Finally!After 9 years of eligibility, Andre Dawson is elected to the Hall of Fame. Why it took so long to elect the man known as "The Hawk" is a mystery to many of us who follow baseball. But nonetheless, today Dawson received 77.9% of the votes (75% is required for induction) and thus became the newest member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Dawson was the only player selected by the BBWAA in this year's election.
Perhaps no one said it better than former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg during his own induction speech in 2005.
Of Dawson, Sandberg said--
"No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson. He's the best I've ever seen. I watched him win an MVP for a last-place team in 1987 (with the Cubs), and it was the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen in baseball. He did it the right way, the natural way, and he did it in the field and on the bases and in every way, and I hope he will stand up here someday."
Well Ryno, your wish came true today. Congratulations, Andre Dawson!
....And then there's Bert.
As in Bert Blyleven, who received 74.2% of the vote. Ouch! I know Blyleven must be in the doldrums today. Another measly 0.80% would have gotten him in also. The good news for him is, he's a lock to go in next year. The bad news is he's gonna have to wait it out yet another year.
As for my two cents--
There is no doubt in my mind Blyleven deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I've heard every possible criticism about Blyleven and to me its all hogwash. The man was a pitching machine. Aside from his 287 wins, 3701 strike outs, 60 shutouts-- the number that jumps out at me, believe it or not, is his 250 losses.
As strange as it may sound, it takes a one of a kind pitcher to lose 250 games in the major leagues. Only 10 pitchers in history have been able to do it. On the other hand, 46 pitchers have won at least 250 games. So its much harder to lose 250 than it is to win 250.
So my advice to the 0.80% of the BBWAA voters (which Blyleven needs to put him over the 75% mark)-- go look at the list of pitchers who have lost 250 games. 8 out of the 10 are in the Hall of Fame. Some of the names on the list include, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro and Gaylord Perry.
Losing is never good but if you lose that many, it means you hung around for a long time and you must have done something right. And by the names on the list, it takes an immortal to lose that many games. If I'm Blyleven, I'd feel proud knowing I did something only the greatest pitchers ever have been able to do.
Photos courtesy of espn.com
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com
For everything Andre Dawson go to hawk4thehall.blogspot.com