Dawson, Blyleven, & The Hall of Fame.

Andre Dawson Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame.

It took him nine ballots over nine years to finally get there, but former Montreal Expo/Chicago Cub slugger Andre Dawson finally arrived as a selection for the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, He collected 420 votes from the 539 eligible voters of the Baseball Writers’ Association for 77.9%, or just over the 75% a candidate needs for selection according to the rules in place.

Coming close with no cigar in 2010 were 13-time nominee and former pitcher Bert Blyleven (400 votes/ 74.3%) and first time candidate and second baseman Robbie Alomar (397 votes/73.7%).

Dawson finished 15 votes over the minimum number of 405 votes he needed this year after falling 44 votes short of the mark in 2009. Blyleven fell 5 votes short of election after picking up 62 new votes this year over his 438 vote total in 2009.

What happened to bump these changes? Did the BWA electoral group  suddenly go through a wholesale change of actual voters who feel that much more positively about Dawson and Blyleven in 2010? Did the passage of another year’s time simply soften certain hearts in the wake of all the other bad news in the world about terrorism, bailouts, Ponzis, and health care? In a way, I can see that happening with some writers. “You know,” I can see some writer saying to himself or herself, “I can’t do much about all the lousy things that are going on in this crummy world, but I can sure do something about Andre Dawson out there twisting in the wind of the Hall of Fame vote all these years! I’m changing my vote in 2010 from no to yes!”

Could happen. There’s a certain “he’s suffered long enough” factor at play with candidates like Andre Dawson. It’s so big, in fact, that it almost dragenetted Bert “When do I get in?” Blyleven into the mix for 2010 as well.

Add to the voting climate the impact of last week’s Veterans’ Committee selection of manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey to the Hall of Fame as a factor affecting the BWA vote of Tuesday. After the Herzog/Harvey announcement, there had to have been some writers who thought: “Well, if they’re going to let those two bozos in the front door this year, there’s no way I can keep passing on Andre Dawson or Bert Blyleven!”

Andre Dawson subscribes to the old “cream rises” theory about his selection. Said Sir Andre, only one day ago: “If you’re a Hall of Famer, eventually you’re going to go in, no matter how long it takes.”

Dawson’s accomplishments as a hard-hitting right-handed outfielder may have entered into the mix of his selection somewhere too. In his twenty-one year career (1976-1996), Dawson had 438 home runs and 1,591 runs batted in. “The Hawk”, as he came to be known, earned the National League Rookie of the Year honors during his first full 1977 season at Montreal. Ten years later in Chicago, Dawson was picked as the NL Most Valuable Player, becoming the first member of a last place club to have earned such an honor. Along with Barry Bonds and Willie Mays, Andre Dawson is one of only three players to have combined 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases into a single career. He also played for Boston and Florida during his career, but he never made it with a club that qualified for the World Series.

Personally speaking, I’m happy to see that Andre Dawson finally satisfied the gauntlet runners who have been postponing his date with Hall of Fame destiny. Don’t bet on Bert Blyleven missing the cut again next year either. His time is finally nearing. Barring the sudden appearance of some Tiger Woods-like event in his personal life, Bert Blyleven will be selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011 by a comfortable margin.

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3 Responses to “Dawson, Blyleven, & The Hall of Fame.”

  1. Wayne Williams Says:

    Bill: I disagree with Dawson’s selection. A .279 hitter doesn’t belong in the HOF. Blyleven, however, should be there.

  2. Shirley Virdon Says:

    Bill, We were thrilled to see that Andre Dawson was elected to the Hall of Fame! He is a fine person and played 10 years on the turf in Montreal which ruined his knees——-In another park he may have had a lifetime .300 average! Congratulations to him!

    Shirley Virdon

    Happy New Year!

  3. Jonathan Goldstein Says:

    Both Blyleven and Dawson belong there. Personally, I write to various voters of the BBWAA to remind them as to how great these superstars are.
    One year a voter almost forgot to put Dawson on his ballot. He retrieved the ballot and fixed it. Go figure.

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