On Sunday at 1:30 P.M. Eastern, Andre Dawson has one more favor to request of his ruined knees: to get him up to the podium. There, in Cooperstown, New York, he'll be officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Baseball Writers Association of America failed to vote Dawson into the Hall of Fame eight times before he finally reached 77.9% in 2010. Ever since the early 1990s, when Dawson was still playing, there has been debate over whether Dawson would -- or should -- ever make it into the Hall. Some feared that his 438 career home runs would not be enough, especially after he was knocked down the career list by a deluge of sluggers following his retirement, but the fact that he was never associated with performance-enhancing drug use may have aided his case.
Of course, one must do more than simply hit home runs to reach the Hall of Fame (see: Kingman, Dave). Here are Dawson's career statistics:
Those familiar only with the tail end of Dawson's career might not remember that he was far more than a one-dimensional slugger. He earned seven gold gloves, as well as his nickname, "Hawk," with his defensive play in the outfield.
He was also a prolific base stealer during his years in Montreal. In fact, Dawson is one of only six players ever to accrue more than 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases, joining a club that doesn't include noted power/speed hybrids such as Hank Aaron and Ken Griffey, Jr. Dawson may have stolen many more bases had it not been for his knee injuries that were chronically aggravated by the Expos' unforgiving Olympic Stadium turf.
Dawson could hit for average, batting over .300 five times. Though he didn't draw many walks, his 143 intentional passes put him at No. 51 on the all-time list.
The powers that be have determined that Dawson will wear a Montreal Expos cap into the Hall of Fame. He'll join Gary Carter as the second, and possibly last, player to wear an Expos cap on his plaque. Unless Vladimir Guerrero reaches the Hall and is recognized as an Expo, Dawson's induction will serve as Major League Baseball's final formal tip of the cap to a team that played in Montreal for 36 years before packing up and heading south.
Of the three men to be inducted this weekend, Dawson will command them most attention. Throughout the weekend, be sure to check out fan reactions from our Cubs blog, Bleed Cubbie Blue, our Red Sox blog, Over The Monster, and our Marlins blog, FishStripes.