Andre Dawson only inductee to Baseball Hall of Fame
The Hawk is Hall-bound.
In somewhat surprising voting results announced Wednesdayby the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Andre Dawson was this year's lone inductee to the Hall of Fame.
One year after narrowly missing, Dawson, an eight-time Gold Glove winner in the outfield and an eight-time All-Star, was elected, listed on 77.9 percent of the ballots in his ninth year of eligibility. He came in at 67 percent last season, 44 votes shy of the 75 percent needed for election.
"It was well worth the wait," Dawson said on a conference call. "I can't describe the elation me and my family experienced when I got that call."
Blyleven is still waiting for his. In his 13th time on the ballot, he received 400 votes (74.2 percent), five short of what he needed. Blyleven, who ranks fifth in career strikeouts with 3,701 and has two years of eligibility left on the writers' ballot, finished 67 votes short last year.
"The writers are finally getting it," Blyleven told The Associated Press. "Hopefully, this will lead to getting over that hurdle next year."
Roberto Alomar, in what was the day's biggest surprise, was eight votes shy, earning 397 votes (73.7 percent), the most for a first-year candidate who was not elected.
"One of the best second basemen I ever saw play the game," Dawson said of Alomar, whose rejection in many ways turned out to be the day's bigger story.
It was not immediately clear if voters held Alomar's spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck in 1996 against him. His high first-time vote total does suggest, however, that he's almost assured of being elected next year.
Hirschbeck never held the incident against Alomar as the two later became, and remain, friends. The umpire repeatedly endorsed Alomar's candidacy before the vote.
Mark McGwire received 10 more votes than he did last year but still came in at only 23.7 percent, the fourth straight year he's fallen short of 25 percent.
Coming in after the top three were pitcher Jack Morris, named on 52.3 percent of the ballots; shortstop Barry Larkin (51.6), a first-timer; followed by reliever Lee Smith (47.3) and Edgar Martinez (36.2), the first player to appear on the ballot who spent much of his career as a designated hitter.
Dawson, nicknamed "the Hawk," was the NL Rookie of the Year with the Expos in 1977 and NL MVP in 1987 with the Cubs. Despite knees that required 12 surgeries, he hit .279 in his career and showed a rare combination of power and speed - 438 home runs, 1,591 RBIs and 314 stolen bases. Only two other players, Willie Mays and Barry Bonds, ended up with more than 400 homers and 300 steals.
"No, I never really gave up hope," Dawson said of the phone call that never came in previous years.
Players can remain on the ballot for up to 15 years as long as they get 5 percent of the vote in any year.
The first-year candidates who received enough votes to stay on the ballot, other than Alomar, were Larkin, Martinez and first baseman Fred McGriff (21.5 percent). Other holdovers are Morris, Smith, McGwire, Don Mattingly (16.1), shortstop Alan Trammell (22.4), outfielder-DH Harold Baines (6.1) and outfielders Tim Raines (30.4), Dave Parker (15.2) and Dale Murphy (11.7).