Andre Dawson, Andre Dawson elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Andre Dawson was an eight-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glover. (Tribune file photo)

Andre Dawson, Andre Dawson elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Andre Dawson was one happy former Cub on Wednesday.

A jump of 59 votes from 2009 got Dawson into baseball's Hall of Fame in his ninth year on the ballot. Dawson, the only player elected this year, was thrilled.

"The wait isn't a big factor in the scheme of things,'' Dawson said. "You get frustrated when people say, 'When are you going to get in,' and you don't have an answer for that. As I sit here now, I think it was well worth the wait. ... One thing my mama always said is it's going to happen one day, just be ready when it happens.''

Dawson, who finished 44 votes short a year ago when Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were elected, was named on 420 of 539 ballots in this year's Baseball Writers Association of America election -- good for 77.9 percent of the vote.

Dawson played with the Cubs in 1987-92, winning NL MVP honors in '87. He was an eight-time All-Star and won eight Gold Gloves. But because he never played on a World Series champion, little in baseball made Dawson happier than his election to the Hall.
Dawson was almost joined by two others. Pitcher Bert Blyleven received 400 votes, only five less than needed, and first-ballot candidate and former White Sox second baseman Roberto Alomar was named on 397 ballots, eight short. That suggests that both will be elected in the future, most likely in 2011.

"This is a beautiful day for Andre Dawson,'' Blyleven told the MLB Network. "I'm surprised Roberto Alomar didn't make it. Hopefully my time is coming."

Alomar was followed by pitcher Jack Morris with 282 (52.3 percent). Cincinnati shortstop Barry Larkin was on 278 ballots (51.6 percent), followed by reliever Lee Smith at 255 (47.3 percent) and Edgar Martinez at 195 (36.2 percent).

"I feel disappointed, but next year hopefully I make it in," Alomar said from his home in New York. "At least I was close."

Mark McGwire received 128 votes (23.7 percent), 10 more than last year and matching the total from his first two times on the ballot.

Dawson came to Chicago in grand fashion, giving the Cubs the chance to sign him for a blank check after he languished on a free-agent market that was later judged by an arbitrator to have been manipulated by owners. He was among the players receiving damages from those collusion findings.

Dawson becomes the 46th Cub elected to the Hall of Fame. This will mark the fifth induction in the last seven years with a Cubs connection, following the election of Dennis Eckersley in 2004, Ryne Sandberg in '05, Bruce Sutter in '06 and Goose Gossage in '08.

Dawson will be inducted July 25 at Cooperstown along with manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey, elected last month by the Veterans Committee.

Former White Sox icon Harold Baines can take some stock in remaining on the Hall of Fame ballot for the fifth year. He received 33 votes, which was 6.1 percent of the ballot. Five percent is necessary to stay on the ballot.

Robin Ventura (7 votes), Ellis Burks (2 votes) and Eric Karros (2 votes) were on the ballot for the first time, and didn't receive enough support to return to the ballot in 2011.