NEW YORK -- The placard next to the table where Andre Dawson took a seat for Thursday's introductory Hall of Fame news conference had "The Hawk" decked out in his powder-blue Montreal Expos uniform and cap with the famous fleur-de-lis symbol on it. But wait. Dawson, donned in his Hall of Fame jersey and cap, said not to draw any conclusions from that. "No, that's no indication of the cap I'll wear," Dawson said. "I'll probably make that announcement sometime in the near future.
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. The great and powerful Oz has spoken."Dawson was elected to the Hall on Wednesday on his ninth try, earning 77.9 percent of the votes cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He will be inducted on July 25 in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey, who were elected in December by the Hall's Veterans Committee. The cap decision will be made in the days ahead by officials of the Hall of Fame, who have yet to meet to discuss the matter with Dawson, according to Jeff Idelson, the Hall's president. The Hall took that decision in-house after the 2001 elections. "There's really no question here," Idelson told MLB.com after the news conference. "The only question is that he and I haven't talked yet. We haven't had a conversation about it." But precedence seems to have been already set. Dawson, who had 438 homers and 1,591 RBIs, played the first 11 of his 21 seasons with the Expos on the harsh artificial turf of what was called "The Big O" and his next six with the Cubs in the Friendly Confines and on the natural grass of Wrigley Field. Thus, Dawson could very well be the second player in history to don an Expos cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. Catcher Gary Carter was the first when he was elected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in 2003. Carter, like Dawson, came up with the Expos and played the first 11 seasons of a 19-year career in Montreal. Carter then moved to New York, where he played his next five years with the Mets, winning the World Series in 1986. In 2003, Carter made it no secret that he would rather have worn a Mets cap into the Hall. It didn't work out that way. Similarly, Dawson followed his lengthy Montreal tour by playing six seasons with the Cubs. He was voted Most Valuable Player of the National League there in 1987 and has a genuine fondness for his years in Cubbie white and blue. Dawson said he left Montreal as a free agent after the 1986 season feeling that he didn't get a fair offer from the Expos, so there may be some hard feelings there. Similarly, Carter was traded to the Mets after the 1984 season because the Expos couldn't afford him. "So can you deduce that [Dawson will] go in as an Expo? I don't know right now," Idelson said. "There are similarities. There aren't any issues. We just haven't had a conversation yet." The Expos are defunct, having moved to Washington in 2005, changing their name to the Nationals.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.