I never had the case in 10+ years that an micro-controller had been damaged by having a pin short-circuited, so even if it's not specified on the datasheet there are some sort of current limiting protection.
However, if you do so, you will operate outside the specification of the chip, and as a result you might en up with some unexpected behavior, strange bug/issue or the chip not working at all.
It will also cause the chip to heat up and might reduce the lifetime.
It is just better to keep the resistor, use the chip within its specified range and have a "proper" design and not play with the devil.
If you want to remove the resistor, you can use a N-MOSFET, which is basically a voltage controlled BJT, so you don't need any resistor on the gate. You need to find a mosfet with a gate threshold voltage low enough so that it can fully switch at 3.3V (or whatever voltage is your chip at).