Thursday, January 7, 2010

Congratulations Andre Dawson

Congratulations to the new Baseball Hall-of-Famers. Yesterday, Andre Dawson was the only player selected by the Baseball Writers Association of America. A month ago, the Hall's Committee on Veterans selected Whitey Herzog, one of the top managers of the 1970s and '80s, and Doug Harvey, easily the most respected living umpire -- and now the only living ump in the Hall.

Dawson should have been an easy choice: From 1977 to 1992, he was one of the very best players in the game. He hit 438 homers despite playing half his career in the cavernous Montreal Olympic Stadium, collected 2,774 hits, and won 8 Gold Gloves despite knees that got hammered on the Big O's hard turf.

If he'd played his whole career with the Cubs, under the Chicago media spotlight, rather than just 6 seasons, he'd be in, just like 1960s-70s Cub left fielder Billy Williams, whom says is the player most statistically resembling Andre, and who had fewer homers and hits, and has hardly anyone questioning the justice of his election.

Bert Blyleven just missed -- again. I'm sorry, is 287 wins, 3,701 strikeouts, and two World Series rings, while playing a big chunk of your career for weak teams in Minnesota and Texas not good enough? It is good enough.

Roberto Alomar just missed, in his 1st year of eligibility. Mike Francesca of WFAN says Alomar is "a no-brainer" for the Hall of Fame. No, he's not. His Met years may have doomed him. Let's not think he was on the same level as HOF 2nd basemen like Joe Morgan and Ryne Sandberg. He wasn't, even at his best. And that's got nothing to do with his 1996 spitting incident, for which even the aggrieved party, umpire John Hirschbeck, has long ago forgiven him.

Mark McGwire: Up to 23 percent in his 3rd year of eligibility. Forget it.

I saw Andre Dawson hit 2 home runs, and they were both blasts: In 1991, to center field at Shea Stadium for the Cubs against the Mets, as the 2nd half of 10th inning back-to-backs with Sandberg that gave the Cubs a win; and in 1994, over the Green Monster at Fenway Park for the Red Sox against the Blue Jays, a grand slam that gave the Sox a lead they would not relinquish.

He was superbly talented, a team player, class all the way, and this honor is overdue. Congratulations, Hawk.

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