends.
Schilling has seen a 15.9 percent increase in votes over the last three years: from 45.0 percent in 2017 to 51.2 percent in 2018 to 60.9 this season.
Here's how many votes Mussina and Martinez (the two non-first-ballot Hall of Famers in the 2019 class) received in the previous three seasons, followed by the votes they received this year:
43.0 percent in 2016
51.8 percent in 2017
63.5 percent in 2018
76.7 percent in 2019
43.4 percent in 2016
58.6 percent in 2017
70.4 percent in 2018
85.4 percent in 2019
Schilling is pretty much right on the same track as Mussina (albeit a year behind), and if he continues that trend should receive right around 75 percent of votes in 2020. Considering he was the leading vote-getter among non-Hall of Famers this year, it seems very likely Schilling becomes the 12th Red Sox player to earn a place in Cooperstown.
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