Yes, Curt Schilling should be in the Hall of Fame

Curt Schilling in better days. Photo (cc) 2007 by Andrew Malone.

We have a good discussion under way on Facebook about whether Curt Schilling should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. I say yes, even though he’s devolved into a terrible human being who’s mocked trans people and joked about journalists being murdered in the years since his playing days ended.

The argument against Schilling, one of the great post-season clutch pitchers, is that the Hall of Fame has a character clause, and there’s no doubt that the Schilling of today is someone of exceedingly poor character. But the clause should pertain to how he conducted himself as a player. Schilling always respected the game, unlike cheaters such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Pete Rose. With Clemens, it wasn’t just steroids; it was also his adolescent meltdown in the 1990 playoffs. Clemens was thrown out, and the Red Sox lost the game and the series. Of course, that probably would have happened anyway given Clemens’ miserable record in big games.

Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal wrote a terrific piece the other day about the man Schilling used to be before becoming a deranged right-wing extremist. I was particularly struck by McAdam’s account of Schilling’s leadership in awarding full shares of the team’s 2004 World Series money to low-paid clubhouse attendants and the like. Here’s how McAdam put it:

After the fact, I was told that Schilling was behind the gesture. (For those suspicious that Schilling was the source of this information, he was not). He argued that for the players, the difference between a full share of, say, $300,000 and $250,000 was minuscule, relatively speaking. But by including more non-players in the distribution of full shares, they could impact the lives of so many who didn’t make seven- and eight-figure annual salaries.

Indeed, some bought houses, paid off mortgages or paid tuition bills with that money. And indirectly, they have Schilling to thank.

None of us knows what happened to Schilling. Obviously something went haywire along the way. In some respects his Hall of Fame credentials are borderline, and we can only imagine the unhinged speech he’d give at Cooperstown if he were actually inducted. But that shouldn’t enter into it. He deserves a plaque.

What happens to the Globe and NESN?

No doubt many folks at the Boston Globe are breathing a sigh of relief at the news that its corporate parent, the New York Times Co., plans to unload its 17.5 percent stake in the Red Sox. The conflicts of interest have been many — not over game stories, but over various Red Sox business ventures the Globe has had to cover over the years.

But hold on. I thought the main reason the Times Co. made this investment was because of the Sox’ 80 percent ownership of New England Sports Network. Globe sportswriters have been all over NESN, and some — especially Bob Ryan — have been quite good.

I imagine NESN would still want Globe people on the air. But doesn’t this mean the end of Globe exclusivity? I suppose NESN and the Globe could sign some sort of agreement, but that’s not the same as ownership.

Among other things, it strikes me that Sean McAdam, formerly of the Providence Journal and now of the Boston Herald, is an accomplished on-air performer, and would fit right in at NESN.

More: Adam Reilly wonders the same thing that I did when I first read the story: Is the Globe really worth just $20 million? I think it’s a typo. This suggests the Globe is worth $120 million. Of course, that’s shocking enough, given that the Times Co. bought the Globe for $1.1 billion back in 1993.