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Dawson in the HOF: The Hawk Takes A Bite Out of the Steroid Era

Posted on January 06, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Andre Dawson finally earned induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his ninth year of eligibility.

Andre Dawson finally earned induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his ninth year of eligibility.

After a far longer than deserved wait due to the over-inflation of statistics during baseball’s “Steroid Era”, Andre “The Hawk” Dawson has finally earned his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dawson received 77.9% to eclipse the needed 75 percent mark and earn induction in his ninth year on the ballot.

The news was not as joyful for perennial bridesmaid Bert Blyleven or for first-time nominee Roberto Alomar as they both were tantalizingly close to earning induction. Blyleven earned 74.2% of the vote (five  votes short of induction) while Alomar received 73.7% (eight short).

Dawson will join former Chicago Cubs teammate Ryne Sandberg, who made a staunch case for Dawson’s selection during his own Hall of Fame induction in 2005. He also joins former Montreal Expos teammate Gary Carter as prominent former Expos in the Hall of Fame.

During his 21 major league seasons, Dawson hit 438 home runs, drove home 1,591 runs and stole 314 bases. He is one of only three players in major league history (Willie Mays and Barry Bonds are the others) with more than 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

Dawson began his career with the Expos and was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1977. He was a three-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove selection during his 11 seasons in Montreal. He also finished second in the NL MVP voting in both 1981 and 1983.

Dawson is one of only three players in baseball history with more than 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

Dawson is one of only three players in baseball history with more than 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

After moving to the Chicago Cubs in 1987, Dawson won the NL MVP Award while hitting a career-high 49 home runs and driving in 137 runs. He was named to the All-Star team five times during his six seasons in Chicago and eclipsed the 100 RBI mark three times.

He completed his career with two seasons in Boston and two with the Florida Marlins.

His career statistics would have likely earned him induction into the Hall of Fame without such a long wait had the beginning of his eligibility not coincided with the “Steroid Era” during which power statistics suddenly exploded. The fact that Dawson exceeded 30 home runs only three times in his career (he eclipsed 20 home runs 13 times) paled at a time when 30 and 40 home run seasons were suddenly common place and his lack of Hall of Fame support seemed to reflect that image.

However, over the last several years as the use of performance enhancing drugs has been exposed, the statistics of Dawson and other stars from his era have been reevaluated.

Last year former Red Sox slugger Jim Rice was finally selected for the Hall of Fame. The selection of Dawson this year is further indication that Hall of Fame voters now recognize that players like Dawson and Rice were special players and Hall of Fame worthy.

Dawson will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 25th, along with former manager Whitey Herzog and former umpire Doug Harvey, who were both selected by the Veterans Committee in December.


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