Do Andre Dawson and Jim Rice Deserve To Be Inducted into the HOF?

joel kirsteinCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2008

Two of the top outfielders on the 1970s & the 1980s, Andre Dawson and Jim Rice, await the word from the Baseball Hall of Fame if they are the next inductees to join baseball's pantheon of immortals.

Rice a .298 career hitter with 382 home runs and 1,451 RBIs over 16 seasons, all with the Boston Red Sox, Rice had four seasons of more than 200 hits, led the American League in home runs three times and RBI twice, and was the A.L. MVP in 1978. Rice is in his final year of eligibility by the BBWA.

If Rice doesn't make the cut this year, it will then go to the veteran's committee.

In 21 big-league seasons, beginning in 1976 with the Montreal Expos, Dawson batted .279 with 438 home runs, 1,591 RBI and stole 314 bases. Dawson was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1977 and won the N.L. Most Valuable Player Award in 1987, his first season with the Chicago Cubs, when he hit .287 and led the league with 49 home runs and 137 RBI.

Dawson is 24th all-time in RBI, 32nd all-time in home runs, and 21st in extra-base hits. The Hawk is one of six players to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases. He's the only eligible player with more than 1,000 career extra-base hits who is not in the Hall of Fame.

An eight-time Gold Glove winner and eight-time All-Star, Dawson was named N.L. Player of the Year by The Sporting News in 1981 and '87. He totaled 100 RBI four times, 20-plus homers 13 times, and 30-plus doubles five times. How feared of a hitter was he?

On May 22, 1990, the Cincinnati Reds intentionally walked Dawson five times in a 16-inning game.

I vote for the Hawk. If the old school standards are the benchmark for induction, then Andre Dawson deserves to get into the HOF. Imagine what he would have accomplished had he not been hampered by horrendous, chronic knee injuries caused by playing on the wretched AstroTurf of the Big Owe!