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Andre Dawson inducted to the Hall of Fame: Beyond that? Epic Failure

Jan 6, 2010, 2:09 PM EDT

Hall of Fame logo.GIFThe votes have been counted and Andre Dawson is the only candidate to get elected to the Hall of Fame. This is an epic fail on the part of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Bert Blyleven received 74.2 percent. Barry Larkin 51.6. Alomar 73.7.  All three of them deserved entrance.  Larkin and Alomar no doubt will soon.  Based on the mental gymnastics so many voters have made to exclude Blyleven, however, he may never make it. This has to be a bitter pill for him to swallow.

As for Andre Dawson, the Hawk may not have been everyone’s definition of a Hall of Famer due to his low on-base percentage — in fact, he now has the lowest OBP and batting average of any Hall of Fame outfielder — but he hit for power, had a cannon arm, and until the Olympic Stadium turf took its toll on his knees, he was an excellent centerfielder.  He won an MVP award in 1987 on the power of a then unfathomable 49 home runs. A quiet, dignified player in his career and since he retired, Andre Dawson’s statistics may not dazzle compared to other Hall of Famers, but he definitely classes the place up.

But I don’t think it takes away from Dawson’s honor to note that, objectively speaking, he was perhaps the least deserving of enshrinement thank Larkin, Alomar and Blyleven.

We’ll have more on this as the day goes on, of course.  For now: shame on you BBWAA. Shame on you.

  1. jtbwriter - Jan 6, 2010 at 11:10 PM

    Once again the HOF voters mess up the chance to let in athletes who made a difference-players like Blyleven and Larkin who have set standards of excellence. And yes….McGwire-who was not a “one trick pony” like some no-talent labeled him-but who hit for power for more years then the writers IQ-he deserves better! It’s now time for a total revamp of an organization who is run by egos and know it alls-not experts! Only Andre Dawson? What a joke!

  2. The D - Jan 7, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    Ha ha, Albert Belle was amazing, I loved him. He is a Hall Of Famer, but only if goes by Joey! :) Everybody remember when Belle and Juan Gone were the most feared sluggers in the AL?!
    Yes, Blyleven is a HOFer, I just watched Hot Stove on MLBN, I love the network, I love the show, but OMG, Jon Heyman! “He is in the top 2% of all-time players, but only the top 1% belong in the HOF” …How is a player who is in the Top 5 in any (positive) stat not in the top 1%?! We all know Blyleven ranks 5th all-time in Ks right?
    I dont totally agree with Dawson, but I dont really have a good argument against him. He was a great player, OBP not great, but solid power, great D, and the 400 HR, 300 SB club is kinda cool.
    [I’m not even gonna debate with the anti-Alomar crowd, because, um, I dont know, he’s the best 2B all-time.
    Arguments against Barry Bonds aside, how cool is 500/500?
    Also, arguments against Pete Rose aside, because you are simply wrong.]

  3. jimmy - Jan 7, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    For all of you who do not think Larkin is worthy, I really don’t think you understand the game of baseball. Larkin was overshawdowed for at least half of his career by Ozzie. It wasn’t until Ozzie retired that Larkin got some ink. I remember a poll back in the early to mid 90’s, baseball managers were asked who would they start they club with and Larkin was the hands down winner. He simply played the game the way it was meant to be played at a HOF level. He was Jeter before there was Jeter. Without Larkin the Reds would not have won a World Series or been anywhere near as good without him. He always moved the runner over (hitting behind), bunted, took the extra base, etc. He was the ultimate teammate and team player. His stats certainly are worthy or very close. Above all his leadership for the Reds was unmatched and priceless. I watched his entire career and for my money one of the greatest players I have ever watched over the last 20 years+. He is one of the few players where stats do not come close to telling the whole story.

  4. jimmy - Jan 7, 2010 at 3:25 AM

    same goes for Larkin, small market. I can’t even imagine if Larkin had played in NY. Paul O’neil went over to the Yankees later in his career from the Reds and was revered and he wasn’t even that good; a gamer though. Larkin was an amazing player from A-Z, forgot about just stats and the HOF. He will be elected in either 2011 or 2012. He wasn’t one of the players who went after stats, he played to win.

