It took nine tries, but Andre "The Hawk" Dawson was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame today, correcting what was felt to be one of the biggest omissions in Cooperstown.
"It was well worth the wait. I can't really describe the elation," Dawson said during a telephone conference call. "If you're a Hall of Famer, eventually you're going to get in, no matter how long it takes."
Dawson was voted in by 420 votes out of 539 -- 15 more than the 75 percent needed by the Baseball Writers' Association. He edged out former greats Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar to earn baseball's highest honor.
Cincinnati shortstop Barry Larkin, pitcher Lee Smith, slugger Edgar Martinez and Mark McGwire also appeared in the voting list for the first time but did not come close to the voting needed for election.
For many years, the question was when would Dawson get in. Now, we all want to know what baseball cap his bust is going to wear.
Dawson's bust will likely wear the colors of the Chicago Cubs, where he carried the team for a decade and hit most of his 438 career home runs. He also won the 1987 NL MVP on a last-place Cubs team.
Dawson also played two years with the Marlins as sort of a player-coach before finally hanging up the cleats in 1996 after 20 season in the Big Leagues.
When he retired, Dawson had a .279 career average with 1,591 RBIs and 314 steals, while playing through 12 knee operations.
He is one of only three players with at least 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases, joining Barry Bonds and Willie Mays.
Dawson will be inducted July 25 at Cooperstown along with manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey, elected last month by the Veterans Committee.