David Brown

Andre Dawson, leader of Hall of Fame class, warns about PED use

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Few players owned their nickname like Andre Dawson: One of only three players to hit at least 400 home runs and steal 300 bases, "The Hawk" projected strength, fearlessness, athleticism, pride and class.

When he played, you wouldn't take your eyes off him.

And when Dawson speaks, it makes sense to listen to him.

Dawson, who played the bulk of his career with the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs, used part of his time at Sunday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony to warn younger players about performance-enhancing drugs. His words echoed those spoken by former teammate Ryne Sandberg in 2005.

(Read Dawson's entire speech here and watch his speech here.)

"There's nothing wrong with the game of baseball," said Dawson, 56. "Baseball will, from time to time like anything else in life, fall victim to the mistakes that people make. It's not pleasant and it's not right. Individuals have chosen the wrong road, and they're choosing that as their legacy. Those mistakes have hurt the game and taken a toll on all of us.

"Others still have a chance to choose theirs. Do not be lured to the dark side," he cautioned. "It's a stain on the game, a stain gradually being removed."

Now that he's in Cooperstown, Dawson's legacy as one of the greats lives forever.

And so it goes for Whitey Herzog — known mostly for managing the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals — and Doug Harvey — the first living umpire to be enshrined since Al Barlick in 1989.

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Herzog (on the left, with Jane Forbes-Clark — the Hall's chairperson — at the microphone), won 1,281 games in 18 seasons as a manager. His teams won six divisions, three league pennants and the Cards won the '82 World Series. Offensively, Herzog's usually speedy teams tended to get on base and run 'til they scored.

The 78-year-old's voice cracked with emotion when expressing his gratitude.

"Ever since I was elected in December, people have asked, 'What's it feel like to be a Hall of Famer?' " Herzog said. "Now I can tell you what it feels like. It feels like going to heaven before you die."

It was the line of the day — other than the one on his plaque that showed his full given name: Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog. Who knew?!

(Watch Herzog's speech here and read the text here.)

Doug Harvey (far right) is suffering from throat cancer, so he played a recording of his speech he made in the spring. An umpire without his voice? Very sad. Yet, it was the happiest of days for Harvey, who was nicknamed "God" because you didn't dare disagree with his calls. He's the ninth umpire voted to the Hall.

He seemed to appreciate his surroundings.

"If you’re a true baseball fan, you need to visit Cooperstown," Harvey said. "This is home, and you need to touch home. I'll be watching to make sure you do."

That's an umpire right there.

(Read the text of Harvey's speech here and watch it here.)

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