No, Dawson deserves it

COLU MN

Who Of The Still-eligible Players Should Be In The Baseball Hall Of Fame?

January 14, 2009|By RICK MAESE

h, Childs, I can just picture you and your fellow Gilman grads sitting around in your sweater vests and toy pipes, discussing how you much you loved Bert Blyleven's infamous "I love to fart" T-shirt. But let's not confuse Cooperstown with a Barnum & Bailey exhibit here.

With the exception of Dave Kingman, there's only one eligible player with at least 425 homers who isn't in the Hall of Fame, and by this time next year, Andre Dawson ought to consider filing criminal charges.

You know how many other players hit 400 homers and stole 300 bases?

Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. Not bad company. Should we throw in Dawson's .482 slugging percentage, his 2,774 hits, his 1,591 RBIs, too? He won the National League Most Valuable Player award and the Rookie of the Year Award, and if his offensive numbers don't get your attention, he also won eight Gold Gloves playing on a pair of knees that were as useful as a pair of brakes with no pads.

While Blyleven's beard was certainly the envy of the 1980s and his longevity is impressive, at no point was he even the top pitcher in his league. He appeared in just two All-Star games - to Dawson's eight.

If you can remember life before the Steroid Era, there were few hitters as feared as the Hawk. I mean, he was once issued five intentional walks in a game. There's a reason the Bleacher Bums bowed in reverence whenever Dawson took his post in right field.

But hey, Blyleven's a funny and entertaining guy. Maybe he could introduce Dawson next year.

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