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It's official. After 8 years of wondering and waiting the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) voted Andre Dawson into the Hall of Fame. Dawson, named on 77.9% of ballots (75% needed for election), was one of the NL's most feared hitters during his 21 year career.
21 year MLB career stats include: 1977 NL Rookie of the Year, 1987 NL MVP, 438 HR, 1591 RBI, .279 BA, 314 SB, 8 time All Star, 8 Gold Gloves.
Debates often rage when it comes to discussing future HOF candidates. Dawson's name was often debated as are many of this years nominee's who failed to garner enough votes (Blyleven, McGwire, Dale Murphy, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Tim Raines). For me, Dawson's selection was never about why or why not. It was only a question of when? The question has now been answered... 2010.
I was lucky enough to watch Dawson play live many times when his Expos and Cubs played at Shea Stadium. He was a gifted 5 tool player that did it all offensively and defensively playing hurt throughout most of his career. The only knock of his career was a relatively low on base percentage meaning he didn't walk enough (or made too many outs) for the naysayers. However, when he hit, he hit everything hard and was a big time clutch hitter when games were on the line. Defensively, his shot gun right arm not only cut runners down on the base path's but, they would often reconsider attempting to go for an extra base.
Andre Dawson was a man who simply loved to play the game. It wasn't about money as evidenced by his once signing a "blank contract" with the Chicago Cubs. He told Chicago to fill in any amount... he just wanted to play. Dallas Green filled in $500,000 (2nd lowest salary on Cubs) during a period when owners colluded against free agents. Dawson went onto win NL MVP honors posting a career season (49 HR, 137 RBI).
Today's headlines of Andre Dawson... the "Hawk"... finally landing where he belongs in the National Baseball Hall of Fame is great news. Perhaps, next year will finally be Bert Blyleven's turn.