  5. spiro - Jan 7, 2010 at 3:37 AM

    There’s no such thing as players whose “stats don’t tell the whole story.” Stats are the only story there is. Luckily for Larkin, his stats more than justify a HOF vote.

  6. david - Jan 7, 2010 at 8:27 AM

    For everyone who says Bert was a #2 or #3 pitcher, please tell me who was the #1 pitcher on those Twins teams? I don’t mean your 70’s fantasy team where you have Palmer, Seaver, then Bert. I mean on the actual Minnesota Twins.

  7. Mike - Jan 7, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    To make a statement such as “bow out” after 13 tries — what’s driving the “13 tries”? A bunch of sanctimonious writers who couldn’t perform on the field so they write about it. It’s not Bert’s issue it has taken 13 tries. His numbers speak for themselves. I love Dawson, but his numbers do not make the case.

  8. Stan - Jan 7, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    Does any one have a list of the writers who vote for Hall of Fame?

  9. SteveSmith - Jan 7, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    Wasn’t 1987 the same year a red-headed ROOKIE from the A’s also hit a “quasi-unfathomable” 49 long bombs? I think that was the year everyone thought the ball was juiced, because even Wade Boggs hit 24 that year.

  10. Materialman - Jan 7, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    The Hall of Fame should be reserved for baseball’s very best, or great players. Dawson, Alomar, Blyleven were good ballplayers, no question, but “great” players? In my opinion, no.

  11. ryan redimarker - Jan 7, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    “Dawson didn’t walk once and became a mediocre outfilder quickly,”
    How the hell do you win eight gold gloves and fade quickly? Get with it.

  12. s grove - Jan 7, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Agree very much with Rick D. People haven’t forgotten the spitting incident.

  13. bob - Jan 7, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Andre Dawson is a class act. When we lived in Chicagoland in the 80’s I would get 3 tickets to the Cubs right on the third base dugout. The fourth ticket belonged to the ticket holder’s older retarded brother. The only catch was that we had to buy him hotdogs and a coke, happy to do it. He sat there dressed in his Andy Frain outfit with a non-functioning walkie-talkie enjoying the game and talking with all the players. The Hawk carried on a long conversation with him…I had the feeling that is was the same conversation he had with him everyday. The same thing happened the following year, Dawson would take time out to talk to this man, making him feel special….probably every day, while the other palyers barley acknowledged him. One of the games greatest players at the time made time for someone less fortunate, I’ll always respect him for that…like to see some of todays assholes do that!
    Couple years later I got the tickets again and the seat was empty, only a memorial plaque was riveted to the seat

  14. Paul - Jan 7, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Roberto Alomar deserved it??? I’m sorry but when you spit in the face of an umpire, that defeats all of his accomplishments. What a despicable act that was and to me, I hope that he never makes it.

  15. Ted - Jan 7, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    “Epic Fail”??? Can we get an adult to write this column? I get enough of “owned” “pwned” and the like from my kid and his friends.

  16. Fan since `62 - Jan 7, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Roberto Alomar should be in the Idiot Hall of Shame. Spitting on an umpire! That alone should disqualify him, but he was only an above average player. Think that the Hall has lowered it`s standards way too much.

  17. shelbydawkins - Jan 7, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Standards way too low. Blyleven writing article on his own behalf. BLEH…
    Does anyone remember the game at Wrigley when Dawson threw everything out of the dugout in disgust? That was quite a display of temper.

  18. nfh - Jan 7, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    So what it boils down to is this, it’s a popularity contest for the Writers. I suppose that I’ll never visit the HOF because I’ve not attending until Pete Rose, Mark McGuire, Allen Trammel, and Lou Whittacre are all inducted.
    Can ANYONE refute the fact the Pete Rose was one of the very best players for over 20 years? Does his 4000+ hits not matter? The Writers need to get a life, the HOF is not about, or for, THEM….

  19. jimmy - Jan 8, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Reply to Spiro: There’s no such thing as players whose “stats don’t tell the whole story.” Stats are the only story there is. Luckily for Larkin, his stats more than justify a HOF vote.
    Actually Spiro if that were the case, character issues would never be an issue along with roids. Stats nowadays are not the only qualifier as you state. Alomar would be a slam dunk if the writers just voted by the stats. The facts are the writers vote many different ways, personal politics, stats, character, etc. In Larkin’s case he gets a plus for being a great character guy and teammate. If character can be a minus it can be a plus also. Baseball is not an individual sport where it’s just about the stats. Sure there were/are guys playing just to compile stats, Larkin was not one of those guys.
    To me he is the epitomy of the HOF.

