Congratulations, Andre Dawson.
Finally, in your ninth year of eligibility, you will be taking your rightful place amongst the baseball greats in Cooperstown.
What should be a day of celebration for anyone who loves baseball once again has turned into a day of debate and disappointment. Well, unless of course you're Andre Dawson.
Dawson was a deserving and long overdue selection for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. Few, if any, question the merit of his induction, as "Hawk" was one of the most complete players to ever roam an outfield.
As good as Dawson's induction is, the fact that he will be the only former player inducted by the writers this year is an absolute joke.
In what many baseball loyalists considered an "off year" in terms of the list of first time players eligible, this could have been the year the writers corrected many of the oversights they've made over the past several years.
Instead the writers, many of which have questioned the fans ability to select MLB's annual All Star teams, have proven their own ineptitude by once again leaving overwhelmingly deserving players off of their ballots.
Once again Bert Blyleven—a pitcher with more career wins than Bob Gibson, more career strikeouts than Walter Johnson, and only one less career shutout than Tom Seaver—was denied induction, despite an ever-growing outcry for his enshrinement from the baseball community.
Blyleven, in his 13th year of eligibility, fell only five votes shy of induction in a year that many considered to be his best shot at induction by the baseball writers.
Of the first timers, all three favorites for induction—Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, and Edgar Martinez were denied entry into baseball's holy land.
Edgar Martinez, one of the best pure hitters during his playing days, won two batting titles as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
He spent much of his career as a designated hitter—a fact that probably kept many voters from voting for him—but revolutionized the position so much so that the award given to the outstanding DH of the year is named after him.
Barry Larkin was one of the most dominant shortstops in the game during his era, period.
While Cal Ripken's performance at the plate and in the field cast a huge shadow over every other shortstop that played during the 1980's and 1990's, Larkin was still able to garner recognition as the NL's best all-around shortstop, and arguably second only to Ripken in the entire sport.
Spending his entire career in a Reds uniform, Larkin is one of only four shortstops to win a National League MVP award, and one of only nine shortstops in the history of baseball to win both a World Series ring and a league MVP award.
The fact that Roberto Alomar did not get in today is an absolute joke.
Alomar was the most dominant second baseman, at the plate and in the field, during his playing days. He collected 2,724 hits, 504 doubles, scored 1,508 runs, stole 474 bases, and finished his 17 year career with a .300 batting average.
Alomar, who some have called the greatest defensive second baseman ever, won 10 Gold Glove awards at the position (more than anyone else), and won two World Series rings with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Basically, Roberto Alomar was consider by many to be a jerk, and it may have cost him some votes, something the baseball writers have been known to do in the past (just ask Jim Rice and Albert Belle).
His infamous spitting incident while with the Orioles, and the controversies surrounding his sudden retirement and post-career personal life have painted a less than desirable portrait of the former great.
It's the only explanation for leaving arguably the greatest second baseman ever out of Cooperstown. If Jeff Kent gets in on his first try after Alomar didn't it will further prove what a farce this year's voting was.
All in all, while the writers finally got it right with their election of Andre Dawson to the Hall of Fame, there is so much wrong with who they left out. Blyleven, Larkin, and Alomar should all be celebrating with Dawson today instead of waiting until next January for their shot at baseball immortality.
Once again, the writers got it wrong, and once again this day has become more about the BWAA than about the players.
It makes one wonder if the writers purposely keep it that way.