Andre Dawson has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writer's Association of America.
Dawson received 77.9% of the vote. Seventy-five percent is required for election.
It's pretty clear that Dawson will go in as a Montreal Expo. He spent 11 of his 21 seasons in Montreal, before moving on to the Cubs, Red Sox and Marlins. He batted .279 with 438 home runs and 1,591 RBI over his career. Not truly spectacular, but pretty good, a true five-tool player.
Dawson deserves every accolade for the accomplishment, but don't look for an "Andre Dawson Night" at Nats Park this year. D.C. fans have no connection to the Hawk, as he was known, and it's pointless to view him as having anything at all to do with the current ballclub. (He did make one appearance at RFK Stadium. Anyone remember that? See below.)
It's the same thing with the Orioles and St. Louis Browns' great George Sisler. He never performed in a Baltimore uniform, therefore, he's not part of their history.
I tend to view things that way when a franchise moves and changes their nickname. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Charlie Finley had moved the A's to Washington in the late 1970's (Jack McKeon, who worked for Finley at the time, told me that Charlie had mentioned it, in a thinking-out-loud kind of way).
The Washington A's would have pointed to players like Chief Bender, Lefty Grove, Frank Baker and Mickey Cochrane as part of their history, and would have photos of all of those guys wearing uniforms that said "A's" on them, much like the Braves, Dodgers and Giants do with players from their past in other cities.
There was no way the Expos would've ever used the same nickname in Washington. It was as nonsensical as Utah Jazz, and I suspect it meant very little to the fans in Montreal who weren't around for the World's Fair in the 1960's. The history of the ballclub in Canada deserves to stay right there, for the fans who embraced that club for its 37-year run in Quebec.
Dawson will enter the Hall along with Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey. It frosts me that Bert Blyleven didn't get in once again, though he came within 5 votes of the finish line. If he gets in next year, you have to wonder what was wrong this year: it wasn't a particularly star-heavy group of eligibles.
Second baseman Roberto Alomar, on the ballot for the first time, received 73.7% of the vote, the most for a first-year candidate without being elected.
(At a "Baseball in DC" rally at RFK Stadium in the late fall of 1977 or '78, Dawson, and fellow Expo outfielders Ellie Valentine and Warren Cromartie, appeared along with Bucky Dent and a few other current players. It was sparsely attended thanks to little in the way of advance PR, and accomplished nothing.)