  20. JUAN C - Jan 8, 2010 at 4:56 PM


  21. Hipolito M. Wiseman - Jan 12, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    I think that your blog is . I found it on Google, Bing, MSN. I will be, check back often.

  22. Deron - Jan 12, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    Mr Calcaterra,
    You are an idiot. Andre Dawson was the best baseball player of the 80’s. He did things in his career that at the time only Willy Mays had ever done (300 homers, 300 steals). His arm was as good as anyone that has ever played the game. You morons put way too much stock in crap like avg and obp these days. Most power hitters did not hit 300 in the eighties. Andre Dawson must be in the hall of fame because he exemplified the best baseball of an era. He was the one of the most feared hitters in the eighties and at the time drew intentional walks much like bonds did in the last half of his career.

  23. The Credit Guy - Jan 13, 2010 at 11:05 PM

    I completely agree with everything in this post. keep up the good work

  24. houston - Jan 14, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    Denny’s comment about Marvin Miller and Edgar Martinez illustrates the problem – or genius – of the HOF; it doesn’t set a “standard” of measurement, allowing for great deal of debate and discussion.
    Marvin Miller had huge influence on BB – good or bad – I dunno. In that vein Curt Flood had signifcant influence, too, albeit individually not for an extended time.
    To me looking at whether a guy should get in, the first couple classes set the standard – and that’s always gotta’ be what you compare to. Those guys aren’t all “gentleman” nor “good sports”, either, and if they pulled some of their antics with todays 24-hour newscycle, cable and youtube, we might be feeling a bit differently about some of that. But, they set the performace standard, and if you’re gonna’ put someone in that doesn’t measure up, their better be a darned good reason.
    As for some of the specific guys being kicked around – it’s hard to compare middle infielders to outfielders if you’re looking at the kinda’ stats that catch most peoples attention. Seems to me you gotta’ evaluate them against guys that played the same position throughout the years. I surely don’t expect my catchers to steal bases but they darned well better throw out runners. Likewise, not sure I need my SS to hit 50 but he darned well better pick everything up and be able to make the throw from the hole.
    and I’m not sure rewarding longevity for it’s own sake is a very good idea, either, although there is something to be said for a guy who can go out their every day (or every 5th for a SP) and take their turns, make the plays, for 20+ years.

  25. Steven Gomez - Jan 18, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    Keep in mind, guys, that “Fame” is a relative term and by and large a reflection of the popularity and cultural impact of a player. It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of My Stats Are Better Than Most of My Peers.
    That said, IIRC Dawson was one of the great players of his era, and while his OBP may not stack up to other players, he starred in an era where the NL’s average OBP was in the .310-.320 range (compared to the .330s it’s in today), so Dawson was actually around or above average for his era: His career OBp was .323. And the average SLG was in the .360s (compared to being over .400 today), both low-ish numbers due to parks back then being big cookie-cutter multipurpose parks, harder to hit for power in. Yet Dawson slugged .482 over his career. That’s akin to a player today slugging .550. So of course he was popular: He was one of baseball’s great power hitters in his era.
    Now, were Blyleven, Larkin and Alomar truly famous players themselves, the top stars of their game?
    Larkin, maaaaaaybe: He was one of the league’s best shortstops for a long time and to some degree recognizable as one of baseball’s stars during his peak.
    Alomar, absolutely not: He was a good player but by no means someone tapped into the conscious of pop culture. He was not a guy people paid to see.
    Blyleven… I’m not as sure. He had longevity and a wealth of postseason experience, and that ought to count for something, but when I think of the top pitchers of his era, the most dominant, the winningest… he doesn’t come to the front of my mind. He does share one distinction with Dawson, though: He led his league in home runs in a season! TWICE!
    If a somewhat accomplished 20+ year pitching career should get you into the Hall of Fame, then circle me Bert and let him in. But make sure to make room for Jamie Moyer too.

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