Allow me to begin by making one statement: By no means did I write this as a catalyst for controversy or out of a lack of respect for Dawson. This is just one side to the induction of Dawson. After all, life is better when you look at both sides of things.
Andre Dawson was the key figure of the 2010 induction class to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, last Sunday. He played for 21 seasons with the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox, and Marlins. "The Hawk" hit 438 home runs, batted .279, and drove in 1,591 runs.
While his induction was a relief to many, others do not think that he should have a plaque enshrined in Cooperstown. Here are 10 reasons to support that idea.
Following recent inductees, such as Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken, Jr., Wade Boggs, and Goose Gossage, Cooperstown was bound for a down year.
With names like Dawson, Roberto Alomar, Jack Morris, Barry Larkin, and Edgar Martinez on the list, Andre was selected out of a weaker group. Had it been another star-filled class, Dawson may have been passed up again.
He nor Whitey Herzog or Doug Harvey will be the main attractions of visitors in years to come—someone had to make it.
Most position players that are members of the Hall of Fame were known for one of three things: power, speed, or average. There are the Reggie Jacksons, the Rickey Hendersons, and the George Sislers.
Andre Dawson does not come to mind as one of the all-time standouts in any of these categories. His speed was only a factor at the beginning of his career, with three 30 stolen base seasons in Montreal. He only had a .279 average, nothing special. While 438 dingers is nothing to ignore, others, such as Dave Kingman and Fred McGriff, tallied more than that and are not in Cooperstown.
If it weren't for one of the least-deserved MVP awards in history, Dawson probably would not have been elected.
Without that award, his career wouldn't have been as recognizable. He never again hit 40 homers, only hitting 30 two other times. His average was below average for a HoFer.
As for the undeserved MVP? Tony Gwynn hit .370 that season; the next-closest contender was at .338. Though Dawson led the NL in home runs, he trailed in slugging, OPS, hits, and walks. He did not excel in any category beside home runs, RBI, and total bases. There were plenty of other candidates.
Without the award, he probably would have missed the cut again.
According to www.baseball-reference.com, Dave Parker, Harold Baines, and Reggie Smith had careers similar to Dawson's.
Parker had a higher average and 100 fewer home runs, also winning an MVP award. Unlike Dawson, he reached the World Series three times, winning twice.
Baines put up numbers similar to Parker's, and Reggie Smith was comparable with Dawson for a large part of The Hawk's career.
Where are these guys? Surely not in Cooperstown.
Dawson only reached the postseason twice and performed poorly both times.
He failed to come up big in the 1981 NLCS with the Expos, going three for 20 with no RBI in a loss at the hands of the Dodgers.
In 1989 with the Cubs, he notched only two hits in 19 at-bats, striking out six times in five games in another series loss. He finished his playoff career a .189 hitter with no home runs and only three RBI and three GIDP's.
In a time when legends are made, Dawson swung and missed.
Throughout his induction speech, Dawson made references to "being clean" and not using PEDs. He brought up a topic that most have gotten tired of and do not talk about anymore.
But it made me think: On a ballot with Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, star sluggers who admitted to using steroids, Dawson, who was a clean player, was elected.
The stars who have used steroids are not getting elected, and the borderline Hall of Famers are. This has to be some sort of statement from the voters to the Bash Brothers and current and future players.
Are we rewarding players for simply following the rules?
This slide is more of a case for Bert Blyleven, the greatest player ever to not be in the Hall of Fame.
In his 13th season on the ballot, he was a mere five votes short of the cut, the fifth smallest margin in history. Each player has a maximum of 15 years on the ballot.
It's difficult to see how he hasn't been elected. Apparently, his 4,970 innings pitched (14th all-time), 60 shutouts (ninth), and 287 wins (27th) aren't good enough to convince five voters, which is a surprise.
A big-time jokester, Bert also won two World Series, with Pittsburgh in 1979 and Minnesota, his primary team, in 1987.
As previously mentioned, Dawson's teams only reached the postseason twice. His teams finished in the bottom half of the league 13 times in his 21 seasons.
While his teams may not have been the greatest, there was talent on many of those teams. Stars have to pick their teams up and take them to the playoffs and beyond.
To be elected into the Hall of Fame, the player must be named on 75 percent of BBWAA ballots. After receiving under 50 percent in 2002, Dawson waited eight more years for the phone call to tell him that he is a marginal Hall of Fame selection.
With 77.9 percent passing, Dawson was given the honor. So he now shares the hallowed halls with Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, and all the other legends.
With his induction, I have heard radio and TV analysts call for a separate wing in the Hall of Fame, which is crowded enough already. They want the greats in one area and the Rabbit Maranvilles and Andre Dawsons in another.
Once again, that's their idea, not mine.
But the fact that it took him nine years to just past the minimum makes me wonder why his plaque is up there with Lou Gehrig's and Connie Mack's.
If you put Alomar's and Dawson's stats side by side without knowing their names, most people would say Alomar had the better career.
Roberto made 12 consecutive All-Star appearances from 1990 through 2001. He finished his career with a .300 batting average and stole 478 bases, both better than The Hawk. His OBP was .372, almost 40 points higher. He wasn't a power guy but still knocked in over 1,000 runs and scored 1,508.
Though I'm sure Alomar will make it in eventually, most likely next year, I don't see how voters could put in Andre Dawson and pass up on Alomar.
Regardless of the points brought up against Andre Dawson in this article, he was still a great player. He captured the hearts of fans everywhere, particularly in the friendly confines of Chicago. His love for the game is not surpassed by any individual.
Andre is now a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
What do you think?
There's not much else for me to say except...
Congratulations, Andre Dawson, Whitey Herzog, and Doug Harvey.