Ever since he retired from baseball and the Red Sox, pitcher Curt Schilling has been known for calling into local radio shows and getting people’s blood boiling with outlandish, but often well-founded, comments.
But Wednesday night on Conan, Schilling incited rage among a national (and probably international) audience with his comments that Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and former Red Sox ace Roger Clemens don’t deserve to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame because of their ties to steroids.
“If you cheated, you’re done,” said Schilling of some of the biggest names in baseball over the past 20 years.
Schilling, who helped propel the Red Sox to their first World Series victory in 86 years on the strength of a few carefully-placed sutures in his right ankle back in 2004, won three World Series titles in his career – two with Boston and one with Arizona in 2001, when he and Randy Johnson were named co-MVPs.
“I think you get rid of [their records],” Schilling continued when pressed by O’Brien. “If characters and morals don’t matter, then I’m not sure what it stands for.”
Schilling finished his career 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts, the third-most strikeouts in Major League Baseball history. Among those with 3,000 career strikeouts, only Schilling, former Red Sox ace and teammate Pedro Martinez as well as Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux reached the milestone before accumulating 1,000 walks.
Schilling’s contentious fallout with the Red Sox stemmed from a number of issues, both injury-related and contract-related. After the 2007 season, he signed a one-year deal with Boston, but was discovered to have a cornucopia of injuries to his throwing arm and throwing shoulder that kept him from ever throwing another pitch.
Schilling retired in March of 2009, and is eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2013, along with Bonds, Sosa and Clemens.
Hall of Fame voting takes place in December of each year, with inductees being announced the following January.