By Bruce Levine–
(CBS) As the Baseball Hall of Fame adds suspected performance-enhancing drug users, some of the resident iconic stars aren’t going to take it lying down.READ MORE: Milixen Ardon And Wilfredo Cruz Charged With Murder Of 2-Year-Old Alisson Zelayz, Who Suffered Burns And Bruises In Chicago Lawn
One such individual is Hall of Fame outfielder Andre Dawson, a former Cub. He doesn’t believe those linked to PEDs will be welcomed with open arms by other members. Dawson believes his entry into the Hall of Fame — in 2010 on his ninth time on the ballot — was delayed because voters couldn’t get a quality read on his career
“The perception seems to be changing among the voters right now,” Dawson said on “Inside the Clubhouse” on 670 The Score on Saturday. “It appears some of the older writers are softening up to the PED era now. Some players who were suspected and tested positive are seeing their vote totals going up. I don’t really condone it. I felt my career kind of got lost in the shuffle. It took the writers a long time to have a feel for my career and to eventually say it’s time to put Dawson in the Hall of Fame.”
Before 2010, many years had passed with Dawson getting totals in the 50th percentile, with 75 percent or more needed for entry. Like many players, Dawson fought through significant injury problems to perform at a high level during his 21-year career. Numerous knee surgeries and playing on the synthetic turf in Montreal for the first 11 years of his career caused Dawson to ice his legs for at least an hour before and an hour after games for many seasons.
The price of hard work paid for excellence on the field keeps great performers like Dawson protective of the select group in the Hall of Fame. Dawson feels comfortable in calling out some of the recent — and likely future — players who may be voted in under the PED cloud.
“Some people in the Hall of Fame are of the opinion that some of these guys made a ton of money, they won awards, they won some World Series as a result (of using PEDs),” Dawson said. “Now they are asked to be pardoned and welcomed into the Hall of Fame. That doesn’t sit real well (with present inductees).READ MORE: Officer Shoots Suspect In Kenosha County, Sources Say Police K-9 Also Wounded
The 62-year-old Dawson wasn’t angry in saying this but rather standing his ground. He believes it’s his duty to make sure to point writers and Hall of Fame officials in the direction of playing the game the right way, with that being be the only way to gain the lifetime entry to the Hall of Fame.
“It would take a lot for an individual to sit on that stage and support another individual (PED suspect) and tell his story, to be comfortable and satisfied with that,” Dawson said.
Dawson then acknowledged, “This is just the course it is starting to take now,” with his belief being that players such as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds will gain entry into Cooperstown in the coming years.
“This will open the floodgates,” Dawson said. “It is now inevitable that these people are going to get in. After that, you will have to address the (Rafael) Palmeiros and Mark McGwire and all of those individuals.”
I asked Dawson if players who are already in the Hall of Fame will protest the PED-tainted inductees of the future.
“That is a tough question to address,” Dawson said. “I don ‘t think the public will protest it too much. I don’t think it will sit real well with the Hall of Fame players themselves.”MORE NEWS: Two Chicago Police Officers Wounded By Accidental Friendly Fire While Confronting Suspect In Lyons, Police Say
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.