The ninth time was a charm for Andre Dawson.
The Hawk was selected to baseball's Hall of Fame on his ninth year on the ballot. He is the only member of the 2010 class after garnering nearly 78 percent of the votes.
“I really can’t describe the excitement, the fire, the joy that went through my body. It felt like a huge burden had been lifted,” said Dawson. “The only thing I could think about was: finally! I had such a humbleness about me during the hours leading up to the phone call that I was prepared one way or the other: if it did happen or if it didn’t happen. Move forward."
Now a special assistant with the Florida Marlins, Dawson, 55, was beginning to wonder if this day was ever going to come.
“Over the past eight years, (the Hall of Fame) seemed to lose its luster a little bit. And I thought it wasn’t going to mean the same," he said. "But I can guarantee you that it didn’t matter how long it took. I had to sit and I had to think and reflect. Is this really happening? To be mentioned in the same breath with the elite who ever played the game. It’s such a humbling experience.
“Ryno (Ryne Sandberg) called me and said: ‘It’s going to change your life forever.’ I don’t think it is going to change me as a person, as an individual. It might change some of the things that I am accustomed to doing…I am just a little bit more humble today.”
The only question left to answer is whether Dawson will wear a Montreal Expos cap or a Chicago Cubs cap when he is inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y.,on July 25. He began his career in Montreal, winning NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1977. After 11 seasons north of the border, Dawson joined the Cubs and won the NL MVP Award in 1987.
“I am just going to respect whatever it is. The most important thing is that I am where I am today. I will probably have a preference, but again I will respect their decision. I feel that (the decision) is probably going to be based on the history of the game. They made it obvious when they sent the letters out to us before the announcement….and I respect that.”