The Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted this morning to approve a resolution in which, starting in 2013, all players that have contracts which include financial terms that are attached to a major awards will not be eligible for consideration for that award. The “Schilling rule” resolution stems from Curt Schilling’s new contract, which includes a $1M bonus for the Sox righthander if he gets at least one Cy Young vote in 2008. The BBWAA appointed a committee to discuss the rule with the commissioner’s office and the players’ association.
“Give me a break,” wrote Schilling. “Don’t get me wrong, 100k, 500k, 1 million dollars is a huge sum of money. But to think that these guys ever approached this as anything other than them being touted as the ‘experts’ on who wins what is crap. Add to that I seriously doubt anyone ever looked at this from a perception standpoint and thought wow, they are making this guy rich. I would disagree.
“The only step that hasn’t happened yet is to stop them from voting on awards altogether. They shouldn’t do it. Anytime someone is allowed to vote on this, on the Hall of Fame ballot, and that person injects personal bias into their vote, they should lose the privelage (sic).”
Schilling offered his opinion on various members of the baseball media and suggested that personal agendas are involved when it comes to voting on awards and “writers should have zero say in who wins what.”
“Trust me, after a year or two award bonuses became totally meaningless to me because I felt that the size of the contract was always the ‘reward’ for winning those awards,” Schilling wrote. “They were paying me to win them anyway. I never turned them down because they became and are now a standard part of a contract. The cool thing is that Theo and I managed to turn the bonuses in the last two contracts into things benefitting (sic) Shade and ALS, so it was a win win if it happened.”
BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell spoke about the issues surrounding the awards voting today as well. “When we first started giving out these awards it was just to honor somebody. You got a trophy, there was no monetary reward that went with it,” O’Connell said. “I honestly don’t think people vote with that in mind. But the attachment of a bonus to these awards creates a perception that we’re trying to make these guys rich.”
“We’ve been on record for the past 20 years as being opposed to bonus clauses related to these awards,” O’Connell said. “The idea behind this was to toughen our stance against these clauses.”
“The Schilling thing is disturbing because he doesn’t even have to win,” said O’Connell, noting that Schilling joked about a kickback to the voter if he collected the bonus. “That’s something that none of us finds very funny.”
Many veterans have award clauses in their contracts, some for honors bestowed by The Sporting News and Baseball America, others for postseason awards given by Major League Baseball, such as World Series MVP. Some are small — at least relative to the multimillion salaries — but others are worth millions. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez earned a $1.5 million bonus for winning the AL MVP in 2007.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this update.