With 77.9% of the votes (just getting by the 75% minimum), Andre Dawson has at last been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after eight years on the ballot. Dawson, who spent the bulk of his career with the Expos and Cubs, played 21 years in the big leagues, won eight Gold Gloves, and is one of only three players in history to finish with 400 homers and 300 stolen bases (the others are Barry Bonds and Willie Mays).
Dawson's induction gives hope to Bert Blyleven, who finished just five votes shy of becoming a Hall of Famer. Blyleven, who finished his career with 287 wins, will in all likliness get inducted in 2011 -- which is good, as there's a logjam of retired steroid-users coming in the near future: Bonds, Sosa and Clemens. Blyleven has only two years of eligibility left before it's left up to the Veteran's Committee.
Meanwhile Roberto Alomar, in his first year of eligibility, was listed on 73.7% of the ballots -- meaning that he will of course be inducted into the Hall in a few years. Alomar, who is widely regarded as the best defensive second baseman ever, might need to get some good words from John Hirschbeck in order to get over the top; you'll notice that when ESPN ran a reel of Alomar's career this morning, one of the clips was the notorious incident where he spit on Hirschbeck's face.
It's interesting to think about, considering that Juan Marichal didn't get elected to the Hall of Fame until Johnny Roseboro, who Marichal got in an infamous brawl with, personally endorsed him.
Also, Alomar made the fateful mistake of allowing the Associated Press into his house as he was waiting for the results of the voting. The end result: instead of capturing the joy of his baseball immortality, cameramen captured the image of his son crying in his arms. Ouch.
As per the rules, players can only continue to reappear on the ballot if they collect at least 5% of the votes. The first-year players who will not appear on another ballot include: Andres Galarraga, Ellis Burks, Robin Ventura, Eric Karros, Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen, David Segui (admitted steroids user), Mike Jackson, Ray Lankford, Shayne Reynolds and Todd Zeile. Fred McGriff, with 493 home runs, finished on just 21.5% of the ballots -- even less than Mark McGwire, who got a mere 23.7%. Edgar Martinez, one of the most celebrated DH's ever, got 36.2%. Barry Larkin, who was a 12-time All-Star and a former MVP, posted an impressive 51.6%.