Dawson elected to baseball hall

Andre Dawson, a former star outfielder with the Montreal Expos, was the only player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in voting announced Wednesday.

Alomar, Blyleven fall just short

The Hawk is heading to Cooperstown.

Andre Dawson, a former star outfielder with the Montreal Expos, was the only player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame when voting results were announced Wednesday.

Dawson, in his ninth year of eligibility, was named on 420 of the 539 ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. That's 15 votes more than the 75 per cent needed to gain induction.

"It was well worth the wait. I can't really describe the elation," said Dawson, who garnered just 45 per cent on his first try in 2002 before climbing to 67 per cent last year.

"If you're a Hall of Famer, eventually you're going to get in, no matter how long it takes."

Roberto Alomar, star of the Toronto Blue Jays' World Series championship teams in 1992 and '93, narrowly missed out in his first year of eligibility. The second baseman was named on 73.7 per cent of ballots.

Bert Blyleven came even closer. Appearing for the 13th time, the No. 5 man on the all-time strikeouts list got 74.2 per cent support, missing by a scant five votes.

Full voting results

 Player %
 Andre Dawson 77.9
 Bert Blyleven  74.2
 Roberto Alomar Jr. 73.7
 Jack Morris 52.3
 Barry Larkin 51.6
 Lee Smith 47.3
 Edgar Martinez 36.2
 Tim Raines 30.4
 Mark McGwire 23.7
 Alan Trammell 22.4
 Fred McGriff 21.5
 Don Mattingly 16.1
 Dave Parker 15.2
 Dale Murphy 11.7
 Harold Baines 6.1
 Andres Galarraga 4.1
 Robin Ventura 1.3
 Ellis Burks 0.4
 Eric Karros 0.4
 Kevin Appier 0.2
 Pat Hentgen 0.2
 David Segui 0.2
 Mike Jackson 0
 Ray Lankford 0
 Shane Reynolds 0
 Todd Zeile 0

Only four players have missed by a slimmer margin. Nellie Fox (1985) and Pie Traynor (1947), who each missed by two votes, and Billy Williams (1986) and Jim Bunning (1988), who each missed by four. All were eventually elected — Traynor and Williams by the BBWAA, and Bunning and Fox by the Veterans Committee.

"Hopefully, next year will be my time," Blyleven told the MLB Network.

Besides Alomar, three other first-year candidates received sufficient support to remain eligible next year: shortstop Barry Larkin (51.6%), designated hitter Edgar Martinez (36.2%) and former Blue Jays first baseman Fred McGriff (21.5%).

Other holdovers who will remain on the ballot are pitchers Jack Morris and Lee Smith, first basemen Don Mattingly and Mark McGwire, shortstop Alan Trammell, outfielder-DH Harold Baines and outfielders Tim Raines, Dave Parker and Dale Murphy.

Rookie of the year with Expos

Dawson spent his first 11 big-league seasons with Montreal, winning the National League rookie of the year award in 1977. He joined the Chicago Cubs as a free agent in 1987 and promptly won the NL MVP award with career-best totals in home runs (49) and runs batted in (137).

The Miami native finished his career with two-year stops in Boston and Florida.

Over his 21 seasons in the majors, Dawson hit 438 homers (36th all time), knocked in 1,591 runs (34th) and stole 314 bases. He is one of only three players (Willie Mays and Barry Bonds are the others) to slug at least 400 homers and swipe 300 bags.

He also excelled defensively, winning eight gold gloves and earning the nickname The Hawk for the way he patrolled the outfield, before knee injuries took their toll.

While Dawson hit a serviceable .276 for his career, detractors point to his sub-par .323 on-base percentage as evidence of his free-swinging ways. Dawson's 7,621 career outs made are the 22nd-most in history.

He'll be inducted into the hall of fame in a July ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey, who were elected last month by the Veterans Committee.

Columnist Bill Madden of the New York Daily News will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing. The Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting will be announced Feb. 1, with late Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek among the candidates.