CHICAGO — Andre Dawson will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Montreal Expo, despite his preference to go in as a Chicago Cub.
The Hall announced its decision Wednesday. Dawson told WMVP-AM in Chicago that he thought Hall officials would discuss the issue with him in detail before the decision was made. He said he wanted a chance to tell them "what really catapulted me to Hall of Fame status and pretty much what my preference was, but I think their decision had been made. It was a little gut-wrenching for me to hear that, but it's their decision."
"I'm disappointed," Dawson told the ESPN Radio affiliate. "I can proudly say that because Chicago was my preference."
Dawson's official statement issued by the Hall was more circumspect.
"I respect the Hall of Fame's decision to put an Expos logo on my cap, and I understand their responsibility to make sure the logo represents the greatest impact in my career," Dawson said in Wednesday's statement. "Cubs fans will always be incredibly important in my heart, and I owe them so much for making my time in Chicago memorable, as did the fans in Montreal, Boston and South Florida, my home. But knowing that I'm on the Hall of Fame team is what's most important, as it is the highest honor I could imagine."
The induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., is July 25.
Dawson played his first 11 seasons with Montreal, batting .285 with 225 home runs and 838 RBIs. He was named an All-Star three times and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1977. He played six seasons with the Cubs, where he won the 1987 NL MVP award after batting .287 with 49 home runs and 137 RBIs. He also played two years each for Boston and Florida before retiring in 1996.
Dawson told WMVP he thought he "would have a little bit more input or I would carry or merit some sort of weight" as to whether he would go into the Hall as a Cub or Expo.
"It was to my understanding they would make the determination at the consent of sitting down and discussing it with you prior to making the determination and I just thought it would carry a little bit more weight than it did," he said.
Earlier this month, Hall president Jeff Idelson said "you want the logo to represent where this guy made his greatest impact. He was impactful in Montreal. He was impactful in Chicago, and to a much lesser extent Boston and Florida, but it's more of a case [of] sitting down and collectively make a decision."
The Hall noted that Dawson had 1,575 of his 2,774 hits as an Expo, won six of his eight Gold Glove awards in Montreal and led the Expos to their only postseason series win with a five-game victory over the Phillies in 1981. Idelson also said it's the museum's responsibility to "properly interpret the game's history."
"Every Hall of Fame plaque lists all of the teams where an electee played or managed," he said. "Fans of 'The Hawk' in every city in which he played should claim Andre as one of their own."
The Expos franchise, which played its first season in 1969, became the Washington Nationals before the 2005 season. Asked if he believed the Hall wanted to preserve Expos history, Dawson said: "The Hall clearly stated their major concern was the history of the game."
In 1999, there was a stir caused by reports that Tampa Bay would compensate the newly retired Wade Boggs if his Hall of Fame plaque bore a Devil Rays logo.
Boggs denied it, but the Hall two years later revoked the right of a player to choose the logo on the cap on his plaque. Boggs was inducted in 2005, and his plaque sports a Boston Red Sox logo.
Dawson is the only player for 2010 to receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall. He will be inducted along with manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey. Herzog's plaque will feature a St. Louis Cardinals logo, and the Royals, Rangers and Angels will all be listed.