- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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The officials at the Baseball Hall of Fame are not in any great hurry to decide on the hat and team logo that its newly elected member Andre Dawson will wear on his bronze plaque in Cooperstown.
Brad Horn, who is the senior director of communication and education for the Hall of Fame and Museum, told me on Firday that the museum's officials will eventually decide on Dawson's cap designation. However, reaching a quick decision without doing their due diligence and research is not what they do at the Hall of Fame.
Horn stated that the criteria begins with the player's input (according to sources close to Dawson, he would prefer the Cubs colors over the Expos). After that has been determined, the committee, consisting of Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson and museum board of directors Jane Forbes Clark, Chicago White Sox chairman of the board Jerry Reinsdorf, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, among others, will ultimately decide on Dawson's final choice of apparel.
The committee must decide if Dawson's 11 years in Montreal were more a part of the All-Star outfielder's career than his six seasons with the Cubs. Ultimately, Dawson had his best season of his career as a Cub, winning the National League MVP in 1987 with 49 home runs 137 RBIs. But still, a case can be made for Dawson having been a more complete, five-tool player early in his career with Montreal.
Actually, Dawson was a relative unknown except to the most well-rounded baseball fans before he began his career in Chicago on WGN TV with announcers Harry Caray and Steve Stone selling him on an everyday basis.
Dawson, along with fellow Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams and Ernie Banks, will all appear at the annual Cubs Convention at Chicago's Hilton and Towers the weekend of Jan 15-17.
There are nine former Cub players in the Hall of Fame who are depicted wearing Cubs colors on their commemorative plaques. However, there are still other Cubs in the Hall of Fame from the first part of the century, such as Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance who are not wearing any hats on their plaques.
Actually, the Hall of Fame could wait as a long as three months to decide which hat Dawson will be inducted with. That doesn't appear to be the case here. However, a casting for a Hall of Fame plaque takes at least 90 days to be formulated before delivery.
Historically, the reason the procedure was changed from the player deciding which team's logo he would wear in the Hall changed in 2001 following reports that Wade Boggs solicited compensation from former teams before ultimately deciding to be inducted as a Tampa Bay Ray.
Correction: Horn points out that the process doesn't begin with the players' input, but that it is an important part of the process. The committee to which I refer to in the story governs the insitution, but it's the senior staff of the Hall of Fame, led by president Jeff Idelson who will be making the final decision. Finally, Horn said, they will be making this decision in a timely manner.
Brad Horn will join Bruce Levine on "Talking Baseball" Jan. 9 at 10:25 a.m.