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Dawson gets 50 percent of vote
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01/06/2004 5:45 PM ET
Dawson gets 50 percent of vote
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The third time was not the charm for Andre Dawson, who failed to gain entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility. He finished sixth in the voting Tuesday behind Paul Molitor, Dennis Eckersley, Ryne Sandberg, Bruce Sutter and Jim Rice.

Dawson, 49, received 253 votes (50 percent), while Molitor and Eckersley were voted into Cooperstown. A player must receive 75 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America to gain entry into the Hall of Fame.

Last year, Dawson placed fifth in the voting while Eddie Murray and former Montreal Expos teammate Gary Carter were voted into Cooperstown.

In his first year of eligibility, Dawson placed fifth and received 214 votes (45 percent), while shortstop Ozzie Smith was voted into the Hall.

"The only thing, I guess, I can imagine now is that maybe I'm good enough to be on the ballot but not good enough to be in the Hall," said Dawson, who works for the Marlins as a special assistant to the president.

If one looks at Dawson's accomplishments as a Major League player, one has to wonder what he must do to be voted in.

Dawson did more than just put in his years in baseball. From 1976-96, Dawson was an all-around player, and the stats and awards back it up.

As a member of the Montreal Expos in 1977, he captured Rookie of the Year honors by hitting .282 with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs.

He is also one of become one of four players -- Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonds are the others -- to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases in a career.

And despite suffering from bad knees for most of his career, Dawson won eight Gold Gloves while patrolling center field for the Expos and right field for the Chicago Cubs.

Dawson's best season was with the Cubs in 1987, when he hit .287 with 49 home runs and 137 RBIs. The Baseball Writers' Association of America recognized his performance by voting him the National League Most Valuable Player. In fact, Dawson is the last National Leaguer to win the MVP while playing on a last-place team.

"To me, if you are a writer and you have that privilege of voting, you should know exactly what a player has done and what warrants whether or not he is a Hall of Famer," Dawson said.

Dawson said he has heard several reasons why he has not been voted into Cooperstown: not appearing in enough postseasons and having a low batting average and a low on-base percentage. Dawson made two postseason appearances and finished with a .279 batting average and a .323 on-base percentage.

But Dawson said the writers fail to realize he was a five-tool player -- he hit for average, he hit with power, and he ran, fielded and threw well.

"I was a consistent player. One guy said that I had only one monster year, but I was a consistent player. I did it on both sides of the field, not just one," he said.

Though he congratulated Molitor and Eckersley for being elected into Cooperstown, Dawson also said the criteria for being elected should change, noting that Molitor spent part of his career as a designated hitter.

"Well, I tell you one thing for certain: The writers are going to have to change the criteria for getting in if you put in a guy that was primarily a designated hitter, and then you have a tendency to knock other designated hitters that have had fine careers.

"Molitor and Eckersley had exceptional careers. They deserve to be in, but who is to say that you can only put a couple of players in a year?"

Dawson never sought the limelight during his career and is not going to promote himself in order to be elected.

"That's not my style. I'm very low key in that regard, and I don't feel that [promoting oneself] is necessary," Dawson said. "That's why I feel you are judged by what you do out on the field. If that's not good enough, so be it. I tried to let my ability speak for itself."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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