For Cubs fans it has become an annual tradition to bemoan Ron Santo's exclusion from baseball's Hall of Fame. Much like the waiting for a World Series title for their heroes, every year brings forth a new optimism that is always crushed by reality. Well, now that Santo has run out of chances to get into the Hall of Fame, there's a new Cub about to pick up the torch and run with it.
It was announced today that Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice will be the newest members of baseball's Hall of Fame when induction ceremonies are held July 26th in Cooperstown. Of course, all Cubs fans noticed was the name of the man who finished third in voting, only a few votes shy of inclusion: Andre Dawson.
Dawson was nominated on 67% of the ballots turned in, but a player needs 75% of the vote to be inducted. Still, even though he didn't make it this year, that doesn't mean the Hawk won't be getting in eventually. After all, Jim Rice was voted in after failing to garner enough votes over the last 14 years, and he pulled in 76.4% this year. His final year of eligibility.
The 67% Dawson received this year is an increase over the 65.9% he received last year, and with a relatively weak class of first-time eligible players joining the ballot next season -- which will include long-time White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura, Fred McGriff, and Roberto Alomar amongst others -- odds are Dawson's name will receive a few more checkmarks in 2010.
As for other local favorites on the ballot this year, former Cubs closer Lee Smith received 44.5% of the vote, Tim Raines received an egregiously low 22.6%, and Harold Baines got 5.9%. All three qualified to remain on the ballot next year, though the same cannot be said for Cub hero and Wrigleyville legend Mark Grace who received only 22 votes, good for 4.1%.