© 2005 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
01/04/05 2:07 PM EST
Dawson denied entry to Hall
Star outfielder falls short in fourth year of eligibility
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
During his 21-year career, Andre Dawson was considered one of the best all-around athletes to ever play the game of baseball, but that hasn't helped him gain entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In his fourth year of eligibility, Dawson finished sixth in the voting announced Tuesday behind Wade Boggs, Ryne Sandberg, Bruce Sutter, Jim Rice and Goose Gossage.
Dawson, who currently works for the Marlins as a special assistant to the president, received 270 votes (52.3 percent), while Boggs and Sandberg 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 received 253 votes (50 percent), while Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley were voted into Cooperstown. Dawson also placed fifth in the voting in his first and second years of eligibility.
Dawson was not available to comment, but former Expos teammate Warren Cromartie said he is happy that Dawson received more votes than the previous year. Cromartie also believes Dawson will eventually be voted in to the Hall of Fame.
"Tony Perez had his moments of waiting [to get into Cooperstown] and so did Gary Carter," Cromartie said. "I think Andre will eventually get in within a year or two. He's a patient person. He will look at it as something positive. When Andre gets into the Hall of Fame, I'll be in the front row crying my tears."
Former Expos general manager/manager Jim Fanning said he doesn't buy the theory that playing in a small market such as Montreal hurt Dawson's chances of being a Hall of Famer.
"Andre played in two leagues. He was totally exposed to every single writer in the world. I would think that would help him get into the Hall of Fame," Fanning said. "He went from the Expos club to Chicago and had some great seasons. Then he went to Boston and went on the American League stage. He made all those All-Star games. He was seen by everybody."
Dawson did more than just put in his years in baseball. As a member of the Expos in 1977, he captured Rookie of the Year honors by hitting .282 with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs. He went on to 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 Cubs.
"There were days when I would sit next to him on the bench and he would rub his knees. They were aching so bad," Cromartie said. "There were a couple of times I wanted to go to the front office, the manager and training people and tell them that Andre is hurting. But he would say, 'No. I don't want them to think I'm complaining or anything like that. I will just go out there and do my thing.' "
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.
"Andre was such a talented Major League player. He had all the tools," Fanning said. "His offensive ability was just tremendous. He was an outstanding fielder. This guy had everything."
| 2005 Hall of Fame
The complete vote (516 ballots, 387 to gain election, 26 to remain on ballot):
Wade, Ryno are Hall choices
No doubts about Class of 2005
Boggs hits his way to the Hall
Ryno charges into Hall of Fame
Red Sox lavish praise on Boggs
Rays react to Boggs Hall call
From Beantown to Bronx to Hall
Sutter closing in on Hall of Fame
Boggs is fans' favorite to make Hall
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.