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Hall of Fame trio prepared to meet destiny

Hall of Fame trio prepared to meet destiny

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y -- The Hawk, the Rat and the Lord were all seated at a table on Saturday, meeting the media for the last time prior to Sunday's induction in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Even after that, the accolades will continue to roll for Andre Dawson, Whitey Herzog and Doug Harvey, who all had pointed opinions on some of Major League Baseball's most pertinent issues.

Dawson was nicknamed "The Hawk" when he was 9 years old and will go into the Hall wearing the cap of the Montreal Expos. He will be honored in Washington before a game against the Marlins on Aug. 10, at which time his No. 10 is tentatively planned to be retired. The Expos moved to Washington after the 2004 season and were renamed the Nationals.

Likewise, Herzog, nicknamed "the Rat" as a Minor League player, will have his No. 24 retired in St. Louis on July 31 before a game against the Pirates. He'll go into the Hall wearing a Cardinals cap.

"This has been very emotional for me," Herzog said. "I went to a Cardinal function last night, and Mr. [Bill] DeWitt [the team's owner] told me that they were going to retire my number on July 31. And it really hit me because I didn't know that was going to happen. I really think that's a heck of an honor. I broke down a little bit."

Dawson said he has been told about the day in which the Nationals will not only honor him, but a connection with the first 36 years of the franchise's history.

"All I've heard is that I'm being honored by the Nationals on [Aug.] 10th," Dawson said. "But how extensive that will be, I'm not sure."

Harvey, who was nicknamed "God" by the late sportswriter Jerome Holtzman, will return to his home in California after reaping the accolades of becoming the ninth umpire to be inducted into the Hall.

Harvey was asked about the expansion of instant replay on Saturday. As an arbiter who called 4,673 National League games in 18 years from 1962-92, he said it wouldn't be necessary to even have replay if he was still umpiring. Right now, replay is used only to adjudicate home run calls -- in or out, fair or foul.

"It never bothered me," Harvey said. "Managers used to come out and complain about calls. They'd say, 'Well, I'm going to go look at the replay and if you're wrong I'm coming back.' And they haven't come back yet. So I'm better than any replay machine they've got or ever will have. I was always confident of doing the job."

Herzog, whose Cardinals lost Game 6 of the 1985 World Series to the Royals when umpire Don Denkinger blew a call at first base, said expanded replay is needed for the postseason. The Cardinals wound up losing that series in seven games.

"I say you should have instant replay in the playoffs, and I say you should have instant replay in the World Series," Herzog said. "Unlike the regular season, there's no time to get it back. When you've got a leadoff man who was called out when he was definitely safe in the ninth inning of the World Series and lose the World Series because of that, it should have been called right. And we couldn't do anything about it. It was just human error."

As far as future Hall of Fame ballots are concerned, Dawson said the voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America have their "work cut out" for them as players from the so-called steroid era become eligible.

Rafael Palmeiro, whose career ended after he failed an MLB administered drug test, is on the 2011 ballot. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who are both in different stages of litigation because of perjury involving their performance-enhancing drug use, are on the ballot in 2013.

Mark McGwire, who recently admitted his steroid use, remains on the ballot, but averages only about 25 percent of the vote. A player needs 75 percent to be elected to the Hall.

"You're smarter than [the players] are," Dawson said. "You have your work cut out for you. It definitely goes into the issue of whether the players are Hall of Fame worthy. You guys have to do the voting. You guys are the experts. And it doesn't escape me that integrity is a very important part of the game. You can't look in the Hall of Fame right now, point at one particular person and say that he doesn't belong in there. Each and every individual is a story itself. So it all depends upon which direction this is going to go in."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["hall_of_fame" ] }
{"content":["hall_of_fame" ] }
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